REVIEW: Rabbit Radio’s 2nd Birthday | SALVADARLINGS + CLN + STREET 66 + DEAD BOOKS

Saturday 9 August | Swingin’ Safari

At the time of writing the fate of the legendary Swingin’ Safari’s is in the hands of the gods, well more accurately the overseas investors who are behind the venue operated by long time Manager Neil Beattie. Fingers and toes are crossed that the venue can remain open as it has been a bastion of good times for over ten years and supported countless local acts who have gone on to have national and international success. Sadly, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be this way though.

So, as it closes its famous door, the crew from Rabbit Radio (of which I am a part) put on an appropriately epic party to celebrate the station’s second year. Beginning in a corner of the Rabbit and Cocoon precinct, Rabbit Radio has grown to become a hub for emerging musical talent on the Gold Coast and surrounds with one needing no more proof than the quality of the bands assembled for its birthday.

Opening the proceedings was emerging four-piece Dead Books. The band was handpicked by Rabbit listeners as part of the station’s Get Up, Get Heard competition, which invited local artists to submit their music in order to win the coveted spot.

Playing one of their first live shows the band showed no nerves and rocked their way into a set which included their brand new AA side singles Vice and Virtue. The band gained many new fans on the night, one such fan jumping on stage to help out on vocals. Not that lead vocalist Laura Cook needs any assistance. Cook has a real presence on stage; one which has established bands envious. The secret? Cook informed me that a few whiskies had gone down in preparation. This may also explain the Janis Joplin type feel to their sound, which also channelled Jefferson Airplane. Whatever their secret, be sure to catch Dead Books at their next show.

Street 66 have only been on the scene a short while but have been gathering a whole heap of followers from here to the Sunshine Coast with their blend of kicked back funk grooves with hip-hop swagger. Holding the mic is Puer MC whose flow is on point tonight and has the ever increasing crowd bouncing in approval. The highlight of the set comes with the Notorious B.I.G cover laced into the set and gives Puer MC the chance to really show off with his impressive skills on the mic. The band really get into the set from here with Liam Butler keeping things tighter than Puer’s dreads on the bass and gaining plenty of love from the ever-increasing crowd.

Brisbane via South Africa native Cln made the journey south for his first ever Gold Coast show, with plenty gathered to hear what all the hype has been about. Coinciding with the release of his debut EP Sideways, which had climbed to an impressive 16 on the iTunes electronic chart. The set did not disappoint, laying down a heavy helping of glitched-out beats including his recent singles Sideways and crowd favourite Better Than. Comparisons to Flume would be easy but Cln brings a smoothness and edge to his production which are entirely his own. Quite simply Cln is one to watch and you will not get a chance to see him in such intimate surrounds again. My tip is he will feature heavily over the upcoming Summer Festival season.


Making my way back to the bar from Cln there was a devastating discovery; they had run out of beer. At least temporarily. It was easy to see why as every room of the house was heaving with people and a steady stream was still making their way in just in time for Salvadarlings.

Having not seen Salvadarlings before I was quite keen to check them in the flesh, having heard rave reviews from their Primary Feels release show at Elsewhere a month before. Tonight didn’t change this however, as it was physically impossible to make my way through the crowd to the stage. I was later informed many punters were turned away at the door due to an over-capacity crowd. The wooden floors were literally swingin’ as Salvadarlings laid down a killer set which I heard from my vantage point sandwiched somewhere between the kitchen and the bathrooms. I could easily ‘hear’ what all the fuss has been about as the band blissed out the party with gems from their debut EP including, After Nightfall, T.M.B.C. and standout Dead Man. Salvadarlings have emerged among a strong handful of local dream/psych/pop groups alongside compatriots Tsun and Babe Rainbow, which would hold their own against contemporaries from the West Coast of the USA. Rest assured I won’t make the same mistake twice and be left in the outer when these guys play again.

Having witnessed such a solid line up of wholly local acts it’s safe to say that the music vibe of the coast is in a golden period and with support from organisations like Rabbit Radio, the future is sounding bright.

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