Category Archives: Music Festivals

A Splendid Idea – Part 2

Sitting in a cubical trying to write about Splendour listening to Yeezy’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy on repeat – 4 days on reality is still irrelevant…

The short version to describe Splendour In The Grass is easy: one word – Epic. The longer version is much more complex. For starters, my present is a pathetic debacle of prospects:

1. Facing having my entire hard drive at work completely wiped out, a year and half’s worth of work gone. Kaput.
2. Sitting in a cubicle 9 to 5 (craptastic fun).
3. Back to sourdough rye salad sangas for lunch. ☹

These 3 factors would be depressing in their own right, but after coming off the back of one of the highest weekends of my year, it’s even more excruciating than climbing that hill from hell repeatedly for 4 days to get to the Splendour spread. But enough woes, these words belong to the wonder that was Splendour In The Grass 2011 and to Woodford.

The “epic” hit as soon as we landed in Brisvegas airport Thursday afternoon – otherwise known as peak our traffic. Then after a supply stock up at Woodford Safeway, we all witnessed a monstrous car crash unfold before our eyes (me in the drivers seat of the rental car shitting myself, thinking ‘lucky I waited that extra second’). Adrenaline in full swing, we put it to good use, pitching our tents in record time, shovelling down a couple Safeway Roast Chickens before swaggering up the steep hill that lead to the guest entrance of Splendour.

Hard to see what lay out before us as I allowed myself to be led in the dark by my friends who seemed to know where they were going (I had no idea). Eventually we’d hit the Jager Hunting Lodge. But alas our time there was too short as the boys began their epic fail of a mission to score some last minute Golden Drinks tickets (after trying to purchase drinks with money – denied). So it wasn’t long before the only swag we were getting on was our sleeping bags.

Friday – the first day of epicness.
Like many others, we were up, up and away early, hitting Mix Up to see starters World’s End Press impress the larger than expected morning crowd. We hung around to catch fellow Melbourne local, Tranter, do his DJ thing. “Lucky bastard gets the best slot to be able to catch all the great bands for the rest of the weekend without having to work! Let’s come back as DJs next year” one of us mused.
Hunger monkeys starting to make noise, we sought out our first taste of the fine food on offer from the plentiful stalls that scattered throughout the massive layout. I mean this place had everything –including a Mexican cantina, its own Grilled Burger bar, Pizza, Dumplings, Turkish Gozleme (my fave) and saaaa much more – the mouth waters just reminiscing. But forget the food (and there was a lot of it over the festival), Splendour was and is ALL about the music.

The first big band booming out the blocks was Jebediah. The Amphitheatre in itself was of massive proportions; a giant field of sloped hillside enclosed by giant trees and port-a-loos. Kevin Mitchell was clearly in his element as he cruised through Control, before moving straight into their classic, Leaving Home. With a couple of the boys getting chomped on by ticks (serves them right for going sans showers the dirty slobs), they decided to make a hasty retreat to camp. I stayed to watched the uber cool, The Kills. So much swagger. How does one band manage to be so cool, I ponder?

With a slight clash, I made it just in time to catch the much hyped set of James Blake; right before he banged out Limit To Your Love no less. Hard to believe the Brit lad is only 21! Some more food and boring camp crap later (mostly clambering on the warm gears as the sun set), we were all back at the Amphitheatre to watch Modest Mouse along with 20,000 others. It kind of felt like most of the hill side punters were there to retain their spot for Yeezy.

As more bodies flood the Amphitheatre, The Hives gave out a cracker of a show. It wierds me out a little how Pelle can still manage to sound Dutch despite his emphasis on the heavy Elvis 1950’s rock talk. But accents aside these boys bring the noise, playfully ‘pulling the crowds strings’ with a mash of hard and fast rock anthems before blowing us away with Tick Tick Tick BOOM and Pelle jumping into the mosh.

Following on from what could have been a closing night set, soon came the real deal, Kanye West. And surprisingly he wasn’t the diva many had doubted he’d be. Vocally on his game, Autotune aside, Yeezy appeared humbled at the sheer size of the audience that lay before him (Splendour can do that). It’s hard for anyone to meet the mass hype that surrounds someone like Kanye West but his highly entertaining and choreographed show, featuring 20 ballet dancers and an energetic Kanye running around on the all white stage, got even those sceptics commending his Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I’m still listening to that album as I write this – incredible.

The spectacular set list (of which even I was surprised at how many songs I knew),
which included his rap from E.T. had the whole hillside on their feet. “Hey Splendour In The Grass, how the f*ck y’all feelin’ make some noise” shouted Kanye. So we did; see he abducted us so he can tell us what to do, what to do, what to do.

With the rumour running rampant through the Twitter channels that Jay-Z was in town, there was definitely a few sitting on the edge of their seats waiting for him to walk out on stage, but as Monster came and went we realised it wasn’t going to happen. Though I was still hopeful he’d rear his head even after the poignant finale Lost In The World and Who Will Survive In America.

One thing you quickly come to realise about Splendour, is that it is exactly what it’s name depicts: an over-the-top, all out onslaught of music made to move the mind to madness as there is no way you can keep your feet on mother earth so best not even try.

Saturday – so much win.
It kicked off with an hour and a half wait for the shower (hygiene is important), followed by the best Gozleme of my life(!). There was a lot more wondering round the spoils of Splendour’s food selection before finding Foster The People, who gave one of the best shows of the festival. Kele kept the party going, playing a lot of Bloc Party tunes amongst his own, which then blurred into The Grates Patience Hodgson stage diving and wrapping up their Amped set with the sexy single Turn Me On.

Sitting patiently on the hill as we waited for The Mars Volta, I’ll admit I did not fully comprehend the intensity that was coming. Seeing them live for the first time, I now fully understand why fans love them so much – so much sex, swagger and screaming, I have never craved a greasy Mexican more in my life (inside festival joke). As one friend pointed out, “when the brother’s were on heroin the shows were even more intense” – how is that even possible? Stocking up on some bevies at the Gold Bar, we proceeded on to the Mix Up stage to close the day off with PNAU. Why has the river flood, still gotta die for someone so why not in a packed tent with PNAU banging out Embrace? Fuckin’ amazing.

Sunday – all good things must come to an end.
After smashing ‘em back in the Smirnoff bar till closing time on Saturday, the ultra early start to Sunday morning came with the sounds of Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall streaming over the hillside from a Coldplay sound check (purposefully played louder than normal volume). A 2 hour line up for the shower later, I was up and over at the Amphitheatre to catch a stage side viewing of Alpine. The Holidays set was next followed by a DJ set from HOOPS (aka Nina Las Vegas and co). Thus followed by yet more food before planting our feet back at Mix Up for the tres French popstress Yelle.

As I said in my tweets, I couldn’t understand much of the lyrics but it didn’t really matter cause the set was nothin’ but tunes. Yelle (Julie Budet) was quite a sight herself, tressed up in a skin tight orangey-red lycra hooded body suit – what a bod (jealous much, um, yeah)!

Sorely walking up the steep climb to the tippy top of the Amphitheatre, we sat ourselves down on our equally as sore arses and settled in for Cloud Control. Just in time, we were treated to a surprise (and hilarious) Circle Of Life video clip from their recently kidded-up bass player, Jeremy Kelshaw with a human avalanche of crazies running up and down the side of hill beside us (to the bands delight). The lightness of mind apparent, we took a little Sunday arvo snooze.

Rebooted I wandered over to join a couple thousand at the GW Mclennan tent in a sing-a-long to Bohemian Rhapsody before Noah & The Whale took the stage (all very impressed by our efforts might I add). L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N sounded out their debut Australian set (which spells out ‘Life Goes On’ I explained to a couple of trippers walking out of the tent beside before their heads exploded). Rejoining the bulk of my posse, I made it back in time to witness a chaotic final 15 minutes of Friendly Fires and their Kiss Of Life closer.

From there it was a mad dash back over to the Amphitheatre for the final EVER (sob) Australian live performance of Pulp. A very chatty Jarvis Cocker charismatically crooned and cracked jokes, comically noting the smell of wafting shit from the ill conceived line of portaloos that ran along the top of the hill. (As it turns out, Pulp and Coldplay produced more shite than Kanye West so a timely ‘dumping’ was required by poo crews during the final 60 minutes of Pulps set.)

A very sad and emotionally ending by the Common People, and Cocker had left the stage “cause we’ve got to get off for Coldplay”, he joked (sort of). Just as emotional was the incredible 90 minute set that followed.

Now I’ve been a fan since they first released Yellow, so you’ll have to forgive me for shedding a tear at finally getting to see a band I’ve loved for so long in such an amazing surrounds, in such a relax state and as the closing act of what had indeed been a splendid weekend (no less). Yes, I welled up when beams of yellow lights flooded the front stage and Yellow streamed out the speakers. Yes, a tear fell during Chris Martin’s corny encore tribute to Amy Winehouse before breaking into Fix You, (hey it was bloody sad she died ok). And yes, I was still quite teary after Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall – their closing song.

Heck, I’m a little teary now that this blog is all finished and my Splendid journey has finally come to a close, well and truly. Well, at least for 2011 anyway.

Michelle Sawyer, August 2011

A Splendid Idea – Part 1

Sitting on the precipice of popping my Splendour In The Grass cherry, I stop to ponder the possibilities of what my weekend music odyssey will look like off paper…

Having been to as many festivals as I have been to in the last 18 months, it’s hard to believe that this is the first time I’ll be venturing up North to experience, what will no doubt be, three full on day of musical enlightenment. Yanking out the tent from the garage shelves, then taking the lazy route and asking my dad to fetch the thingy that inflates the mattresses (and the inflatable mattress), I start to feel that pre packing my camping stuffs is not really the preparation I needed most.

Firstly, the enormity of the musical ear fodder on offer is exhausting. And let’s not even begin to talk about all the other temptations that lay in wait. I’ll admit that I printed off and highlighted my must sees on the line-up pdf months ago, but that list has since become a blur of orange and blue Sharpie which is indecipherable to even the cleverest of code crackers. Clashes and conundrums crowd the cluttered page, what to do, what to do…

Day 1:
The Kills Vs Wild Beasts: So the winner here will be The Kills. I’m basing this on my morbid fascination to see Mr Kate Moss (Jamie Hince) in the flesh, as musically I heart them both equally.

Glasvegas Vs Warpaint: The winners? Warpaint – won’t be many who don’t go to watch these ladies play.

Gotye Vs The Hives: It’s been a few years since I last saw The Hives play live at Lovebox in London of 2008 (spesh), but only a couple months for Goyte who I saw at GTM in April… so you see where I’m going with this.

Kanye West Vs DJ Shadow: It’s Yeezy. Nuff said – sorry Shadow.

Day 2:
Foster The People Vs Sparkadia: I’m praying I have an out-of-body experience at this point so I can be at two places at once.

Regina Spektor Vs Pnau Vs Jane’s Addiction: I’m fucked.

Day 3:
Cut Copy Vs Pulp: Well I suppose I can be greatful this is the only MAJOR clash for the Friday that breaks my hea-aaa-aaa-aaar-rrt (lil Regina Spektor joke). Clearly with the massiveness of their reformation, has to be Pulp. Hands down.

Whilst clearly some decisions have now been made, I have a feeling which ever stage is located next to the Gold Bar is going to get the bulk of my attentions. Let’s pray it’s only a short walk/stumble to each stage…

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Michelle sawyer, July 2011

Stereosonic 2010 Shows How It’s Done

Sun, sailboats, sore ankles and some WOOP WOOP!

Stereosonic is rather difficult to put into words (partly because I’m personally finding it tricky to concentrate past the stinging sensation of pain I’m still feeling in my feet courtesy of bloody mosquitoes), but let’s have a crack…

It starts with Swedish House Mafia’s One during Congorock’s set. The dancing shoes now set to go, we head over to watch Afrojack at the Carl Cox & Friends stage. Standing up front, we take a collective jump as the ticking clock of Warp kicks over. People are fist-pumping like we’re punching swarms of mosquitoes (which are suckling at my ankles, the dirty buggers). With what could be one of the best sets of the day, we are treated to the worldwide debut of Afrojack and Tiesto’s new collaboration sensation which they’d produced in Melbourne during the tour, (Afrojack literally finishing the opus the morning before his set).

The Strongbow Sailboat to the rear produces an epidemic of inflatable green and white beach balls which bounce over our heads. As the sun continued to burn above capacity crowds, the semi-clothed kids keep their shirts on as the strict ‘No Shirt’ policy is strongly enforced by security. The nearly two hour long set draws to an end, but not before Afrojack throws in Swedish House Mafia’s One. We then shuffle on over to the Outrage stage to be demolished by Casper’s demonic dubstep.

As we threw our heads and bodies forward to the bass, Casper plays a dubstep version of Swedish House Mafia’s One (didn’t see that coming). Sweating like monkeys on acid, we step out of Outrage and into the Showbag stage for a chilled set from 1928 & Sleeves. My friend Rach forks out $20 for a Smirnoff (what a sucker). We snort some Nando’s chips, suck up the pain of our sore ankles and shoot over to see Ricardo Villalobos at the Sneakerpimps stage which thankfully had a squashy carpet floor and some seats.

The day is nearly done, but not before it’s time for our major attraction, Major Lazer. Diplo does not disappoint. The man is so damn sexy that even my straight pals Pete and JD openly admit they would have a crack, after he whips off his gentlemen’s shirt and jacket before slipping into a snug singlet. Onstage their MC Skerrit Boy and police-uniformed dancer grind, spin and bounce off everything from the speakers to the set scaffolding to each other.

Major Lazer then precedes to drop their reggae remix of Swedish House Mafia’s One (I have a feeling it must have been written into everyone’s contracts). Diplo pauses the track as a now shirtless Skerrit screams out “Wait a minute… I think someone’s about to get pregnant. Does anyone want to have my baby? We need girls on the stage now!” Security is flooded with a barrage of boobs eager to shake their semi-naked bods for the Major Lazer boys. Poor security, they never stood a chance, not to mention the amusement I’m having watching them struggle to keep a multitude of pesky pink balloons away from the speakers.

A final sexually explicit shout-out from Skerrit Boy “Anyone who wants to have sex with me tonight, I’ll be at Meerkat” and Major Lazer set (and Stereosonic 2010) is sadly over; but not before stage front stragglers are treated to a surprise meet-and-greet from Diplo himself (pays to stay a big longer after the set people).

I give it a week before me and my feet are friends again.

Michelle Sawyer, December 2010

Roaring Soundwave 2011 Review

Ten good reasons why Soundwave is a winner…

In a year that has seen the dominance of the dance festival, it’s interesting to see that one that sells out (literally not figuratively) did not have one single DJ on the line-up. Hard to say what the clincher is that made Melbourne’s Soundwave so great, so rather than bang my head about it, I will digress back to the day that was to try and discover the unknown element of Soundwave’s success…

1. Youth vote:

You’ve got to add in that this was an event open to those as young as 15, who would normally be left to watch all the action via Video Hits on a Saturday morning.

2. Aged vote:

The bonus effect of the underage limit was a few of the young’uns parents tagged along, ah we mean “chaperoned”; which was really just a good excuse to relive their own youth. And why not when old faithfuls like Iron Maiden, Slayer and Gang Of Four are in the line-up.

3. Iron Maiden: Nuff said.

4. Metal fans are really just ordinary, everyday people:

There is a gross misconception that the metal community are simply a bunch of meatheads. Not so. They are actually some of the most friendly and approachable people you could ever meet. There are also numerous studies which have shown that people who listen to metal are in fact smarter than the average person, hence why the blue collar world of the CBD was dead come Friday afternoon…

5. Brilliant disabled facilities:
In front of the grandstand was a cleverly erected platform (with ramp) for wheelchair punters. One of whom managed to get himself hoisted by security onto the stage with Queens Of The Stone Age thanks to some impressive crowd-surfing, accompanied by a well-earned swig of Josh Homme’s Belvedere Vodka.

6. Well sectioned bar areas:

Was nice to have play areas just for the big kids. The numerous lines for drinker’s wrist bands, drink tokens and then actual drinks, made sure only the truly dedicated-to-their-drop types actually got drunk. Most of the crowd just stuck to regular soft drinks.

7. Down to earth bands without any delusions of grandeur:

You could have forgiven Jared Leto for wanting to walk off stage after some lone knob hurled a red Converse shoe at him – instead he coolly chose to call it like it was (“You crazy little mother f***ers”) and demand for everyone with a mohawk to get up on stage for their final song Kings And Queens. Say what you will about pretty boy Leto, but that act was rather endearing to even the most vocal of Thirty Seconds To Mars haters.

8. Melbourne just rocks!

Just about every band honestly and openly toted that the city of Melbourne and the crowd “Kicked Sydney in the balls” as Less Than Jake put it. The energy and dedication of the alternative community ensured punks, goths and metal enthusiasts alike partied hard but humbly together, as one.

9. The dancing:
Unlike with dance festivals, you don’t actually need to know how to dance to ‘dance’ to this music. The most challenging style being the skank (sort of like a hi-octane skip), a mosh which is really just throwing oneself around from side- to-side as you rebound off, up and then over your fellow mosher, and a circle. Well, this one’s fairly self-explanatory… you run around in a massive circle.

10. Simple outfits:
While the memo was certainly to ‘wear black’, where the only fashion concern was who’s mohawk was higher, or who’s hair colour was brighter. The crowd opted to go casual; most in blue jeans and a black t-shirt featuring a favourite band (for the most part of which were Iron Maiden), and who cared less as to the weather conditions or if in fact that shirt got ripped. No traditional festival fashionistas here (ok there were like five, it was more like a game of Where’s Wally to spot them in the sea of black; coincidentally Where’s Wally actually did attend Soundwave Melbourne, check the gallery at Citysearch.com.au).

Michelle Sawyer, March 2011

Reliving Field Day 2011

“Start the year here,” the posters state. Well, frankly, my year is starting with one massive hangover as I struggle to pull my sh** together from last night for Sydney’s famous festival, Field Day.

A parade of pretty young things march before me like ants to the musical spread that awaits us at the Domain. We arrive just in time to catch one of this writer’s festival must-sees, Chromeo. Spending most of the set hiding in the shade, I’m lying down trying not to be sick (like so many others). The band’s 80’s inspired anthems still manage to bring the mass of walking dead to our feet, particularly picking up tempo with Night by Night and Needy Girl.

Yuksek bangs out his beats across a sun covered Centre Stage. I forcibly pull myself upright before shuffling over to the Island Stage to meet up with some pals who are bustin’ their booty’s to a dirty A-Trak hip hop set. There’s hardly a 90s artists whose track isn’t receiving the itchy-wigga-trigga-finga treatment by the beefed-up boy from New York. Then it’s soon all over. The hectic crowd doesn’t want to let him leave, but do so only because we know he’ll be back later with his other half, Armand. Marina And The Diamonds begin to wail, so we take to our feet and head over to see Jamaica at the underrated and shaded Left Field Stage.

Stopping off briefly on the way to catch The Rapture who are revving up a crowd of scantily-clad ladies and shirtless bro’s. The French indie rockers offer up a cool change of pace from what is shaping up to be one hot and heavy summer’s day. Like a flock of seagulls drawn to a fallen chip, the crowd floods back to Centre Stage for one of the most highly anticipated acts of the day, Duck Sauce. With a brief pause to blow up their inflatable duck (see image), Armand Van Helden and A-Trak send shirts flying (well the four whole dudes that have them still on anyway).

We take a break on the grass in between the two main stages. I listen to the Klaxons and Tame Impala play musical tennis as their unmistakably mellow electric tunes flow in and out of the speakers. Back on our feet, we shake out to a screaming Sleigh Bells set before catching the end of Erol Alkan.

A few of us split up to see Plump DJs and Public Enemy, while the Justice diehards remain at Centre Stage in prep for their Field Day finale. The translation of Art Vs Science’s Parlez-Vous Francais seems somewhat pointless as most of the males in the crowd already shirtless – their “lyrically simple” songs are still very entertaining.

Out comes Justice. For the next hour-and-a-half, Field Day belongs solely to these two French boys (Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay). The capacity Centre Stage crowd fist pump and start bouncing around in unison to their anthems Genesis, D.A.N.C.E and the vocal crowd favourite We Are Your Friends. Like their encore track, it’s all over much too soon, but what a way to start 2011.

Michelle Sawyer, January 2011

Parklife 2010 Rewind

The announcement of the 2011 line-up will keep the social media airwaves rolling for weeks; the evolution of this world-class festival continuing to surprise and delight. I was privileged to be review Parklife 2010 for Ciysearch.com.au. Here’s what happened…

When you’re waiting for your tickets and Kele drives past, you know it’s going to be a good day…

The Parklife adventure kicks off with some hard and heavy action from Sinden at the Sahara main stage. The lower than average crowd for 2pm in the afternoon is no less vocal in their enthusiasm for Sinden’s spin than St Kilda fans screams for an early siren. With perfect weather above and some 30+ slapped on the skin sections, we trot over to the sunny Atoll stage and set up camp under the big tree to the stage right entrance for a little A.C Slater, catching the last legs of an Adam Ant inspired face painted Dan Black (all in white, so very English of him).

“You got to show me love” starts streaming out of the speakers and the cheery crowd gathers closer; feels like something special is going to happen. Picking up tempo A.C drops a smack of dubstep, and who else should appear at the stage entrance but Darwin Deez. No sooner than we had spotted him, he moves out amongst the crowd; mingling, bouncing and thoroughly enjoying Slater’s dubstep selection with the rest of us; literally. Kaye stop petting Darwin you’ll scare him away! Crap, where’s the camera…

As if the Electronic gods could not shine down upon us anymore we are bombarded with some refreshing, free Lipton Ice Tea. Mmm, peach. Onwards (or backwards) we go to Sahara for Soulwax’s session. Dressed head to toe in some very spiffy grey, black collared suits, the four French gentlemen of dance take politely to their posts and get cracking on some serious synth. Sensational. Wondering if the plastic seats below our feet we are dancing on will hold out, better spread out over two, safety first.

Bounding back to Atoll it’s time for Chiddy Bang (well they’re pretty much amazing). Might stop for a Lipton Ice Tea along the way seeing as they’re free. Mmm, Lemon. Catch Tenderoni at Kakadu but no time to waste, we’re off back at Sahara for Busy P. Hands down my favourite of the day. Some ingenious picture play by his graphic artist So Me. Crowd gets particularly mental when they chuck up a spontaneous shot of Busy P with some front row fans (jugs out). So Me’s quick thinking makes it tasteful, and turns it into a Busy P portrait. Very interactive set.

My gosh when did the day turn to night, oh my god it’s Missy Elliott. Out come the electronic Oompa Loompa’s and her personal DJ Freestyle Steve. Quickly realise it’s the same set as her solo on Thursday (feeling like I have spoiled it for myself) so decide to head out of the Sahara surge to wonder. Stroll my way over to the Lipton Ice Tea stand (mmm, berry flavour) and see Mark Knopfler swaying and singing with The Dandy Warhols at Kakadu to a capacity crowd. Looking over the hill on my way to The Cave the crowd is compacted all the way to the drinks tents at the top screaming “Ching Ching get paid over here”.

Realised I’ve just missed Holy Ghost!, darn it, but in time to catch Grum. So many lazers. Trod back round to Sahara and catch end of Missy Elliott in prep for 2manydjs, grab myself a Lipton Ice Tea on the way (lemon again, think I preferred the peach). Hey it’s those guys again wearing the same suits as Soulwax, oh they are half of Soulwax, nice! Really enjoying the combination of animated pictures behind them, particularly Nicolas Cage’s Madame Tussauds shot and the dancing Eiffel Tower. The French DJ contingent is killing it.

Crowd roars as Groove Armada’s live outfit takes the stage. SaintSaviour shakes her new brunette crop and oversized feather vest as the band starts the baseline to Look Me In The Eye Sister. (Apologies to dance neighbour for out of control hair flinging and arm waving). Crowd calms down a tad with I Won’t Kneel; SaintSaviour is pitch perfect. We dance our way out of the front section and off too catch the last legs of Cut Copy (the boys are back in town). Head back to top of Sahara stage hill just in time for Paper Romance. Black Light Anthology over, Groove get old school with Get Down. SaintSaviour shouts “This is our last song”, collective cries ring out across the Music Bowl Amphitheatre. It ends with Easy, very fitting.

Standing on the top of the hill looking down waiting to hear Bag Raiders in the background but nothing is playing from Atoll stage yet. Groove Armada take back to the stage, bringing a set of Trombone players and Mike Daniels (aka MAD) with them. “Enter in the dance, Plug it in and we being”. Everyone is on their feet and jumping. As Groove Armada signs off (for good), with Superstylin’. Bag Raiders’ Shooting Stars bursts like a bullet out of the Atoll stage speakers. Sahara stage done, there’s a mad dash to catch the last of the Bag Raiders live set. Dan Black joins them onstage. Chris Stracey cries out “This is our last song’ (not again), lowers his vocals and keys the first chords to Way Back Home.

Parklife 2010 is over for another year, now if only we could find our way back to the car…

Michelle Sawyer, October 2010

Groovin’ the Moo 2011: Bendigo Review

It’s more than just the fresh country air that makes the Moo one of the best festivals going.

There was not a vacancy sign flashing along the Calder Highway Hotel strip into Bendigo’s centre. Benders was packed tighter than the King Gees of a trucker.

True to form, the typical friendly/family country attitude was in full swing; from the Lions Club running the car park, to the VIP media tent filled with familiar faces with their plus one pals, (the free friend media pass greatly appreciated by us working folk). There were no warm up acts on this bill, with crowds gathering early to catch locals The Holidays, The Jezabels and Horrorshow.

Darwin Deez proved why he is voted one of the best live acts around with their fun set which featured not only their fab tracks, but some fancy-pants choreographed band dances, that could only be Deez. I will admit, I’m partial to anyone who also shares my affection for Enya’s Orinoco Flow. Just as crazy was Datarock dressed head to toe in their trademark red tracksuits – the ultimate in festival attire. The mostly chiffon shirt, shorts and onesies wearing crowd must have missed that memo.

Princess Washington showed us why she wears the crown as Australia’s best vocalist with her bang-on pitch performance. As The Go! Team wrapped up in Moolin Rouge, I moo-ved back over to The Udder Stage to catch House Of Pain. The grassy paddock of the showgrounds shook as ten thousand fans launched off their feet to Jump Around.

Gyroscope, as all good Aussie blokes do, BYO’d Betty the Blow Up Doll to the party. She proved to be one of the best crowd surfers I’ve ever seen. The Drums lead singer, Jonathan Pierce matched her with his own twists and turns as he moved on stage like the bastard child of Talking Heads and Joy Division. It was wonderful, and got my tastebuds for quirky moosic prepped and ready in time for Gotye.

The day had turned to night as Wally, aka Gotye, showed off his incredibly eclectic range of musical talents. Art Vs Science was also very vocal, attempting to make the first ever indoor/outdoor shower tent, sweaty stuff to say the least. Whilst the bulk of the crowd flocked back after the Aussie trio finished to see Birds Of Tokyo, I stayed at Moolin and enjoyed the synthetic stylings of AC Slater. The extra dance space much appreciated as my fellow hardcore Dub Step fans and I flung ourselves about.

I’d like to say I remember more of what was a fantastically fun day, but frankly after The Wombats, my brain jumped the fence and became lost in a spin of sound by UNKLE and Cut Copy.

Michelle Sawyer, May 2011.