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Hidden Treasures, Fremantle’S West End, Thursday, July 5, 2018

The air is rarefied at Hidden Treasures, but thankfully there’s enough for everybody. The 2018 edition kicked off last Thursday on Fremantle’s West End, with some folks returning to the warmth they knew so well from previous years and others visiting for the first time, having been told of the fare of offer and how it is delivered.

For these eyes and ears, it jumped into action at the National Hotel, where Emlyn Johnson spent the first five minutes of his set in some kind of freeform dance, before arresting the early-comers with that rough velvet croon of his. Meanwhile at the Navy Club, J.F.K. debuted a new guitarist, leaving vocalist/songwriter, James Knox, hands-free and in the moment, exactly where he wants to be.

Meanwhile at The Wyola Club, Cuss delivered a jangle that gumboed elements of garage, surf and (Velvet) underground, with arrangements steeped in good humour and natty dynamics, all as the crowd revelled in – and raved about – this newly-discovered-old-room.

Over at the PS Art Space, Hyclass opened the live proceedings for this particular hip hop hub. The venue filled as the set smoothed its way on, with Susan Tuialii being joined for the occasion by Natalie Mae. They said they was Hyclass, well that you cannot deny.

Back at the Navy Club, Leopard Lake’s spacious electronic evocations filled the room, Sam Ford and Storm Wyness’ new outfit traverses trip-hoppy and ambient moods, subtle yet insistent throughout. They launch their debut EP at The Bird this Saturday, by the way. In the Wyola Club Last Quokka were paying tribute to Exmouth and the values of loose, good times with lyrics straight out of the Strayan Suburban Songbook. They are a bunch of yer mates onstage, even if you don’t know ‘em.


The PS Art Space saw a welcome Freo return for Downsyde, with new member, the highly-decorated Beni Bjah, standing proud along stalwarts Optamus and Dazastah. Well into their second decade, Downsyde sound as fresh as ever and the future seems just as promising as the past was rewarding.

The atmosphere along High Street is something to be sure. Folks warming their hands around the communal fires enthusing about what they’d just seen or were going to see. Others joined the queue for (another) full tram ride infused with the sounds of Sunbird, led by one-of-a-kind tour guide, Justin Walshe.

As the Paige McNaught Experience brought uncompromising rock’n’roll to the Buffalo Club, over at the Navy Club the whispers could be heard around the venue – ‘the guitarist used to be in The Wiggles’. The Red Wiggle is simply back to being known as Murray Cook, and with ex-pat WA vocalist, Lizzie Mack, fronts Sydney’s The Soul Movers, who enchanted a full room with real soul and R&B vibes. It was a party-like end to an evening of many, many sounds.

So much to see, so much to hear. Hidden Treasures is the invitation and we are the presence every Thursday in July.

A $20 ticket gets you in at all venues. More details at

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