REVIEW: Pop-up exhibition (with True Vibenation)

By Sally McMullen

The old Otis Bar was brought back to life on Thursday night with the opening night of Wollongong’s first Pop-Up exhibition.

Organised by Simon Grant, Pop-Up showcased the work of both emerging and established local artists.

After seeing the quality of the art on display, it was no wonder why the evening was a definite success, with streams of people filtering in and out all night.

With speakers blasting funk and hip-hop tunes and the air filled with almost intoxicating spray-paint fumes, the bar had been transformed into a sea of sound and colour.

The walls of the bottom level were adorned with massive graffiti pieces. Between the unnervingly realistic faces peering down off the walls, the wheat paste images of human bodies with horse-heads and swooping eagles, it was difficult to choose where to look next.

Up-stairs, the walls were lined with the likes of RANSM’s tattoo and street style prints, soft pastel and oil paint pieces, a giant wooden cassette sculpture and IDIOT’s 3D graffiti pop-up books.

With so much talent on display, it was no surprise that the artwork was not limited to the innards of the building. All night, street artists worked on a giant mural on the front wall. Picturing a sneering face of Charles Manson and a pair of Mickey Mouse hands clutching a gold, dollar-sign chain, the piece captured the attention of every passerby.

All of this was before Sydney-based act, True Vibenation had even entered the building.

It was 9 O’clock by the time the trio began their set, but the explosion of horns and some turn-tables were more than enough to wake up some of the drearier crowd members.

Bursting with reggae and Aussie hip-hop style rapping, True Vibenation added a refreshing element to the already chilled atmosphere of the night.

Finishing their first song with a quick rendition of Bob Marley’s ‘Get Up, Stand Up’, it was clear that this was only the beginning of what would be a killer set.

With almost in-sync movements, between-song-banter and tight rapping, True Vibenation had great chemistry and an infectious energy that began to rub off on the crowd.

Initially standing tentatively towards the back, everyone soon crowded towards the front, dancing along to the magnetic beats.

During tracks like ‘Running’, the trio showed off their versatility, with a combination of a brass intro, quick-quip infused rhymes and a dubstep breakdown that had one of the trio, Gabriel, doing his own robotic inspired dance called the ‘running man’.

True Vibenation experimented with a number of styles throughout the set. ‘The Drum’ featured spanish inspired guitar riffs and references to The Little Drummer Boy, delivering this revolution inspired track with animated beats.

By the end of the set, True Vibenation had nearly all of the crowd getting down. Literally. At one point, the boys demanded that each person lower to the ground before jumping up as the song crescendoed back into an out-burst of horns.

With a unique sound and down-to-earth stage presence, True Vibenation were the perfect ending to an already impressive night.

With Grant already brain-storming more up-coming art shows and True Vibenation embarking on their ‘Sunshower Tour’ we can only hope that both make more frequent appearances in the Wollongong art scene in the future.


2 Responses to REVIEW: Pop-up exhibition (with True Vibenation)

  1. Cathi Duff says:

    Mmm it certainly was a top night !!!

  2. Beverly Duff says:

    such an interesting review – wish I had been there

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