Walking down a narrow alleyway towards the Old Queen's Theatre after dark, you may begin to wonder if Playhouse Lane and Gilles Arcade is actually supposed to be hosting a party, or if perhaps you've just made a wrong turn somewhere in life.
Greeted by about six security guards standing aimlessly around a large shed next to the empty theatre, it becomes apparent that something is set to take place tonight.
Stepping inside, you're greeted cheerily by women in fluorescent face and body paint, with outfits made of flowers or floral themed clothing. The sound of electric guitar without any backing instrumentation (mutated beyond recognition by effects pedals) echoes and screeches cyclically in the distance.
After dealing with tickets or door-lists, you're encouraged to take some of your own flowers inside, as bouquets laying next to the ticket booth are pointed out under the glowing back-light.
Large fluorescent art installations and more flowers greet you as you pass by on your way down the entrance towards the main warehouse.
Once inside, there is a large bird's nest type installation, deep purple and blue lighting, and more flowers than you'd ever expect to see in the middle of the city. The flowers are strewn from the rafters in the roof, along structural supports, doorways, walls, from VB and West-End bottles, and anywhere else fathomable. Distorted guitar continues to screech over the top of everything, as a misguided attempt to cement the ambience.
At this point, due to there being only a dozen or so people inside, half of which were covered in fluoro paint, I began to wonder if I was really at the 2016 edition of Flower Party, or if I'd just walked into the bi-monthly meeting of the Golum Gang from Batman and Robin (1997).
In its sixth year running, Flower Party is the unofficial homecoming and re-gathering of local Adeladians Jimmy & The Mirrors, giving the band an opportunity to take a break from each member's side projects and put on a show for the fans they've steadily built up over the years.
The 2016 edition of Flower Party, the second at Queen's Theatre, also featured Jesse Davidson, Ollie English, Deliah Obst, Bearded Gypsy Band, Surahn, and the debut of Sleepy Lizard.
Looking out at the stage as Surahn opened the night with cruisy, acoustic melodies, I stared in awe at the large tiki-like trees that had been created using tropical leaves with metal hub-caps at the centre. The flowers adorning everything inside, combined with the candles, body-paint and incense, ultimately give everything a slightly off-colour ceremonial vibe at first.
"I feel like I've walked into an African LSD cult's sacrificial good-time warehouse," I remarked in a Facebook group-chat.
As the night moved on, the warehouse became packed, and the droning ambient instrumentals between sets became less prominent, the aesthetic of the Flower Party became justified.
Deliah Obst took to the stage with help from multi-instrumentalists Jesse Davidson and Dom Symes and delivered a set painted with angelic vocals and folky, emotive instrumentals. Deliah was joined on stage by Laura Zubreckyj (ex-Brokers) for the first time in a talented debut on backing vocals.
Following Deliah was the debut of Sleepy Lizard, whose funk laden rhythms are sure to get feet moving and more crowds drawn in the future.
For a band playing their supposed first show together live, they are tight, commanding and confidently driven by charismatic vocalist Bill Meegan; Bill's snake-skin beret was almost militaristic in combination with him leading a band and talking on stage to a crowd of onlookers, but together they showed that Sleepy Lizard are ready to do battle.
After Sleepy Lizard reached their slumber, but before local Lizard Boy Jesse Davidson took to the stage, blues heart-throb Ollie English performed a refined, longing set of indie soul and blues.
Joined on stage by Yewth's own Lewis Brideson on keyboard, the band went through a series of new material set to be released later in the year, much to the praise of the crowd.
Following on stage to do what he does best, again joined by Symes on supporting instrumentals, was Jesse Davidson.
The lizard boy's set wasn't without its hitches; no stranger to covers, Davidson delivered two energetic and powerful renditions of Elvis songs, before the band's keyboardist took things into his own hands and dived into a fast-tempo, unsolicited cover of 'Dancing In The Moonlight'.
Davidson's band also fell short where the vocalist and guitarist tried to indulge in tapering guitar solos to finish a few tracks, but were otherwise a competent accompaniment to the multi-instrumentalist's studio work. The band played through 'Oceans', 'Lagoon', 'Laika' and a host of other material to a now growing and more energetic crowd. Davidson is still, in this reviewer's eyes, one to keep an eye on.
By now, the warehouse neighbouring Old Queen's Theatre was alive and flourishing with flowers and punters filling the venue and crowd's audience.
The Flower Party Soul Train followed Jesse Davidson's set; the DJ set of '70s, '80s and contemporary funk/dance music gave punters the perfect excuse to take a temporary break from Snapchat narcissism and put their skills in simulating fun to the test in front of a real audience. After all, the winner of the soul train dance competition wins free booze for the rest of the night. Whether or not the crowd-goers were able to pull-off the victory without the ability to check a ten-second clip of themselves before exposure to an audience is unknown.
Finally, the home-coming heroes Jimmy & The Mirrors took to the stage with an enviable eight members composing brass, rhythm, percussion and vocals — again joined by Symes (Hey, Mr. Tambourine man: stop playing in so many bands).
The band did a stellar job of riling up the crowd and reminding the audience that although Jimmy Meegan and his Mirrors may be gone from regular touring of venues in Adelaide, they are not to be forgotten. Symes, and other members with their own respective side-projects, delivered above expectation in supporting vocals and instrumentals. The Mirrors played through old and new material, including fan favourites 'What Happened' and 'Toucan Blues' (the video-clip of which was filmed at the 2014 Flower Party).
Closing off the sixth installment of Flower Party was the noticeably clean-shaven members of Bearded Gypsy Band. Being entirely honest, the band does do the genre of music they perform exceptionally well. Were you a fan of violin, or pretending you're an out of work gold prospector, you'd be right at home.
Conversely, it remains to be seen if the band's pirate-folk themed hoe-downs would have been met with anywhere near as much praise had they been given an earlier slot in the evening. The same could probably be said for other bands, though. Bearded Gypsy Band had the entire dance-floor engaged in carnival-esque hoedown debauchery that ultimately lead-up well to the more recognisable and relatable dance classics Young Muscle DJs polished the end of the night off with.
Flower Party is the premiere annual opportunity to embrace tropicana-influenced floral sensibility in a warehouse context. With some of Adelaide's finest established and up-and-coming bands along for the ride, you'll soon forget how close to winter the event is held each year.