Since opening its doors just under a month ago, Lion Arts Factory have had a jam-packed calendar, hosting a variety of international, national and local talent.
At 68 North Terrace, right on UniSA’s doorstep, the revamped venue is already living up to the building’s iconic reputation left in the wake Fowler’s Live’s closure late last year.
The 500-capacity venue, with its red-brick interior and industrial decor, was bustling with Adelaidians bearing band-tees and beers on Friday night.
Luca Brasi were in town, as part of their The Clothes I Slept In Across Australia national tour.
Local bands Madura Green and Pemberton were the supporting acts of the night. With crowds that filled the venue’s cavernous mosh pit, it was clear these two emerging artists are already well known and loved in the Adelaide punk-rock scene.
By the time the main act took the stage, frothies were flowing and the crowd was itching to sing along to Luca Brasi’s hard-hitting, homegrown punk-rock music.
The energy and passion of the four-piece from Tassie didn’t die down once throughout their hour-long set, and the mosh-goers could hardly keep their feet on the ground.
After a fervent encore call, Luca Brasi returned to the stage to perform not just one final song, but three; which sent the hungry crowd in a frenzy. They signed off with a fiery performance of their most popular song, Anything Near Conviction.
Although I’m not really familiar with Luca Brasi, or the punk-rock sphere generally, the atmosphere beneath the ceiling-hung banners was something I hadn’t experienced for some time.
It’s probably best described through an interaction I witnessed between two guys, who were previously unknown to each other. A man picked a younger guy up under his arms to lift him above the crowd. The younger guy unknowingly tipped his entire cup of beer over his shoulder – straight onto the shirt of the man lifting him. The man just shrugged and continued to lift his new friend above the crowd, even in front of his own viewpoint.
I, along with probably most in the room, felt an overwhelming sense of comradery; the type that can only form through a mutual love of live music.
This feeling isn’t lost to co-directors Craig Lock, Ross Osman and Hugo Pedler, who told Verse Magazine last month that the building ‘has such strong live music connection and history.’
Lion Arts Factory is usually open from Thursday to Saturday, and most of these nights feature a lineup of live music, as well as kick-on DJ sets until 5am.
While national and international artists secure the weekend hotspots, there’s often one or two local bands supporting them. However, Thursdays are reserved exclusively for local acts.
I chatted with China Roses, an electronic/pop/rap pair from the coastal suburbs, who are performing at Lion Arts Factory on the 21st of March.
So China Roses is the product of a dynamic duo: Jes and Pietro. Can you each tell us about yourself?
J: Hi, I’m Jes and I’m a vocalist. My mum always said I had a big mouth, so no surprises this is what I ended up doing. If I’m not doing music, I’m generally at the beach, surfing or op-shopping.
P: My name is Pietro and I’m a producer. I’ve been playing music for about ten years now. Between music and my big Italian/Lebanese family I don’t get a lot of time to do much else. But, I always enjoy a bit of sport and a lot of food!
How did China Roses come to be?
J: I got sick of rapping in my room with crappy YouTube beats and iPhone recordings. So, I hit up the local radio station, Fresh927, for a producer. Pietro was volunteering there at the time and they recommended him. We’ve pretty much been making songs ever since.
After listening to your tracks, I’d say your style is quite eclectic. Can you describe your sound?
Our aim is generally to have deep, atmospheric music with what we like to call “image provoking lyrics”. Hopefully people agree!
Which artists do you draw inspiration and influence from?
J: At the moment local band Towns, Good Doogs and KLLO
P: It’s always a bit different depending on the song. China Roses music is very different to what I produce for my solo stuff. But I guess it’s a bit of Odesza, Rufus, What So Not. Just pieces from all over the place.
What’s it like making music and starting out in a small city like Adelaide?
It’s cool, we’ve had so many amazing opportunities supporting some really great acts. The community here is really supportive and everyone looks out for each other and backs each other. We’ve worked with heaps of other acts in Adelaide. Even just as a muck about. We’ve worked a lot with Kirby, Danny from Runaway Weekend, PNK FME, Baltimöre; the list goes on.
What’s in store for China Roses this year?
We’ve been working towards an EP, we just want to make sure it’s our best work so we’re being quite picky about it. We already know our next single but it still needs a few finishing touches. We’re also looking at hopefully doing some interstate shows, which is pretty exciting.
You’re playing next Thursday at the new Lions Art Centre alongside Divebar Youth and Beyond the Picture. Is there anything exciting in store for this gig?
Well it’s always exciting to play in a new venue, especially when you’re playing at what’s quickly becoming one of the most important venues in the state like Lion Arts! And even more exciting is that we are sandwiched between two really talented acts. We’ve got a couple new songs to perform as well so, it should be a good time all round!
Catch China Roses, along with other local bands Beyond The Picture and Divebar Youth this Thursday at Lion Arts Factory. Tickets (and pints of beer/cider) are just $5!
Words by Annabel Bowles.
Photography by Oliver White.