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Partying It Up at SONICA Music Festival

Because good music and good food goes hand in hand.

Wow, that was definitely a night for the books! People have been rightfully excited for SONICA Music Festival from its initial announcement, especially after seeing the line up. Who wouldn’t be excited to see Amber Liu, Henry Lau, and ZICO all in one stage? It’s literally like a dream come true to fans seeing all their favorites together in one place. The weather was also supportive of the day, which must’ve meant that the universe definitely wanted the festival to be held successfully. 

The list of food trucks that was initially listed already built excitement especially after seeing a  boba store in that list. I’m pretty sure a lot of the festival-goers would’ve made up their minds and will definitely get the bubble tea we all know and love, which by the way, tasted really good. The amount of variety provided from the food list was also a plus point and I can go on and on in regards to the food and how amazing and savory they tasted but since music was the largest part of the festival, let’s dive into that. 

By the time we arrived at the venue, it was just a little under an hour before Amber was scheduled to take the stage. People were walking around looking for something to munch on, sitting on picnic mats, basically the ultimate 대학축제 (a direct translation would be ‘university festival’)  experience. 

Image supplied.

Amber’s stage started out with a little extra power as she sang Easier and Hands Behind My Back, which the latter included a performance with her dancers. I must say, right off the bat, you can tell that she wasn’t feeling the best that day and she was not in good health to perform so for her to be on the stage just giving her best and doing the best she can, it was something that was admirable. 

With a mixture of songs that would make you jump and songs that bring all the emotions in you (including a performance from an unreleased song, Dusk to Dawn), Amber mentioned how throughout the years, she went through a moment of self realization and that she always wanted to be the best version of herself, or at least will always strive to be the best version of herself. She then proceeded to introduce her song that just released the same day the festival was held. 

No More Sad Songs was the title of the new song and it was such an honor to have her perform the song live for the first time ever in Australia. Despite the initial mishap, the song was sung beautifully and it can be confirmed that hearing the song live brought out different emotions compared to the recorded version of the song. 

And of course, it wouldn’t be Amber’s stage if she did not perform the song, Other People. This song definitely brought people out of their seats, if there were any, and we can tell everyone was vibing and just dancing along, enjoying themselves, and enjoying the music. 

Image supplied. 

On the other hand, Henry’s stage presence was more performance-related. He started off with Radio, making the audience swoon with his honey-like voice while playing the violin. He definitely is a man of many talents, because it’s not just the violin, he proceeded to remix Charlie Puth’s Attention and Dance Monkey with the loop station. This instrument was vital throughout his set as he constantly went back and experimented with the loop station using multiple songs. 

It wouldn’t be an Aussie concert without the “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE” chant which Henry was definitely in love with (he did that thrice in a row). Not only is he good with crowd participation, he was able to create an entire cover song with melodies he created on stage using everyday items such as, the large garbage bin, metal drums, and a little bit of help from the reverb to tie it all together. 

Henry’s hit songs such as Monster and Moonlight were also performed during his set, but it was a shame that he didn’t perform his newest single, Real Love Still Exists because I know a lot of the fans were looking forward to hearing that live for the first time. Instead, the fans are able to say that they debuted in Henry’s Instagram account when he requested to make an IG Reel together with the audience’s participation. It’s not just that. Henry also roamed around the crowd with his violin, just performing while being in the crowd. That was definitely something worth noting down if you can’t remember anything from the night. 

Image supplied. 

As the night slowly draws to an end, it’s time for the performer we’ve all been waiting for. ZICO definitely was the highlight of SONICA Music Festival. The amount of energy he brought with him despite performing alone on stage (sans the DJ), was enough to make the crowd sing along. To be fair, I could barely see the stage, but through the screens out back (which arguably could’ve been bigger to accommodate), it looked like ZICO was definitely dominating the crowd. 

From his songs that were popular before the TikTok challenge era, Artist, Okey Dokey, and Turtle Ship, to songs that reached peak TikTok popularity, Any Song and New Thing, the crowd could never get enough of his performance. It was particularly heartwarming to see him give a shoutout to his fellow Koreans who were there in the show and he sounded really happy to hear his people as he then proceeded to say that they were in a faraway place together, but to be ready to have fun. 

And since ZICO can be considered as the father of TikTok challenges, it shouldn’t be a surprise to people that he would do his TikTok challenges on stage in front of thousands of people. As ZICO finishes up his set, the crowd then goes to ask for an encore which he complied, and officially finishes off with Boys and Girls

Despite the fact that I basically watched the entire festival through a screen and the sound system was kind of muffled, I quite enjoyed myself throughout the night. All three of the artists were good performers and their song choices were curated perfectly as the crowd were able to enjoy themselves.

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