Teaming up with Handsome Tours, one of Brisbane’s favourite record stores, Jet Black Cat Music, celebrated their ninth birthday in style, hosting the inaugural Nine Lives Festival at The Tivoli on Sunday, 1 March. Featuring international headliners like Aldous Harding (NZ) and Kikagaku Moyo (Japan) as well as several standout local acts including Buttercats, First Beige, and Sycco, Nine Lives Festival made its mark as one of the biggest and best community-focused festivals of 2020.

Throughout the day, the iconic Tivoli saw thousands of punters venture across three stages inside and outside the venue. In a sweltering summer heat, the reprieve of starting the day inside the beautiful theatre was already a charming idea, but local act Buttercats, made it an even better start. Bringing style, substance, and infinite amounts of groove, the soulful dance group opened the main stage with an awe-inspiring performance. Garnering well-deserved anticipation for their set, the group really lamented themselves with a sound and spectacle as not just an opening act, but a headlining show in the making. Continuing the groove to the sunny outdoor stage, the heat brought by the incredibly soulful and groovy six-piece collective, First Beige, was better than that generated by the hot sun, making for a memorable and dazzling experience. Their polished, interweaving performance was layered with small musical inflections and anecdotes that made every song unique and engaging to listen, as well as dance, to. A particularly special moment with First Beige was the deepest bass drop experienced at the festival, happening when the band unveiled their remarkable collaborative track with These Guy, titled Sole Reality – a big highlight of the day.

Returning to the main stage, punters flew in through every door to see the recent local Laneway opener, Sycco, perform. Having already blown away new fans at BIGSOUND 2019 and the  aforementioned Laneway, this performance by Sycco truly exemplified the impact her music has had on the scene, with hundreds upon hundreds of fans gathering for one of the band’s best performances to date. Launching into the set with a beaming smile and pausing only to thank the crowd with genuine wonder, huge songs like Tamed Grief had the entire crowd moving and repeating every line back to the stage. The psych-rock and neo-soul infusion was beautifully complimented by Sasha’s amazing vocal performance and her insanely talented collective brought a hugely diverse sound to life, song after song. Ending the set with a huge amount of gratitude, Sycco brought the incredibly catchy Peacemaker to a mighty crescendo, only to be outdone by the roar of the crowd in appreciation of wonderful talent.

Paving the way for the headlining acts still to come, the bar had been set incredibly high at Nine Lives Festival by some of the best local talent Brisbane has to offer. As crowds packed out the theatre for international acts like Kevin Morby and Aldous Harding, the wonder that was experienced earlier in the day was a perfect primer to see just how far the local scene can grow to be. To celebrate it all with friends, and valued members of the community made Jet Black Cat’s Nine Lives Festival truly a wonderful birthday experience for all.

This review is courtesy of Phoenix Radio’s Emerge program, hosted by Calen Le Couteur and Russell Thompson. Follow Emerge and tune in on Monday nights 7-9PM HERE.