BAND: Winston Surfshirt, Wallace, Crooked Letter VENUE: Oxford Art Factory DATE: 23rd June, 2017
It seems a large chunk of the Northern Beaches have deigned to cross the bridge on a school night – a rare occurrence indeed, but with local heroes Winston Surfshirt throwin’ down tunes at the Oxford Art Factory it seems this is finally an event that can mobilise the north.
Packing into the eternally sweaty room, the night kicks off with Crooked Letter and the delightfully Kimbra-esque Wallace before the Surfshirt boys take the stage, just barely fitting with their army of instruments.
Originally the brain-child of singer/rapper Winston, the band has evolved into one of Sydney’s most fascinating acts, incorporating an array of artists and producers into the fold and eventually turning into a 6-piece who can bend soul and hip hop at will. Winston himself boasts a voice that would make a cement block weak at the knees, and despite the fact that the Oxford Art Factory main stage has turned into a sauna, he flits effortlessly between caressing his glow-stick mic stand and pouring his seductive vocals across favourites like ‘Ali D’ and ‘Be About You’ (all the while having a wet t-shirt competition against himself, courtesy of the hot and heavy room).
The entire set is punchy, and it’s especially nice to see the brassy tones coming from an actual trombone and not a sample – Winston Surfshirt are tight and the grooves sexy as hell. But just in case you thought this up and coming band didn’t have enough original material to fill an hour, they briefly disappear then burst back onstage with some of the most unexpected covers for a band from the beaches – they close out the set with some electrifying covers including Kendrick’s ‘Humble’ and Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Simon Says’.
There’s been a lot of buzz about this group lately, and based on their adventures tonight it’s safe to say this lot have well and truly stepped out of the underground – and for good reason. They’re playing Round 2 tonight at Oxford Art, with a string of sold-out dates still to come.
BY TIANA SPETER