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Posts Tagged ‘st jerome’s laneway festival’

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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After a week of perfect weather, of course Friday had to be the day that threatened to storm. In natural Queensland style it was humid as hell despite the cloud cover, but this didn’t deter any of the punters from the sold out festival.

The day was broken up over three stages, making sure there was plenty of space for the crowd to move around – the undercover car park stage, the warehouse, and then the actual laneway stage of Alexandria Street. Each stage had a solid line up throughout the day making it a hard choice where to go for each set.

Brooklyn based indie rockers Black Gold opened the festival to an extremely sparse crowd. They were relaxed and laid back, with their sleek indie funk a perfect way to the start the afternoon. Pumping through their singles, including their latest one ‘Shine’ and a few unknown tracks, the band played a solid set to the slowly growing audience.

Whitley was next to take the stage, just as the sky began to open up. Thunder and lightning didn’t discourage the band though, quickly jumping into songs from his debut album ‘Go Forth, Find Mammoth’. The self proclaimed “Not as fat as Alex Lloyd, not as annoying as Ben Lee” singer had humorous stage banter that kept the whole crowd entertained for the set. ‘Killer’ and ‘Bright White Lights’ were both highlights, and ‘Poison in our Pockets’ and ‘Head First Down’ got the crowd singing along.

Townsville band The Middle East had possibly every instrument imaginable on stage with them. For the most part they were timid and not quite engaging enough with their mellow set list, as if they’re still trying to find their place as a band. Their Triple J hit ‘Blood’ is favourable amongst the crowd though.

The amount of hype around the Mumford and Sons set was phenomenal. Beginning the set to the roar of the crowd with album opener ‘Sigh No More’, the band looked absolutely amazed at the large turnout. They powered through songs from their debut album, including ‘Awake My Soul’, ‘White Blank Page’, and ‘The Cave’ but the real crowd pleaser of course was ‘Little Lion Man’. It’s almost impossible to describe the reaction from the band as the crowd just completely lost it and overtook the chorus. The band also used this opportunity to try out some new material, which was well received. It was clear that today, Mumford and Sons could do no wrong. After the performance, many people said that it was possibly the best live show they had ever seen.

Dappled Cities took the stage wearing gold spandex body suits. Quirky, and absolutely confident, they rocked the warehouse to an unfortunately small crowd. Sadly, sound problems plagued their set but the band remained energetic and optimistic despite this.

As the sun started to set English band The xx began to play, setting a relaxed and atmospheric mood with their minimal, refined sound. They presented a nice change in pace for the day, but possibly kept it a little too mellow at times to the point where some people were losing interest.

The Very Best have a name that sets high expectations, and without a doubt lived up to these standards. World music sounds of African drums and wildlife noises mixed with techno beats filled the hall and it soon turned into a dance party. Accompanied by a few other singers, and some traditional African dancers, the set was extremely uplifting and very different to everything else that day – you couldn’t help but just let go dance along with everyone else.

It was no secret that the Florence and the Machine show would be larger than life. A full sized classical harp sat to the left of the stage, and Florence Welch’s mic stand was covered in flowers. Taking to the stage in sequins and printed tights, from the absolute beginning you couldn’t take your eyes away from Welch. Her stage presence is absolutely inspiring and of course so is her voice. ‘Kiss with a Fist’, ‘Drumming Song’ and ‘Hurricane Drunk’ were all powerful, dramatic and intense, with Welch’s voice wailing endlessly to the crowd’s delight. A beautiful jazzy rendition of ‘I’m Not Calling You a Liar’ took it down a notch, only to be brought right back with hit single ‘Dog Days Are Over’. Welch got the crowd jumping in unison while singing along to the chorus, bringing the night to an exciting end.

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January 17 – Big Day Out 2010 – Gold Coast Parklands

www.bigdayout.com/

Featuring: Muse, Powderfinger, Lily Allen, Eskimo Joe, Groove Armada, Grinspoon, The Mars Volta, Ladyhawke, Karnivool, Peaches, The Temper Trap, Kasabian, Midnight Juggernauts, Rise Against, Magic Dirt, Lisa Mitchell, The HOrrors, Bluejuice, The Decemberists, Tame Impala and more…

January 18 – The Mars Volta – Tivoli

January 19 – Bluejuice – Sands Tavern, Maroochydore

January 20 – Laura Marling – The Zoo

January 22 – Camera Obscura – The Zoo

January 25 – Them Crooked Vultures – Brisbane River Stage

January 29 – St Jerome’s Laneway Festival – St Paul’s Terrace, Fortitude Valley

www.lanewayfestival.com.au/

Featuring: Echo and the Bunnymen, Florence and the Machine, Black Lips, The XX, Sarah Blasko, Hockey, Dappled Cities, Mumford and Sons, Whitley, The Middle East, Kid Sam, The Dirty Three plus more…

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