Melbourne’s Laneway Festival in words


Let’s clear something up first, I’m gonna talk about international bands as I didn’t catch much of the Oz contingent. In case you have been living under a rock and didn’t notice, Australia’s weather has been off the charts lately. The night before Melbourne’s super well organised Laneway Festival it totally pissed down and washed out some gear on the river stage. Rat vs Possum was a casuality as staff got things under control. I chose to sleep in and spend my mid morning eating sweet ass scrambled eggs with carmelised onion down at A Minor place.I arrived quite dry and feeling pretty content not to have to blow $10 on dahl for lunch.

First up I caught Bear In Heaven down at the cart park stage and they sounded real nice from my lazily distant posi. Driving drums and atmospheric pysch pop from Brooklyn that creeps on you even in the middle of the day at a festival. I head up to the Mooreland stage before they finish to right some wrongs in my life. I openly admit that sometimes I do silly things, I once signed for White Stripes tickets at the post office then walked outside and re posted the blank envelope. Last week I sat around quite bored on a Tuesday night whilst my Beach House ticket lay on my coffee table in full view as I completely forget to go.

I was intent on making up for it by arriving early to their set. Warm summer breeze is a wanky way to describe Beach House but that’s how they sound and oh so dreamy. Playing with a drummer for a nice thumping layer over a recorded sample and Alex Scally seated on guitar, creating a wall of riffs. Some rough metal type exclaimed to his bro after the set that it was pretty boring as ‘she just stood their with her hair over her face’. She being Victoria Legrand, who has amazing hair and a voice that would crush an army of invading Spartans. It’s funny to me that folks expect a ‘show’ that requires some crazy onstage antics. Sure Les Savy Fav are fun to watch and lead singer Tim harrington is a riot but his band are kinda boring and I wouldn’t want to listen to them on a road trip, over dinner or making sweet love to myself. Beach House fit out all these occasions and more, their live show brings that atmosphere to life and again, considering it’s the afternoon at a festival, they cast an intoxicating spell over the mish mash crowd.

Moreland street was full of restless punters anticipating the arrival of Two Door Cinema Club who were backstage smashing beers, whilst we all waited for their gear to turn up on a delayed truck. I wish I could say it was worth the wait but it felt like a ‘by the numbers’ set and sure they’re easy to watch but I’ve seen this kind of pop rock done to death. I head down to the carpack to see the wacky Les Savy Fav show and catch up with Violent Soho in the crowd, who played a solid set but comment that Victorians are pussies, lead singer Luke Boerdom apparently told em so. He laughs as it actually worked in sparking some fire into an otherwise dull crowd. Gotta respect a band that doesn’t give a fuck as much as those doods. Violent Soho’s drummer Mikey Richards had a sing on stage with Harrington during a cover of Dead Kennedy’s California Uber Alles and then Harrington wrapped the Les Savy Fav set by climbing a fence to swim in the Maribyrnong River – guess he’ll be crapping through a needle for a few days.

One of my fav international records of 2010 belonged to the Oxford lad’s Foals. Needless to say there was a big turn out for these guys and it was a hot show. The electricity that lead singer Yannis Philippakis brings to the stage is something special. It’s by no means an over the top rock show but it is not unlike the energy The Temper Trap pump out and why they are so loved the world over. Playing mostly tracks from last year’s ‘Total Life Forever’ with some of the more well known JJJ hits, it’s the slightly reworked renditions that really sparkle. I caught these guys at the HiFi mid last year and this festival show is just as potent. Hopefully we’ll see them return again with new material having being laid down on this trip.

The crowd seemed to take on a slightly different vibe during the change over of stage equpiment. All of a sudden I felt surrounded by a more bogan flavor with a dash of chemical charged skank. Oh right, it was time for Cut Copy to bring out the disco. These boys have the electro pop set so finessed that no one can help but fall in love with the heart pounding synth waves that arrive in tracks like ‘Hearts on Fire’ and ‘Lights and Music’. For me though, it’s the new material that floods the street and finally sounds like it was meant to. has featured two singles ‘Take Me Over’ and ‘Where I’m Going’ which have had mixed reactions. Personally I agree with editor Matt Hickey, as long as there are plenty of ‘ooos’, it’ll sound like Cut Copy. Change is a good and brave thing and Zonoscope is full of 70’s Bowie and very little guitar, when played live and loud, it is hot damn sexy. Dan Whitford’s voice is as perfect as the recording and he takes on a kind of preacher man presence that is kinda dorky but you find yourself believing. As he mentions in the making of Zonoscope clip, this is music to lose yourself in.


2 Responses

  1. dz

    February 14, 2011 4:39 pm

    “As he mentions in the making of Zonoscope clip, this is music to loose yourself in”

    Gods, I’m not sure how ones looses themselves in music, but I’m not sure I want to find out.

  2. David Payne

    February 14, 2011 5:18 pm

    I apologise for the confusion ‘dz’. It was actually a typo and I meant to say lose, not loose. Thanks for generously taking the time to comment and rest assure you won’t have to loose yourself if you see them play.



(*) Required, Your email will not be published