The sky was grey but arms, legs, and smiles were plentiful as people filtered in through the laneways surrounding The Ivy. The event description had the dress code as ‘festival-garb’, so as I entered the courtyard area I was greeted with an ocean of lace, lace ups, high waists, and floaty fabrics. After absorbing the fact that all my friends, as well as my plus one were only going to be arriving in an hour or so, I fortified myself with a gin and tonic, and went to check out the stage. It wasn’t too crowded yet, so I had a pretty good view of the two guys on the stage. Nocturnal Tapes is the band you wish was always playing at your festival. Their bass lines were throbbing and steady, without detracting from the impressively ethereal falsetto vocals. Over their hour or so set, I heard a thoroughly enjoyable blend of hip hop, soul, and funk mixed in with their electronica.
After a few more solo drinks, my posse finally arrived– with little time to spare before my personal highlight of the evening. The biggest schoolgirl crush I’ve had since I was in early primary school and Princess Jasmine from Aladdin set my little heart aflutter. Tash Sultana. By now, the crowd had thickened and the courtyard was packed out. Even the upper level balconies were body to body tight. Tash Sultana rocked. She absolutely rocked. Expertly looping her own vocals and instrumentals over themselves, you could see how into the music she was, which in turn drew in the audience. Everybody went crazy when she whipped out an unexpected trumpet. Unfortunately, she rocked so hard she blew a speaker moments into her grand finale rendition of Jungle, and though they tried, they couldn’t sort it out quick enough and she gracefully apologised and quit the stage as the next in-between DJ took the stage. Mansionair drew everybody back to the main dancefloor. I had fewer tall people blocking my view this time, and it was amazing how the three members worked together to produce such a big sound.
The Courtyard Live sessions bring together a good variety of performers — and drew a good mix of crowds who came together to have a great time. No matter where you were across the levels you could always hear the music enough to dance, and the courtyard being open to the sky kept things cool despite the pumping crowd. If you’re a festival head who needs their fix when the main season is over, definitely check out one of parties.
Liv S. is a creature of warm weather, negronis, and writing. She can usually be found elbow deep in a pile of chicken wings. Check out her musings @callmememphisjones.