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Posts Tagged ‘laneway’

The crowd that gathered at the Alexandria St stage for Irish indie lovelies Two Door Cinema Club easily surpassed that which was there for Beach House. Kicking things off with ‘Cigarettes in the Theatre’, the opening track from last year’s debut Tourist History, everyone instantly went off. The four piece (though officially only a three-piece, with drummer Ben Thompson only listed as a touring member) smashed their way through the album tracks, with each received as well as the next.  ‘Do You Want it All’ and ‘Come Back Home’ proved to be sing-a-long favourites, and the band showed that they can really bring the energy to their live performance. Sharp, dancing guitar riffs and slick basslines were backed by steady precise, rhythmic drumming keeping the performance at a high intensity throughout. The arrangement of ‘What You Know’ was gorgeous, starting off slowly before building up to normal speed. Vocally, lead single Alex Trimble was average, sometimes sounding breathless, but made up for it in his energy. Overall, a very tight performance from the band.

Despite receiving the warning of “whatever you do, don’t go see Ariel Pink” from my co-worker the previous week, I was still intrigued to see what all the hype was about. Dressed in a red jumpsuit, complete with sunglasses and a rubber snake draped around his neck, bizarre is really the only would that comes to mind. The first song I witness had to be started again because Pink “forgot the lyrics”. Even ignoring these factors, it was still a lacklustre performance from someone who put out such a good album last year. Needless to say, I didn’t stick around.

Opening with the immediately catchy, ‘O.N.E.’ New York’s Yeasayer took the stage. An even set of older and new material pleased the mixed crowd and had most dancing throughout. ‘Wait for the Summer’ was warmly received and there was an interesting attempt from the crowd to sing the oohs of ‘Madder Red’. The energy, charisma and all around stage presence of frontman Christ Keating could barely be matched. Naturally the highlight of the set was ‘Ambling Alp’, with hundreds of people singing along to the familiar ‘look out for yourself son’ chorus, ending the set on an extremely high note.

I rushed over to catch the end of Deerhunter’s set, obviously coming in a bit too late to become engrossed in the atmosphere. Or shoegaze was probably just a bad choice after the high energy performances of Two Door Cinema Club and Yeasayer. ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ and ‘Helicopter’ were entertaining, but I couldn’t help but think that these guys were a lot better better on record.

Oxford five piece Foals took Alexandria St stage next, opening with ‘Blue Blood’ from their latest release Total Life Forever. ‘Olympic Airways’ struck a chord with older fans, and ‘Spanish Sahara’ delighted the newer ones. However, the band’s breakthrough single ‘Cassius’ received the warmest reception of all. Though their stage presence and ability to entertain weren’t exactly spot on, their music certainly was. The band played extremely tight, and can’t really be faulted in that sense.

Cut Copy have never been a band that I’ve been particularly interested in, but figured I would give them a try to see if they redeemed themselves live. Opening with latest single ‘Need You Now’, the mood towards the back of the crowd remained fairly placid. They meandered through ‘Where I’m Going’ and ‘Corner of the Sky’ before I lose interest and left to see !!! (who were basically the reason I was at Laneway in the first place). Despite the music not sounding too bad, Cut Copy put forward an incredibly boring performance.

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) could have easily done with a bigger stage, but performing inside the Inner Sanctum definitely set the mood for a party, closing off the sounds coming from the rest of the festival. Still suffering from a mediocre sound mix, the group certainly worked well with what they had. Fronting the stage with some short shorts and killer dance moves, lead singer Nic Offer could have easily entertained the crowd on his own. Delivering just as much energy as you would expect, and then some, the band worked through their dance punk classics ‘Must be the Moon’ and ‘Heart of Hearts’ as well as newer tracks like ‘Jamie, My Intentions are Bass’. A barely recognisable cover of Prince’s ‘U Got the Look’ was a reminder of just how talented the musicians who stood in front of us were. Despite being utterly exhausted from the day’s events, I still felt a bit sad when the set came to a close and we all shuffled out of the showgrounds, feet sore but spirits high.

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It wouldn’t really be a proper summer festival without blistering heat, and the weather certainly didn’t let down St Jerome’s Laneway Festival. Walking from the bus stop to the RNA Showgrounds proved to be the first challenge of the day, leading me to seek immediate refuge under the shade of the car park stage, arriving just in time to catch Melbourne’s experimental electro-kids Rat VS Possum. The group put on a stunning live performance, complete with a floor tom for each member to break into tribal drumming interludes. “Pills” was a highlight for the uninitiated, and the collective head nods amongst the band proved that they too were happy with this performance.

Next up were PVT, opening their set with ‘Church with no Magic”. The three-piece proved themselves to be of obvious talent and as very capable musicians, showing exceptional poise and technical restraint within the performance. But being technically capable hardly means you’re a captivating performer, and this is what let PVT down today. Maybe it was the time of day, or the less than average sound inside the Inner Sanctum (where I’m told the livestock is normally kept during the EKKA….), but they just seemed a little tired of it all.

Portland’s Menomena seemed to struggle to get the right atmosphere during their set, battling the heat and wary punters. Their unique brand of experimental indie rock seemed to hit just the right spots for some, but most people were happy to just stand back and watch. ‘The Pelican’ was one of the few memorable moments.

As expected, Beach House drew one of the biggest crowds so far in the day. Opening with ‘Walk in the Park’, the mood was set. Languid, dreamy, atmospheric. Accompanied by live drums, the duo was completely captivating from the start. ‘Norway’ was well received, with the crowd singing along to the opening ‘ah ah ahs’, and ‘Ten Mile Stereo’ was a clear favourite amongst everyone. Songs from last year’s Teen Dream were checked off the list – ‘Silver Soul’, ‘Zebra’ and ‘Take Care’. ‘Used to Be’ was enhanced significantly by having a live drummer there, taking the song to a whole different level. The set flew by seamlessly, and guitar Alex Scally obviously thankful that so many had stuck out the heat and blaring sun. It would have been nicer to see the group perform later in the day, suiting the style of music a little better, but they worked well with what they had and produced a practically flawless performance.

A brief stop off to see a few tracks from The Antlers left with me a pang of regret. If it hadn’t been for the Beach House clash I would have loved to see more of them. Frontman Peter Silberman’s voice was in astonishing form, supported by warm and luscious indie riffs. The regret continued when I continued on to Warpaint, and I began to realise there was barely a dud act on this line up. High in energy, high in charisma, I could feel my inner riot grrl start to surface. Warpaint aren’t a particularly showy band, but what they do, they do damn well.

[this review is turning out to be a bit longer than expected, so I’ve broken it up into two parts to make it a bit easier to read]

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I thought it was time to put some stability into this blog. Introducing Sunday thoughts – basically me just music about a different music related topic every Sunday. I’m hoping to get some dialogue happening here though – so call comments are loved and appreciated.

Last Tuesday I went to the Pixies concert alone. I’ve been finding that I’ll do this more and more often. Going to shows alone, that is. There are a few different reasons – sometimes I’ll get a single review pass, or other times there just won’t be anyone who wants to come with me. Or I just don’t meet up with people who are going because they have seats and I have standing or something else along those lines.

I don’t really mind going alone, as such. I just hate those moments when you’re waiting. And there’s nothing to do, no one to talk to. But like I said, I don’t really mind it, I just get a little bored. So Tuesday night I went on a little bit of a Facebook and Twitter frenzy while waiting for the Pixies to take the stage.

The topic seemed to divide people. Some would only attend gigs alone, others would never dream of it. I received advice to start talking to the people around me and start making friends, and offers to go to whatever next gig with me so I wouldn’t be alone.

But truth me told, once the music started I really didn’t care. So on the way home it got me thinking of which way was better – going solo or going with some friends? I suppose it’s all circumstantial – what band, what venue, what kind of mood you’re in. The Drowned in Sound forums had some pretty good arguments pro going alone. But is the line drawn at all day festivals? Weekend festivals? Week-long festivals?

Again, I went to Laneway alone. It was a long day not talking to people. Between sets that is. But then again, several years ago I met some of my closest friends from going to gigs alone. But on the other other other hand, I once went to the Big Day Out alone, and naturally didn’t take care of myself in the heat and got quite sick. Luckily I recognised this and made my way out of the mosh, but if something had happened, no one would have been there for me.

So what does everyone think? Anyone indifferent like me? Or strongly believe in one or the other? Stories about meeting people, or even bad experiences going alone would be greatly appreciated.

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