Willow Beats @ Black Bear Lodge, 8th August

Magical, elemental, and hypnotic are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think of Willow Beats.  After success with their first EP, the uncle and niece electronic duo have created another stellar track Merewif; the feature of their ongoing national tour.

Tonight, the stage is set with assorted reeds and palms and two lampposts standing either side, almost like a small enchanted garden. Announcing that this is only his fourth gig, the night opens with local DJ cln.  Playing to the early comers, he creates a very chilled atmosphere while still pumping up the crowd with driving beats.  Mixing different styles of electronic music, cln’s style feels very much like Flume’s early mixes.  With a set full of his own tracks, he looks to be a rising star in the electronic scene.

With more people filing in after cln’s set, I notice a definite crowd starting to generate.  Women with bindis and long flowing dresses accompany men with paint-dotted foreheads and wreaths in their hair. Next to the stage is Tincture, another Brisbane producer.  Starting off in a very different way to cln, Tincture produces ominous sounds that are almost displeasing to hear.  The mood changes soon after with Tincture breaking out a guitar and blending it with some vocal effects.  Bringing the set to a close, he covers Frank Ocean’s Swim Good, adding his own texture on top to create a standout song from his set.

 Vocalist Kalyani Mumtaz is a prominent force as she gyrates her hips back and forth with the ebb and flow of their music, like a Hindu goddess.

Willow Beats finally enter the stage, wreaths in hair, led by two hooded figures who move to the lampposts.  As the lights in the lampposts flicker for the first time, Willow Beats begin their illuminating music, their mix of dubstep and melodic lines get the crowd moving instantly. Vocalist Kalyani Mumtaz is a prominent force as she gyrates her hips back and forth with the ebb and flow of their music, like a Hindu goddess.

Having a frontperson for a DJ duo definitely makes for a greater experience as the crowd feed off of Mumtaz’s energy.  The rhythms being produced by Narayana Johnson create a tribal feel as the dubstep creeps up in the background.  Their music is mystical and enchanting as if Willow Beats have put us all under their spell.  Johnson takes the vocals for their first single Blue,  gentle waves wash over us with this soft and soothing track as we all close our eyes in a state of euphoria.  As the haunting vocal melodies of Merewif begin, we wait with baited breath for the drop.  The syncopated beats get the crowd bouncing, still feeding off of the hypnotic moves of Mumtaz, her vocals are perfect and rich as they soar through the choruses.

As Willow Beats walk off the stage with their hooded friends, a sadness fills the crowd, we had just witnessed something enchanting and spectacular.  Willow Beats had got us grooving, so much so that the crowd didn’t want to stop and so it continued after their set and well into the night.

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