Olympia is part of a growing new wave renaissance. Specialising in a slightly softer, more pop oriented version of the sound than her peers, she’s made a name for herself in her native Australia as one of the most intriguing new talents on the island. Having already captured the hearts of her home country fans, she played her first UK shows the The Great Escape last month and packed in another four across her time in the UK. Set to follow in the footsteps of her fellow countryfolk, Courtney Barnett and Tame Impala, she’s fast establishing herself as one to watch abroad as well as at home. We got her capture her time in the UK for an exclusive mood board.
Our first showcase as part of The Great Escape at Patterns, Brighton. This was such a cracking set, and we even had local hero Big Jeff (of VICE fame) pump his fists at this set. I initially thought he was waving, and so I waved back. My British band mates filled me in after the set. Thanks to Sounds Australia for hosting this stage, alongside other Australian bands Gold Class; Ainslie Wills; and Lisa Mitchell. This shot was taken by Brighton local Georgie Dalbiac.
What we look like straight after a show! Our UK touring team emerging from Patterns after our show. Left to right: Olivia Bartley; Sarah Belkner (AUS); Marcus Hamblett (UK: Bears Den); Jools Owen (UK: Bears Den); and our Tour Manager Scott Humphries. A good TM is always on the phone. This was an incredible bunch of people/musicians and I count myself very lucky to have worked with them (and that they forgave me for the 12 hour rehearsals).
Did you know that football teams often seal hotel rooms and storm them full of oxygen to help them acclimatise to the local atmosphere? This is similar to what I am doing in this picture. In music we just call it practising though. This is me warming up for SoFar Sounds in a beautiful converted shop from the 1800s in Hoxton, East London. The SoFar experience was a wonderful introduction to playing to English audiences, and on the way home I saw a pack of domestic dogs running together and I wondered where they went for a good couple of hours. Also of note here, this incredible apartment did inspire some feelings of ‘single white female’ as the owner (who I didn’t know) and I appeared to have the same taste in so many things: the grand piano, the art books, same colour yoga mat - I even went to her yoga studio. Anyway, if you’re reading this, generous owner, thanks for the good rating, and I promise I only opened the drawers I needed to - for instance, the cutlery drawer.
I took my jet lag to the Tate Modern and drew strangers moving around the works within The Radical Eye exhibition. Wolfgang Tillmans’ exhibition ‘2017’ was incredibly inspiring. Each room curated by the artist, including research and news articles tying the work to the present day. Felt like being inside a Radiohead album. Good gift shop - 5 stars. Hot tip - take the stairs.
On the weekend of a bank holiday, and also the day British Airways cancelled all their flights, (read: traffic), we drove from Brighton to Liverpool in preparation for Sound City Festival. Traffic on the M6 was heavily congested and so we took a detour for a swim on a farm in the Compton Valley. In contrast to the American counterpart of the same name, this place was insanely - (like what I can only imagine looks like) the set of Heartbeat- beautiful. We swam watched over by sheep, geese, and luckily only spotted the large dead fish in our orbit after we got out of the water.
Compton Valley, photo taken by Jools Owen.
Playing our last show as part of this UK tour at Liverpool Sound City. After this show, Sarah went off to open for Lisa Mitchell in Nottingham, and Jools, Marcus and I took bets whether stranded British Airways passengers had taken my hotel room at the airport ahead of my early flight home. Despite feeling a little flat at us all splitting up, I really enjoyed Jo Mary’s set at Sound City, and regret not having posed for a photo with the tambourine player in the smashing red suit.
“A stirring, razor-sharp show - grungier than on record, more Angel Olsen than St Vincent” - Our first official headline show in London held at The Lock Tavern, a fantastic night! I got lost ahead of the show following a random impulse for flamingoes to flank the stage with. Regardless, the flamingoes were not needed - this was an incredible night and a lot of fun to play. One of those nights where a show clicks between stage and audience.
In between sets at The Great Escape, I had the pleasure of enjoying sets by Emma Gatrill and Sarah Belkner as part of The Fake Escape. This was held at a fantastic artist-led pub called The Rose Hill. Highly recommend a visit, and recommend the Peanut flavoured beer.
I managed to accidentally bookend my trip to the UK with trips to the Tate - Modern & Britain. I had originally made for the Tate Britain to see some of their Francis Bacon works in the flesh, and was also struck by the collection of Henry Moore works, not to mention the buildings' architecture, including this beautiful glass dome. When a building makes you look up, it makes me think of the ‘At Zenith’ photos by William Eggleston, and that childhood memory of lying on your back looking at the clouds. Gift shop 3.5 stars.