Posts Tagged ‘splendour in the grass’

Acts Seen:

Imaginary Cities, Boy in a Box, Emma Louise, World’s End Press, Evil Eddie, The Jungle Giants, Little Scout, DZ Deathrays, Jonathan Boulet, San Cisco, Oscar and Martin, The Adults, Eagle and the Worm, Seals

I went into Big Sound Live with one goal – to only see bands I had never seen live before. The thing with this showcase is that it can be so easy to go see the acts you know will be good (Ball Park Music, Velociraptor, The Cairos, The Paper Scissors, Inland Sea etc etc) but for me that seems to kind of defeat the whole purpose. Isn’t the whole idea to help punters discover new local bands and showcase local emerging artists? I mostly succeeded, I had seen a bit of Little Scout earlier this year at Belle and Sebastian and I heard a bit of World’s End Press at Splendour in the Grass but for the most part I saw a lot of acts I had never seen before, or even heard of before.


World’s End Press – I stayed around to catch their whole set and it was well worth it. A genre I can only describe as retro electro, they’re very 80s complete with the loud shirts and bad awesome dancing. Lots of synths and grooving basslines. I compared them to a more subdued !!! (Chk Chk Chk) – well worth seeing again.

Oscar and Martin – I’m still trying to work out how I would describe these guys, because pop or RnB simply don’t cover it. They had two of the most amazing voices I’ve heard in a while and a really unique approach to their music.


While there weren’t exactly any acts that I would say that I would never see ago, I felt a little let down by Emma Louise. With the amount of hype she’s had over the last couple of months, perhaps I had just set my standards too high. Or maybe it was an off night or a bad venue to see her in or the crowd was just too loud. It could have been anything, but I wasn’t blown away and I’m struggling to even remember anything about her set.

The Venues:

I managed to make it to every venue available for the event – Electric Playground, Bakery Lane, Black Bear Lodge, Ric’s, Tempo Hotel, Woodland, The Aviary and the Zoo.

It was actually my first time to Black Bear Lodge and I was quite impressed! I never thought the atmosphere of the Troubadour (RIP) could be matched, but Black Bear Lodge could even be an improvement. Lots of seating at the back and just generally a more open feel, I’m excited to return to this venue at some point.

Electric Playground was certainly an interesting choice of venue, but it seemed to work out okay. The sound was okay, the stage set up was okay, the scantily clad girls taking drink orders on the floor was a bit out of place but overall it’s an okay small venue. I don’t see it turning into a live music venue full time but it would be interesting to have the odd show here and there.

The only venue I was disappointed in was The Aviary. Absolutely no airflow, and beyond packed both times I went. I swear it was over capacity for Jonathan Boulet judging by the amount of people crammed into the stairwell between The Aviary and Birdees.

The Verdict:

It’s one of those ‘the more acts you see, the more you’ll enjoy it’ kind of events. It’s nice to be able to move around between different venues, and it’s nice to see members of local bands wandering around seeing other acts as well. I felt like I probably enjoyed last year a little bit more, but for the most part this year was very enjoyable and it was great to be able to see some bands I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.


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SUNDAY 31/07

Bands Seen: The Holidays, Yelle, the Vaccines, The Herd, Drapht, Elbow, Friendly Fires, Kaiser Chiefs, Pulp, Coldplay

Highlight: Pulp

I’ve never been a massive Pulp fan, but this set absolutely blew me away. Jarvis Cocker is an absolutely amazing frontman. I’m still in awe that I don’t really know what to say. The band was tight and energetic and the crowd seemed to absolutely love ever moment, shouting out the lyrics to every song. It’s one of the things I love about seeing older bands – everyone seems to get just that little more enthusiastic when they play the ‘classics’.

Disappointment: My own lack of organisation…

Again, it’s not like any acts I saw were disappointing. I somehow just kind of lost any sense of organisation on Sunday. There were a lot more acts that I could have seen during the day but time just kept on getting away from me. Such is the festival life I suppose.

Headliner: Coldplay

I really couldn’t care about Coldplay. I really, really could not care less about them. I’d even go so far to say if they were clashing with Mogwai like Kayne did on the Friday night, I would have chosen Mogwai over Coldplay. But, similarly I did enjoy the whole spectacle of seeing such a well known band put on a mind playing stage performance (more fireworks, confetti, lasters etc) and play a whole bunch of songs that I already knew. They’re a tight band and Chris Martin is pretty entertaining. The music still isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I certainly enjoyed seeing them live more so than I ever have enjoyed listening to them recorded.

And that wrapped up a pretty amazing Splendour in the Grass for me. Great music and great times, shared with great friends.

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Bands seen: Tim & Jean, Dananananakroyd, Gareth Liddiard, Foster the People, Architecture inHelsinki, Thievery Corporation, Regina Spektor, Jane’s Addiction

Highlight of the day: Architecture in Helsinki

To be honest Jane’s Addiction was absolutely the highlight of my day, but headliners aside it was easily Architecture inHelsinki. I’ve always been a casual AIH listener and this was the first time I’d seen them live. This performance has turned me into a full blown fan. Catchy and energetic, they’re just the right mix of cheesy and fun while maintaining musical credibility.

Disappointment of the day: Regina Spektor

Not her performance, not in the slightest. Well, possibly. It’s hard to tell. The GW Mclennan tent was packed out. And due to some conflicting sound issues with the Mix Up Stage, being outside of the actual tent meant that you couldn’t really hear anything. I heard half of ‘On the Radio’ before giving up and going to scope out a good place for Jane’s Addiction. Disappointing, but these kind of things happen when you try to see acts with overlapping time slots.

Headliner: Jane’s Addiction

Jane’s have been one of my favourite bands for many, many years. Last time I saw them was at Big Day Out ’03 and I was a little concerned that 14 year old Bianca was just seeing them through rose coloured glasses. They didn’t fail to impress 23 year old Bianca at all though. They’re tight as ever, and while Perry Farrell’s voice isn’t quite what it used to be, they’ve tweaked some of the songs a bit to compensate (mainly Ritual material like ‘Stop’ and ‘Been Caught Stealing’). ‘Jane Says’ as an encore is always a special moment. Was just a bit disappointing to see that barely any people turned up for the set – I’d say the numbers could have matched British Sea Powers’ opening slot on Friday morning.

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Before I launch into my official Splendour in the Grass run down, I’d like to point out a pretty amazing act I saw on Thursday evening – Mr Percival. Those who have previously been to Splendour or the Woodford Folk Festival have most likely come across him before, but this was my first time seeing him after friends had hyped him up so much. Simply speaking, he’s a vocal artist that builds songs on recorded loops but he’s honestly one of the most talented performers I’ve seen. Engaging and totally entertaining, I really wish I had also caught his vocal workshops each morning.

FRIDAY – 29/07

Bands seen: British Sea Power, Wild Beasts, The Kills, James Blake, Warpaint, Modest Mouse, The Hives, Kanye West

Highlight of the day: The Hives.

I’ve never heard of the Hives putting on a disappointing show. Ever. The Swedish five-piece put on a magnificent show in the Ampitheatre, going through a great deal of their singles and also some new material from their upcoming album. Frontman Howlin’ Pelle was on absolute fire that night, crowd interaction and faux-arrogance at an all time high.

Disappointment of the day: Timetable Clashes!!!

None of the acts I saw were disappointing in the slightest. In fact I would have loved to see more of pretty much all of them. The biggest disappointment for me was missing out on Mogwai to see Kanye West. I’m a much bigger Mogwai fan, but I know there would have been too much wondering and too much regret if I didn’t witness the spectacle that was Kanye West. Fingers crossed for Mogwai coming back at some point soon…

Headliner: Kanye West

The production of Kanye’s show was something else. The fireworks, the man himself rising on a platform above the crowd in a cloud of smoke, the dancers and the choreography. It was all pretty interesting to watch, especially as someone who doesn’t really go to stadium sized shows. The actual performance was good enough. I can’t say I was blown away, but Kanye certainly has some good tunes and does a fantastic job at holding the whole stage to himself. Material from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy were the winners from the set, but seeing ‘Gold Digger’ in a live context was pretty amazing.

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Over the past couple of year, it has been notoriously difficult to get a ticket to the Splendour in the Grass Festival. This year, to accommodate for larger crowds (and possibly a redevelopment of the Byron Bay site if I remember correctly?) the festival is being moved to Woodford, just outside of Brisbane. Bigger space not only means more room for punters, but more room for more acts. And ohmygod this year’s lineup is nothing short of phenomenal.

The Pixies
The Strokes
Mumford and Sons
The Temper Trap
Band of Horses
Passion Pit
Florence and the Machine
Laura Marling
Grizzly Bear
Band of Skulls
Surfer bloos
Alberta Cross
Miike Snow
The Drums
Two Door Cinema Club
LCD Sound System
Broken Social Scene
Frightened Rabbit
Kate Nash
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Scissor Sisters
The Ting Tings
Hot Chip
Ben Harper and the Relentless 7
We Are Scientists
Richard Ashcroft and the United Nations of Sound
Fat Freddy’s Drop
School fo Seven Bells
The Magic Numbers
Angus and Julia Stone
Empire of the Sun
The Vines
Tame Impala
Paul Kelly
Operator Please
Lisa Mitchell
Midnight Juggernauts
Little Red
Space Invadas
British India
Oh Mercy
The Middle East
Dan SUltan
Cloud Control
Miami Horror
Clare Bowditch
Philadelphia Grand Jury
John Steel Singers
Violent Soho
The Mess Hall
Jonathan Boulet
Boy and Bear
Gypsy and the Cat
Last Dinosaurs
Ernest Ellis
Tim and Jean
Plus more apparently?!?! The festival is going to be spread over three days this year, starting Friday July 30 and ending Sunday August 1. Tickets will go on sale May 6 – pretty sure you’re going to have to get in quick for this one.

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