Reviewed on Friday August 8

As the adage goes, ‘those who learn hard must also play hard’. Or something. Either way, the lineup for UTS’ Winterfest was good enough to coax reluctant students back to the dreaded UTS Tower outside of university hours, an almost unheard of occurrence.

Safia took to the Loft stage with plenty of woozy synth beats and pumping bass. It’s a testament to Ben Woolner’s voice that he managed to overcome some obvious sound issues to deliver a strong, energetic set. Sadly, the packed-out venue just didn’t feel quite right, with a lot of the crowd far more concerned with downing drinks than with the actual music.

By the time the DMA’s took to the stage, it was clear that most of the crowd was at least tipsy and ready to start a decent mosh. They were backing up a hectic touring schedule and recent Splendour performance, and it’s clear the practice has lead to a tighter live show. Everyone should be sick of ‘Delete’ by now, but Tommy O’Dell’s nostalgic voice is just as relatable as ever. Matt Mason’s nimble-fingered guitar work carried ‘Feels Like 37’ and ‘Lay Down’ through some more sound problems, the picture of calm with a cigarette tucked behind his ear.

It was not until the clocks struck midnight that Violent Soho graced the stage. From the opening chord, people started crowd surfing, fist pumping and generally losing their shit, as the youth of today are wont to do. The madness engulfed the entire Loft – by the time ‘Saramona Said’ arrived, the hysteria had grown to the point that it felt possible someone might actually start a fire, while ‘Covered In Chrome’ is the reason everyone has lost their voice this week. All in all, a pretty great start to what will undoubtedly be a very long, furry-eyed semester.

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