With pregnant clouds looming overhead, the Melbourne leg of the 2011 Laneway Festival got underway with what promised to be an amazing day of music, weather permitting.
Unfortunately, the day did not start off on a good note, with Rat VS Possum being forced to cancel, stating via their Twitter account that the stage was flooded and not going to be ready for their set. One the plus side though, this did mean I was able to catch Violent Soho who, despite a lack of crowd participation from the “Melbourne pussies” watching the show, managed to put on a tight, rocking set.
Contrasting the in-your-face attitude of VS, PVT worked the crowd in their unique post- electro-whatever way, playing straight after VS on the same stage. To me this was a great way to set the mood for the rest of the day – their tightly-composed instrumentals really setting the scene for what is a straight-up music lovers’ music festival.
From there I wandered along the Maribyrnong River to the beautifully set up, now un-flooded River stage to catch Cloud Control with a surprisingly large crowd. It did not take long to realise why the crowd was so big for these kids from the Blue Mountains as they put on a very solid set. The version of ‘Gold Cannery’ they played was one of the standout moments of the day as half way through it dropped into ‘Pepper’ by Butt-hole Surfers. This moment may have been lost on the younger members of the crowd who may not be aware of the genius that is that song. But I am not an agist, so I cannot speak on their behalf.
Unfortunately after Cloud Control finished there was a mass exodus to go watch Beach House, which I attempted to be a part of until I lost my mate who poorly timed his beer run and missed any chance of being anywhere worthwhile.
Luckily, MU’s other roving reporter Joe was there to see the two babes from Baltimore deliver a tight set composed primarily of tracks from their latest critically-acclaimed album, ‘Teen Dream’. A starry eyed Joe had this to say after the show “some bands just make you stop, think, and love where you are at that moment, seeing them perform. Beach House are one such band.”
I hung around the River stage to watch the chilled folky sounds of all girl band Warpaint. Often when one watches a band live, there is usually a standout member who holds the group together and captures the attention of the audience. In the case of Warpaint it was their charismatic drummer Stella Mozgawa. Good Lord that woman can bash out a decent beat, complete with a couple of well placed solos that never go amiss.
At this time Laneway threw out another curve ball with the poorly announced swapping of the set times between Blond Redhead and Holy Fuck. I am glad I found out about this prior to it happened thanks to my friend Thalia who was working as a volunteer. If I had have missed Holy Fuck, I would have been very annoyed. Thankfully I did catch them and they did, unsurprisingly, put on an amazing show. You gotta love it when a band member tries to play a three- octave keyboard that doesn’t work, so he just throws it away as another member hands him another one from what seems like a pile of junk that makes up the instruments Holy Fuck use. The band flippin’ rocked it.
The thing about this festival is the line up was so good and the event sooo enjoyable, I didn’t really have time to relax, and straight after Holy Fuck I was at Yeasayer with Joe.
After much consideration, I thought that I would let Joe report on Yeasayer.
Thanks Chris. Yes, Yeasayer were solid, nothing more, nothing less. These guys, in particular their latest album ‘Odd Blood’, are very, very, fun, and I had high hopes for a rollicking start to the night, and looked forward to having Chris Keating’s voice ringing in my ear for days. They might not have lived up to that potential, and they weren’t the day’s highlight, but their songs are pretty damn hard not to dance to. ‘O.N.E.’ and of course ‘Ampling Amp’ had the hipsters working their feet overtime.
Thank you Joe. So, on request of my friend Jase ‘The Boss’, I did wander back down to the Car Park Stage and watch Les Savy Fav, and GOSH I’m glad I did. I had heard that front man Tim Harrington did not disappoint, strutting around the stage in aqua jeans and his huge frame, for all too view. At one stage he took an opportunity during a song to jump the fence and dive into the Maribyrnong… much to the amazement of the crowd. I know for a fact that many punters were most likely thinking as I was, that he was pretty fucking bold to dive into the open sewerage drain that is that river. But good on him, I hope even though he drank the water from his own shoe he will still able to continue on with the laneway tour.
At this point, Joe had decided to leave me and quickly duck out to catch Deerhunter. Take it away Joe.
Thanks again Chris. Deerhunter played their set on the River Stage – their at once soothing and not-so-soothing rock ‘n roll was perfectly accompanied by the sunset and the beautiful setting, industrial grounds across the river and all. They played a nice set, closing off with a divisive twenty-minute jam session, which for many minds was far too indulgent. I for one am willing to let it slide, as long as they continue to write songs like ‘Helicopte’r and ‘Desire Lines’.
Nice one Joe. Back to me (Chris). The ongoing problem with any decent festival is choosing which headliner to watch, and with stiff compition between Cut Copy, Gotye and !!!, it was a very tough call. !!! smashed their set up as you would expect, to the point where front man Nic Offer’s camp prancing caused him to split his incredibly tight short denim shorts anhhd show the crowd his own ‘!’.
Meanwhile, Joe was up at the Moreland St stage catching Cut Copy and he had this to say about them.
Chris you should have come with me! Cut Copy proved why they receive so many write ups from so many sources. From the first song, they had the sizeable, suitably-inebriated crowd at their fingertips, punctuating their set with classics such as ‘Hearts on Fire’ and ‘Autobahn Music Box’, as well as great newbies like ‘Where I’m Going’ and ‘Need You Now’. Finishing with an absolutely euphoric rendition of ‘Out There on the Ice’, they certainly topped your main author Chris and many others’ nights off with a massive high.
Agree to disagree Joe? Anyway, all in all, it was an exhaustingly good day had indeed, and it is clear that the organisers of the festival that they are doing everything to make up for the absolute disaster of the event two years ago. There seemed to be a better selection of food, with less waiting times for a meal, and drinks were easier to come by, and a free Red Bull upon entry. Awesome!
Oh, and the pregnant clouds never gave birth. Not once! It was great.
— Contributed by Chris H and Joe Co.