As someone who spends a lot of time talking about the NT music scene I have an embarrassing confession to make…
…I haven’t seen WildWater play before.
I know, I know! It’s a confession that sparks surprise, and occasionally outrage, from the Darwin music community (primarily the stalwarts of the scene). It’s common knowedlge that WildWater has been at the forefront of Darwin’s original music scene over the last decade.
And after their set at the Entertainment Centre for Garrmalang Festival I understand why.
The enchanting Rayella opened the night. The father-daughter duo hails from the small remote community Marlinja, but they’ve developed an appetite for big stages. The night before they supported Dan Sultan (with many reporting they stole the show). Eleanor Dixon’s voice has a commanding presence and passion that mixed with her Dad’s (Raymond Dixon) guitar and accompanying vocals is a stunning experience. Their respectful and playful on-stage banter creates an entirely charming and impressive show.
For me, one of the best parts of the night was the playfulness between artists and crowd.
For example…. Rayella’s final song was cheered into an encore. Eleanor, being the respectful and charming lady she is, responded to the crowd: ‘But WildWater is next’.
To which a hilariously familiar voice in the crowd responded ‘Ah not those old guys’.
It was like seeing old mates hanging out after time apart. It had the feeling that even though they aren’t seeing each other all the time, nothing had changed about their friendship.
Front man Djolpa has this gorgeous deep and soulful voice and a crowd of fans who are continuously requesting their favorite WildWater track… ‘Sunset Bay’ ‘Mimi Man’ ‘Crystal Clear Water’.
He handles the jukebox crowd with swagger.
For a first time WildWater spectator I was impressed.
The blend of reggae, dancehall, rock and dub was delicious. The Entertainment Centre was filled with tropical vibes and coastal goodness. The drum and bass was groovy and I adored the shiver-inducing guitar. It was the sort of funk the Darwin music scene was built on.
And the highlight of the night? When Djolpa dedicated a song to Shenanigans – reminding us all that love is way more important than hate and discrimination.
Next time WildWater is in town… get your ears and dancing feet around them.