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Monday, 8 February 2016 |
Adelaide Laneway Festival 2016
at Harts Mill
So here we are, Laneway 2016. The chicken schnitzels of festivals. Warm, familiar, delicious and even when you feel sick of it 3/4 of the way through you still know you’re going to finish it off and love it.
With such a diverse lineup it was no surprise to see such an eclectic mix of fans ranging from the Stereosonic crowd to stoners to hipsters to metal heads. There was even a guy wearing a Chumbawumba t-shirt - retro! Either way Laneway is an amazing place to see the mix of music lovers in their natural habitat.
First band I managed to see was Majical Cloudz a two piece all the way from Canada. Their sound is reminiscent of The Editors meets Massive Attack fronted by a Twin Peaks extra. To say it was captivating is an understatement. The stage is barren except for Matthew Otto on synths and Devon Welsh on vocals. There was a strange awkwardness about Welsh that drew the crowd in. His awkward banter about ’stage fires’ and ‘not wanting to dance to our music’ between songs was bookended by a confident front man who remained still throughout his set, but was so earnest in his performance that you couldn’t look away. There were no lights, no backdrops, no effects. Just a guy singing his heart out and it was awesome. At one point they said ‘we don’t usually play in sunlight’ as if straight of Twilight, but alas they did a brilliant job.
Next up shoe gazers DIIV meandered on the stage looking a tad confused albeit stoned. Singer, Zachary Cole in a festive Christmas jumper, guitarist Andrew Bailey in a womans red dress hat, fluro guitar in hand. Interestingly enough, a girl right in front of the stage was rocking the same hat. Awkward. Slowly but surely the hat came off and ended in her bag a couple of songs in - very wise love. Very wise.
Unfortunately for them they faced a few issues with sound in their opening number. A muddy mix and their well known reverb drenched sound made it hard to hear properly. However, by the third song in they had their groove, and the crowd was loving it. Singer Zachary Cole kept the banter to a minimum and let the songs speak for themselves. They played a large mix of old and new ones from the 'Is The is Are' album. The new tracks showed a more mature side, whilst still embracing the shoe gaze driving sound of their past hits. The crowd reaction shows how well these new tracks are going to be received. And as the set went on they loved it more and more, especially the guy who lit up a joint with 2 songs left. No one was surprised, just fascinated why it took him so long.
I was really pumped to see The Internet as their latest album is on high rotation for me and boy did they deliver. If you asked anyone there what the highlight was The Internet would be on that list. The smooth electro soul they crushed out was captivating and during their whole set I barely saw anyone leave to go to the bar. Actually the crowd just kept building and building as the set continued. The Internet came out oozing more soul then James Brown in slug form and kicked more ass then a Honey Badger that knows karate. Syd the Kid is incredible live and just had the audience int he palm of her hand. When Girl kicked in the crowd got fruity, and it was nice to see people really feeling the vibe.
Next up was ice cool Thundercat (aka Stephen Bruner). Thundercat rocked his six string bass like a man possessed. With his keyboard player and drummer belting out licks faster then you could say ‘$9 for a beer! Are you kidding me?’ He and his band came out in all black (I was waiting for the African inspired get-up), and smashed the living daylights out of their set. The drummer, Justin Brown was playing so hard the drum riser wheels began to give and I was assuming that by the last song they would of completely broken off and he would be rolling down Port Road oblivious to the Bad Boys 2 style destruction he was making down the freeway as he did fill after fill. Their set was electric and they left the best to last belting out Them Changes as their closing number and it was incredible. All I heard from people walking out at the end was damn that was wicked…. I think I see Thundercat commanding decent stages next time around.
The Smith Street Band were the perfect act to pull in the after work crowd. They belted out a fully charged set that showed everyone why they belonged on that stage. Musically they were incredible. The tones they created built a wall of sound that was by far the largest of the day. It was a sight and sound to behold. The crowd gravitated towards the stage and the band couldn’t get enough, genuinely seeming surprised at the response “This is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life”, “I can’t believe how many of you there are” and “This is just incredible!” at the end of every song. Hell one time he just looked at the crowd singing his lyrics, shook his head and went ‘Fuck’. The only other person that was more awestruck during that set was the punter who threw his friends thong on the roof of the main stage. He literally went off his nut for 3 songs carrying on about how incredible his throw was. And fair enough. No one could deny it wasn’t incredible. Smith Street Band 2016 rocking your face off and also allowing people to achieve their thong throwing dreams.
Violent Soho is like strapping your dog with machine guns. Sure it’s your dog and you know you get along well but still you’re never going to feel completely relaxed around it again. The crowd was packed for their set. Wall to wall people spanning both stages and in the midst of this a circle pit that looked like a black hole that even light couldn't escape from. Violent Soho pulled out a special kind of set. Relaxed but with a hidden ferocity that just filled the crowd with energy. Half way through the set someone came out of the crowd covered in blood like he was John McClane from Die Hard. 10 minutes later 4 people emerged with their shirts torn to bits and Fuck Yeah hadn’t even been played by then. Being a 420 friendly band, who like to make it known throughout their set, they felt at ease in a state as green as ours.
Then came Battles. I was looking forward to this one. Boy was I frothing for this one. What do they look like? I’m gonna say their vibe is “account-chic”, which is irrelevant because damn they sounded incredible. The drums were huge, guitars wailing and the synth bass you could feel in your chest trying to shiv your lungs. They hit a snag 3 songs in where there seemed to be a sound issue that caused the drummer to have a bit of a temper tantrum. Ease up buddy. But after the screaming and hitting mics he cooled his jets, and ended up being one of the best sets of the day.
Source: Fan footage via YouTube
Grimes in her ethereal cyber punk, manga character meets will chop your genitals off if you look at her wrong aura saunters on stage. Grimes is an interesting live act. She’s an incredible producer, writer and has worked hard on her performance over the last 4 years but she’s just one person on stage which has always seemed a bit empty given her appearance. Thankfully Grimes knows this weakness and brought out her full set up. Lights flashing, dancers gyrating, drum pads belting out subs and more glow sticks then you could poke an early 2000’s nightclub at. If I saw any abrupt face movements or chewing of gums in the crowd, I have no idea what it is, I’m a very naive person. Grimes sure put on a show that was all attitude and umph nailing out hit after hit. There were a few lulls in the set but overall the crowd were all in from start to finish. Finishing her set with Genesis was a perfect plan as the crowd went off like a frog in a sock.
Chvrches. Ah how fitting in the City of Churches. The crowd was packed to the entry gate and as soon as Chvrches arrived on stage they weren't going anywhere. They apologised for 2014’s cancellation (humble), talked about our serial killers (fuck) mentioned the Botanic Gardens (smooth). These kids did their homework. Not only was their Adelaide general knowledge up to scratch so was their playing. Dressed in black like 3 electro Johnny Cash clones you could tell they were seasoned vets of the festival circuit. Lauren commanded the stage while the band belted out sounds that almost melted the subs. They played hits old and new and had people dancing from start to finish. They definitely brought the party.
Last act I was able to see of the night was Vince Staples. He wasn’t hard to find as you just had to follow the dozen or so cops following their noses …(there was a lot of pot in that crowd). Vince knew how to work the audience and get them involved in his show. He was eating up the stage like John Goodman at a bake-off. During every track he was getting the crowd to wave there hands, yell out or just clap (props for crowd participation) and he was so charismatic everyone was doing it to the back row. I swear I even saw one of police itching to join in, but they could have been the beer talking. Vince worked the audience well and even managed to bring up equality a fair bit in between songs. I hope the frazzled kids got to eat up his words a bit as it was quite poignant. All in all, a great set to finish off my Laneway experience.
For our Laneway photo gallery from Craftypics go to:
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