REVIEW + PICS: Dew Process Label Party Feat. Wet | Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Written By Sam Murphy on 03/11/2015

DewProcess
It’s already been a big week for Aussie label Dew Process and we’re only at Wednesday. Mumford and Sons dropped their first single from their third album, London Grammar played a sold-out show at Sydney’s Enmore Theatre and four of their most-promising newbies took to the stage at Oxford Art Factory. We are, of course, talking about Eves The Behaviour, Tkay Maidza, Until The Ribbon Breaks and Wet who combined forces to bring a jam-packed night of new music to the Dew Process Label Party.

Eves The Behavior has had a defining few months with the release of her strongest track to date, TV and a run of stellar sets on tour with Laneway Festival. Live on stage it feels like she’s really developing into a force to be reckoned with. For such a young gun, she has a startling presence with her dark eyes immediately captivating. With a band behind her, she’s learnt to interact and perform as their lead-singer and also bring enough personality to draw attention to just her. She had the earliest set of the night at Oxford Art Factory but the crowd was still eating out of her hands as she contorted her body around to her dark, brooding pop. Ending with TV it was pretty clear that Eves The Behavior had something more that will carry her further than just being the triple j name of the moment.

Speaking of young guns, Tkay Maidza was next up. Maidza was also on the Laneway bill with Eves and together they define the new frontier of pop music. Maidza brings a totally different energy to the stage, however, with a sound that sounds like it’s been crafted by the internet age itself. She fires down verses one after the other with her performance doubling as a DJ set and a live gig. In between songs she giggles and hypes up the crowd but when it comes to taking to the mic it’s business time.

She drops Brontosaurus early on in the set, clearly now more confident with the merits of her newest tracks. M.O.B. perfectly puts the crowd’s energy on puppet strings pulling it back in the chorus and ramping it up for the verses with Tkay playing the perfect bad bitch. What’s most impressive is it feels like she’s starting to explore further the capabilities of her rapping. Whether on purpose or not, at time she was trialling different accents, adopting the theatricality of somebody like Nicki Minaj. Switch Lanes and Uh-Huh still stand out as golden nuggets within the set. She seems so relaxed performing the latter now, that it feels as if we can see her true calm nature coming through. As she ends, she shouts out to the dude in the front that knows all her lyrics. Yeah, she’s already got groupies and she’s only going to recruit more as her assault on the industry continues.

With the local portion of the evening over it was time to sample one of Dew Process' more mysterious signings. British band Until The Ribbon Breaks have toured with everyone from Lorde to Run The Jewels and are about to cast their dark magic upon Coachella next month. Their live set is as dark as their album would suggest with affecting projections further exacerbating the heavy presence of the band. Lead-singer Pete Lawrie-Winfield stares down the crowd, using his hands to basically direct the motion of the songs. An astute onlooker next to me remarked that he’s like a slam-poet as every word hits a shuddering accent.

Lawrie-Winfield is an immensely successful frontman but on-stage he has to become a chameleon with the wealth of genres that the band traverse in their short set. The band are most successful when they’re channelling their lighter vibes like on Spark, where the falsetto injects a healthy energy into the atmosphere. A projected appearance by Run The Jewels on Revolution Indifference also helps the excitement levels and gives us a break from the intense vocals which often require your utmost attention. The moments of electronic innovation also go down well with the chopped-up samples in Perspective showing just how complex the minds of Until The Ribbon Breaks are. The visuals that accompany the band are stunning but they could’ve done without the lyrics behind them as they already command enough attention when they’re simply audible.

Brooklyn indie-band Wet closed out proceedings proving why they are one of the most hotly-tipped bands in the world. Just last week The Fader proclaimed “Wet have what it takes to make everyone about an indie band.” The band make this evident on stage in Sydney showing that while at heart they’re an indie-pop band, there’s plenty more substance to back them up. They perfectly inject stabs of R&B, electronica and dream-pop into their sound creating a melting pot of hazy yet melodic daydreams.

Their somewhat oddly titled EP Dreams (consider their name, Wet), sounds beautifully crisp live with Kelly Zutrau offering a delicate but finessed vocal. She hovers in the clouds of smoke, shyly singing as her two male band-members stand at forefront of the stage. Every so often she opens her lungs and lets out a strong note, moving to the front of the stage. It’s enough to make her both endearing and affecting. Such is the appeal of Wet live. They’re obviously introverted but they let you in just enough to feel something from the songs.

Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl is hauntingly heartbreaking with the moments of instrumental silence allowing Zurtaru’s voice to soar while Dreams is light and playful. There’s enough variance within their set to make you swoon and also place your heart in your throat. Indie-pop became far too quaint for everybody a long time ago but Wet offer something more. They don’t want to be quirky, coy or cool. It feels far more effortless than that and that’s their major appeal.

If the Dew Process Label Party proved anything it’s that the label have a roster of new artists that spans a broad range of genres. It reflects an era where a hip-hop fans can stumble upon an indie-pop track within two clicks and as such although the four artists who played tonight each operated in different genres, sharing the night together felt right. It was a celebration of the new crop of artists who have only just entered our psyche.

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Photos by Bianca Bosso