Meredith Music Festival 23

Meredith Music Festival 23

Arriving at Meredith (north-east of Melbourne) on a beautiful day at around 3pm, we were informed that there was only one camp site available due to the fact that 10,000 punters had already arrived! Considering the capacity is around 12,000 or so, this was no mean feat.

Kicking off the night proper were Atlanta’s finest, Deerhunter lead by the weird and wonderful Bradford Cox & co. Cox was certainly less mouthy than he was at the Hi-Fi show earlier in the week, where he stopped the show (and any momentum they’d built), and called his Mum via Skype. Over and over again. They never got through to her just for the record.

The only time he really spoke to the audience this evening was when he freaked out, dropping his guitar, and announcing there was a “giant, poisonous spider” on stage! I’m guessing it was probably a huntsman, which for just the record Bradford, isn’t poisonous.

The start of their set was a little disjointed, though early highlights such as ‘Revival’ and ‘Desire Lines’ from the massively popular ‘Halcyon Digest’ got the crowd going. They boys got down to business In the second half, where they blew the crowd away with an extended 10 minute kraut rock jam of ‘Nothing ever Happened’, taken from their 2008 classic ‘Microcastle’.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre were freakin’ groovy. The jam-packed Supernatural Amphitheatre (SUP) was grooving all as one, as Anton Newcombe and Co. played their wonderfully hypnotic hybrid of 60’s era Stones Blues and early 90s shoegaze. Check below for the evidence:

Clairy Brown and the Bangin’ Rackettes were unfortunately bumped in favour of rehydration back at the campsite. By all reports they were fantastic. Upon arriving back we were treated to a rather energetic performance of Le1f’s kitsch, sleazy, sexually-charged brand of ghetto hip-hop. It was a nice antidote to much of the current crop of commercial braggadocio we’ve had to put up with recently.

Jon Hopkins. His album 'Immunity' has featured consistently in many publications lists of 2013. For my money though, it’s his live set where it really comes together. Tracks such as 'Collider' and 'Open Eye Signal' displayed an intensity that, to be fair, would have been out of place on the album, but in this environment made perfect sense. Coming on the back of Hopkins’ set, Roland Tings, was a tad chilled for 3am in the morning. It was going to take something really special to keep the punters going, so it was off to bed for us mere mortals.

Day two, and with minimal sleep we determined that bloody marys were, quite simply, the only sensible way forward. I mean it’s practically health food. Next on the agenda was Courtney Barnett. Her soulful, haunting vocals filtered up the hill as we walked down toward the Supernatural Amphitheatre. On the basis of her performance, and recent attention (Pitchfork named her song 'Avant Gardener' in their top 100 tracks of 2013!), this is one lady who’ll be featuring a bit higher up the bill in her next appearance at Meredith.

By this stage I was fairly frayed around the edges. I was go hard or go home. Tex Perkins and his rag-tag bunch of nefarious individuals were just what the doctor ordered. Heading into the moshpit just as the Beasts of Bourbon dropped the 'Low Road', I emerged from the throng like I’d just been baptized by the devil himself. From there on the crowd were treated to such grimey classics as 'Chase The Dragon', 'Saturated', and of course 'Hard For You'. As I looked around everyone seemed to have a wicked grin transfixed on their faces . Yep, Tex still has it. The most deserving act of the day, and nary a boot to be found!

Meredith Music Festival 23

Just to clarify for those who’ve never attended a Meredith, ‘the boot’ is sacred tradition, and a prized thing to receive for the acts that grace the stage. Several years ago the boot may be unanimously lifted by the punters once, maybe twice at the entire festival. Come 2013 it seems to appear every second or third band! At the risk of sounding like the Grinch it seems like even when a lead singer decides to crowd surfs it’s: “Let’s raise the boot people!”.

I’ve often thought that some of the best music is played by the resident DJs between sets, and Meredith 23 was no different. After hearing Beastie Boys 'Sabotage' and Run D.M.C.’s ‘Tricky’ the crowd was champing at the bit for Hermitude. The duo did not disappoint, wowing the jam-packed amphitheatre with their live rap infused glitch-hop. Everyone in the Sup was a homeboy today, raising the roof, and bobbing up and down in unison.

Spiderbait at 9pm at the Supernatural Amphitheatre for many was a dream come true. Kram is a man who wears his heart on his sleeve, and tonight was certainly no different. He paid tribute to a Meredith fan who lost her life in South America earlier this year. At prime time on a Saturday night they gave the people what they wanted, deliver a greatest hits set comprised of such classics as 'Calypso', 'Buy Me A Pony', 'Black Betty', and of course, 'Old Man Sam'.

Chic absolutely blew the punters away at Golden Plains in 2012. Since then Nile Rodgers had a little hit with two French guys you may have heard of, so his popularity at this point is understandably through the roof. The band are always on point, and took the crowd through Rodgers’ musical history, not just covering Chic, but artists he produced and wrote songs for such as: Sister Sledge, Duran Duran, Inxs, and everybody’s favourite, ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie.

Tim Sweeney and Derrick May saw us into the early hours of Sunday. First up Sweeney keep things funky with his deep n’ sexy house. Occasionally he would drop a track featuring a diva vocal or a piano loop, lifting the crowd up at the right time for a Saturday evening.

By the time Detroit Techno innovator Derrick May hit the wheels of steel, the crowd were after something a bit more down n’ dirty. May was only too eager to comply, hitting us with dark, moody tech. By the time it was Melbourne house institution Andee Frost’s turn to hit the decks, we were absolutely spent. Hearing a brief flash of Pointer Sister’s Automatic back at the camp site, we ruefully looked back toward the ampitheatre, but the sandman had been calling for hours.

Unfortunately we had to finish things off fairly early on the Sunday, but not before making sure we caught local lads Baptism of Uzi who rocked the punters lucky enough to still be around, with their irresistible blend of pop smarts and psych-rock. An interesting choice for 10 in the morning, but no one there were sure as hell complaining. Oliver Tank’s saccrine-infused folky electronic threatened to put our crew to sleep, so it was at this point we regretfully hit the road.

Aunty, I have to say you never let the kids down. Your wonderfully curated program of music featuring rock, punk, funk, soul, and electronica has something for everybody. Your 'no dickheads' policy ensures we always have a good time, and leave with more friends than when we arrived. Mind if I come back and visit in March?

Meredith Music Festival 23
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