17 June, Oxford Art Factory
Oxford Art Factory was on fire with feminine energy on Saturday night. Vivid’s Women In Electronic Music Showcase split into two rooms: the Gallery Bar and the Main Stage. The Gallery Bar was lit by a red glow, matching the red, black and white pop art hanging from the walls. Records hung from the ceiling and the room felt intimate, pumping all night. The Main Stage was a little more spread out, decorated with galaxy-themed tin foil wrapped around the poles and framing the stage.
The line-up was delicious, and the evening exceeded all expectations with powerful, talented women signing and mixing alongside hip hop dancers in white, trumpets, Japanese anime and a live tree-lady performing in a glass box in the corner. Sound mystifying? Let me explain…
We arrived at 8:30pm in time for the talented Mookhi. The electronically-fused indie hip hop sounds from the Sydney-based vocalist, composer and producer created an ethereal atmosphere as she played to a packed room with Japanese anime projected behind her. Her soft, smooth, electro sounds were contrasted with a vibrant trumpet solo at the end of her set. The crowd went wild! A bunch of lovely ladies in white, wearing green leaves on their heads heated the room as they grooved enthusiastically to her music.
Next up we saw the lovely Annie Bass in the main room. Sharp blue lights framed her while she began with a bold hip hop beat. Her gentle, wavering voice was complimented with funky electro and hip hop undertones. Her voice echoed out to a half-full room; still early in the evening, but nevertheless, she swayed side to side and sung her heart out. Her sounds varied between soft and slow, and fast and funky. Some people boogied at the front while others sat up top watching from afar.
At this point, we headed to the bar and noticed a giant glass box with a lady inside dressed in white mesh with bright pink fingernails about half a metre long. Not sure what this was, but the sign said something about a ‘tree’ woman, so I suppose it was an Eve (see: Adam and Eve) artistic interpretation? Wonderous.
Various Asses was next up in the Gallery Bar, and let’s just say the name suited the performance. Two women literally shook their asses on stage for half an hour, while the sleek lady herself, Raquel Solier, mixed in the back. The Melbourne-based DJ delivered haunted trap sounds fused with vocal snippets and techno undertones. The dancers on stage revved up the crowd, intoxicated with their sensual boogie while, oddly enough, the projector screened female body builder competitions behind them. The crowd was both incredibly confused and hooked all at once.
10:30pm saw the absolute highlight of the evening, Miss Blanks, perform in Gallery Bar to a sweaty, animated room. The Brisbane-based hip hop rapper knew how to serve unapologetic lyrics and build a stage presence like none other. Wearing a silky blue nightgown, Sian Vandermuelen performed with raw hip hop music videos projected behind her. Starting with her notorious Clap Clap, the explicit tunes made us hot as hell. “So tonight I want all the ladies at the front. Guys, head on down to the back, go on,” she said, chuckling. Next up Been A Baddie and Drop It Low continued before she spoke again: “You know what I’m tired of? Boys tryin’ to tell women what femininity and womanhood is. If you’re a true feminist, remember to include black, trans women in the fucking conversation. Remember to include sex workers in the conversation.” The crowd yelled and howled like never before, vibing off the love for her insanely cool and impenitent performance.
Linda Marigliano and SPORTS went B2B in the Gallery Bar for the final performances we saw of the night. The insanely talented Sydney-based triple j radio presenter, TV presenter, DJ and musician, Marigliano delivered groovy techno-house beats for a one hour set while The Fifth Element (the movie) was projected behind her. Halfway through, anime dominated the projector again while the room packed out even more. Remember those fabulous women in white I mentioned earlier? They spontaneously jumped on stage and broke into refreshingly cool choreographed hip hop. Just… wow. Who knew you could dance hip hop to techno? Somehow it worked, astoundingly well and the crowd went wild. SPORTS merged into Marigliano’s last tune. The Sydney-based DJ is, indeed, sporty as hell, and grooved the entire time behind the decks. Psychedelic visions exploded from the projector while purple lights framed the stage. Her house and techno tunes ensured we left OAF exhausted, sweaty and satisfied.
Overall, the night was an absolute hit. We left feeling empowered and drunk on the talent. Let’s hope Sydney delivers more events like this, especially in tribute to the rapidly growing female influence in the electronic music scene.