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Live Review: Purple Sneakers’ Definitive Guide To This That 2017

13 November 2017 | 10:22 am | Jackson Langford

THIS THAT has, in its mere three years of activity, become somewhat of an institution for Newcastle, and by extension NSW, and its music scene. Despite being an infant relative to other festival juggernauts around the country, This That has cemented its status as an event that will bring the party, no matter the circumstances. It’s a festival that doesn’t need to be the biggest or the flashiest to show you a good, if not the best, time and 2017 was no different. So, here’s a quick guide to navigating future This That’s as well as any festival – because despite the event’s infancy, they’re nailing a lot of things that our veterans keep slipping up on.

Little More Of This: Aussie-Centred Lineups 

Looking around Australia’s average festival lineups these days, it can often feel like more of the same. We’re tiptoeing dangerously around the edge of homogeny and, while booking the same acts might be fun for now, it won’t be too long before the jig is well and truly up. This That, however, managed to have a real focus on up-and-coming Australian acts that absolutely tore the place down. Acts like GODLANDS, KUREN and POOLCLVB all held their own at different times of the day to roaring crowds, which ultimately should set a precedent for other festivals – your acts don’t have to be well known to absolutely tear the place down.

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One act that stood out, however, was local duo KINDER. Two sisters, who just did a guest mix for PS, absolutely staked their claim as Australia’s next big thing by dominating the Other stage. Their infectious dance moves, non-stop professing of love for the crowd and unmatched energy showed that these girls have a humility and a gratefulness for what they do which, too often, becomes lost in veterans.

Little Less Of That: Torrential Rain

Look, the one thing no-one can control about a festival is the weather. Whether it’s unbearable heat or unstoppable downpour, the weather can really impact how we enjoy the day. As Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures so eloquently put it, “It’s a shitful day, isn’t it? But what are you gonna do?”

Luckily, Newcastle really knows no obstacle and no setback when it comes to partying, and those who braved the rain with their cheap ponchos and ruined fake tans lost all cares and danced non-stop. But, all we’re saying is we’d be grateful for a little sunshine next year.

Little More Of This: Paces’ level of production

As a producer, it might often be hard to try and up your level of production and it can feel safe and comfortable to just stand behind the deck and do your damn thing. PACES, however, is saying “fuck that” and managed to tear the That stage down with his gargantuan production value. We’re talking dancers. We’re talking hand-held confetti cannons. We’re talking actual angel WOODES wearing a stunning black feather collar as she popped in to sing for a bit. And, perhaps most importantly, we’re talking how Paces and his gleaming bloody grin endeavoured to bring a Major Lazer-style set to a tent in the late afternoon and be rewarded by him arguably being the set of the day.

Little Less Of That: Native American Headdresses 

It’s 2017. How? How can you possibly be this tone deaf and culturally ignorant? How?

Little More Of This: The God Damn, Motherf*cking Presets 

For nostalgia’s value, THE PRESETS are already guaranteed showstoppers. A lot of us grew up on bangers like ‘Are You The One?’ and ‘This Boy’s In Love’ and, of course, the anthemic ‘My People.’ The beautiful part about seeing The Presets live is that, because they’ve been around the block, they have an intimate understanding of how to get a crowd to fall in love with them. It’s not just about throwing out bangers relentlessly – there’s a craft to building a set that leaves people both in awe and hungry for more.

Beyond nostalgia, though, The Presets prove that their sound isn’t about to go out of style any time soon with their live performance of new single, ‘Do What You Want.’ The song is a sonic assault of bass and electro, and completely vibrated every last limb present at the This stage. No level of rain or exhaustion was stopping anyone from losing their mind at this song and this set and we’re forever thankful for it.

All in all, This That, against all odds, still managed to throw an absolute cracker of an event that has certified them as one of Australia's best festivals we have to offer. See you in 2018.

Photo by DAN LYNCH