Young & Restless @ Homebake 2006 – photo by Matt Booy
Dom Alessio: Despite living in Sydney for 23 years and being an avid supporter of Australian music, 2006 marked the first year that I actually attended Homebake. Thanks to Who The Hell cohort Jerry, I got my hands on a VIP pass to the event, and on Friday I managed to get a public ticket for my girlfriend Megan.
We arrived at 11.15am – big mistake, because with the gates having only opened at 11am, it meant that the queue to get in stretched around half of The Domain (a map of The Domain can be found here). With the first act (Mountains In The Sky) coming on at 11.20am, there was no way 20 000 people could have got through the gates in 20 minutes. 11am is really an idiotic time to open the gates (whoever decided on that should be sacked), so it was around an hour before we got through the gates, meaning I missed Young & Restless who I was extremely keen to see. (With a VIP pass I could have walked straight in, but I waited with my girlfiend – aren’t I nice?) Then the rain came… so while waiting in line, we got a tad wet! If the gates had been opened even half an hour earlier, a lot of the hassle could have been saved.
Jerry Soer: I agree with Dom on the gate opening time. At the Young & Restless show there were just as many people watching the show from the front as the people queuing in line by the side. Would have been nice to have these people in front of the stage.
DA: When we finally got through the gates at around 12.20am we made a bee-line for the Hopetoun Stage to catch The Basics. A relatively small crowd was on hand to watch the Melbourne group who have become favourites here at this blog. Despite missing my fave tracks ‘Rattle My Chain’ and ‘Just Hold On’, The Basics were still extremely entertaining with their 60s-pop influenced tunes and their mixture of originals and covers. Combined with light, off-the-cuff on-stage banter, it was an excellent way to start the day.
JS: I too missed the those two songs after coming from the other side of the domain from the Dome stage. But I bumped into Sophie at the back of the tent and we went off to see Macromantics belt out a few songs, ending her set yet again with the very catchy ‘Scorch’. Always an amusing sight to see at Homebake are the fence jumpers being chased around by security guard. This one was particularly playful when he ran around the crowd Big Top tent and had security guards chase him around and it all ended with a crash tackle. Soph and I headed back to the Dome stage where we caught a few songs by Melbourne’s up and coming rockers British India who had quite a few fans here in Sydney.
DA: With a couple of hours to kill before the next act we wanted to see was on, Megan and I ventured round the grounds, checking out all the stalls and grabbing some very nice Thai food for lunch. By the time 2.20pm rolled around, we made our way to the Main Stage to see Little Birdy put on a rather uninspiring set. They were hindered by the guitarist’s technical problems, which meant that we didn’t hear any guitar for about half of the set (and the guitarist looked pissed off). But aside from exuberant frontwoman Katy Steele (who’s both cute and possesses an amazing voice), the rest of the band didn’t put on much of a show, and they couldn’t match Katy’s energy or musical ability. Their songs are catchy but lack interest and while mildly entertaining, they didn’t blow me away.
While the crowd stampeeded towards the stage when NZ rapper Scribe came on, Megan and I ducked off to kill some time. It wasn’t long before the heavens opened up and we ran for cover, finding solace in the Cinema Tent, where we bore witness to some rather unusual short films. The rain cleared just in time for us to watch The Butterfly Effect, who put on one of the best sets of the day in my opinion. Despite the fact that their latest record Imago has the band focusing more on the melodic elements of their music, they definitely played a set befitting of a large-scale outdoor event, selecting the heavier tracks from their back catalogue, much to the delight of the large audience. The Brisbane four-piece didn’t put a foot wrong – they were full of energy and worked the stage briliiantly, and vocalist Clint Boge commanded attention, rarely hitting a wrong note.
We then rushed to the Big Top to witness the most disappointing event of the day, and the most brilliant set of the day, courtesy of Gotye. With Homebake 2006 being Gotye’s first Sydney show, there was a massive crowd on hand to witness the set. But, as I found out later, a wrong stage setup meant that the band had to rearrange everything, including microphones and foldbacks, therefore causing them to run 15 minutes late; time which was rather unfairly deducted from their overall set time (after all, there was only a DJ set following the band). But once Wally de Backer (the man behind Gotye) took the stage, he launched into a brilliant six-song set. On stage with VJ Jacob Simkin (who directed the filmclip for the Gotye track ‘Out Here In The Cold’), we were treated to a stunning audio-visual set. The music is nothing short of amazing, and the crowd loved every minute of it. His performance of ‘Hearts A Mess’, complete with a string section, was spine-tingling, with the huge audience singing along with the chorus and it was evident Wally was loving it as well. He was later joined by members of his other group The Basics, as well as backing vocalists, to perform a stunning rendition of ‘Learnalilgivinanlovin’. It was so disappointing to have this set run so short, but even then it was by far the most amazing set of the day.
JS: Soph and I arrived late at the Gotye stage and were backstage when we saw all the commotion of rearranging the set from the sidelines. No one was particularly too happy there, and the biggest disappointment from it all was not having the string quartet miked. ‘Hearts A Mess’ missed out the most from this, last week hearing the song played as how it should have been was just amazing. Still, great performance from Gotye.
We then went off to the Hopetoun stage to see a set by punksters Die!Die!Die! who unfortunately lost power to the stage a mere half a song into the set. It was a good 20 minutes before they came back on. Talk was the generators ran out of fuel. They came back and I saw them played a few songs of their new EP.
DA: By now the heavens had really opened and it was pouring down. I ducked inside the VIP area and managed to grab Megan a VIP pass as well, which was a godsend because it meant we both had somewhere to hide from the rain – however by this time we were completely drenched. We hung around here for a few hours, having a couple of drinks and chatting to Kris, Dave and Wally from Gotye/The Basics and VJ Jacob Simkin. It was during this time that I found out that the stage crew hadn’t followed the stage plan Wally had drawn out for them, meaning that the stage was incorrectly set up, which in turn meant Wally had to rearrange a lot of the equipment, causing the Gotye set to run late.
JS: I was back at the Dome stage to see Augie March whom I’ve never had the chance to experience live. I really didn’t know most of the songs and just held on to the set to hear my and crowd favourite ‘One Crowded Hour’. A truly beautiful song.
DA: When the rain cleared, Megan and I ventured out to grab some dinner and watch the end of Adelaide hip-hop act Hilltop Hoods and catch an excellent set from Eskimo Joe. Gracing the Main Stage, Eskimo Joe put on an extremely entertaining set, playing songs from their last two released Black Fingernails, Red Wine and A Song Is A City. While the set seemed to wane in the middle, they did recover well and finished with two of their biggest songs, the infectious ‘Sarah’ and ‘From The Sea’. I had been told that Eskimo Joe struggle on larger stages, but it seems that the band is finally growing into their role as one of Ausrtalia’s biggest musical acts.
Silverchair @ Homebake 2006 – photo by Matt Booy
But the set that everyone wanted to see was Silverchair. It’s been a couple of years since Silverchair has played a large-scale event, as Daniel Johns had been performing with his other band The Dissociatives. Joined on stage by Dissociatives cohort Paul Mac, as well as a brass section, Silverchair demonstrated why they were the headlining act of Homebake, owning the stage with their unique brand of rock. Opening with the brilliant ‘Emotion Sickness’, the band played songs mainly from their last two records Diorama and Neon Ballroom, but also treated the audience to a number of songs from their upcoming album Young Modern. Having started their career as teenagers playing music akin to the early-90s grunge movement, Young Modern demonstrates Daniel Johns’ penchant for quirky and intelligent pop tunes. The new songs seem to have been influenced from Daniel’s stint with The Dissociatives, and personal fave out of the newies was ‘Straight Lines’. The crowd definitely gave the band a mixed reaction the Young Modern tunes, and I think most of the crowd wanted to hear Silverchair’s heavier tunes. The band also rehashed their cover of Midnight Oil’s ‘Don’t Wanna Be The One’ which they performed at this year’s ARIA Awards.
Now for a cheesy summary paragraph: It was definitely an excellent day. Most of the bands I saw played really well, and for me the best two acts of the day were The Butterfly Effect and Gotye. The rain did sour the day somewhat because it restricted movement around the site, but it’s a small price to pay to witness some amazing Aussie music.