ok. Laneway Festival was a festival I’d been looking forward to for quite a while. I hadn’t been before, and after the much publicised ‘outcry’ about last year, it was great to see it moved to the nice open Footscray Community Arts Centre. The lineup itself was impressive. I remember writing a while ago that it was a music bloggers ‘wet dream’ or something along those lines…and I think I was kinda right. There were some bands I wish I saw, but I’m really glad I did see the bands that I did.
Local fellas Oh Mercy were first up, playing on the river stage. They did a nice solid set. Tracks like “Seemed Like A Good Idea” (which was introduced as something about sleeping with cousins…) and Can’t Fight It were big standouts. Nice indie pop for what was a pretty warm afternoon.
Next up, we headed over to the carpark stage to check out Portland, Oregan based Hockey. When I first started writing this blog, these guys were one of the first bands I really discovered. I’ve only just bought their album though…and that was purely due to how bloody impressive they were at Laneway. They got into it massively. Great electro pop. Work was a definite standout, as well as Song Away. They played a pretty short set, but it was sweet. Short and sweet…get it?
After Hockey, we walked up the bridge to the Moreland Street stage to check out another local band, Bridezilla. One of the dudes I went with argues that everything sounds better with ‘Zilla’ at the end of it…and well…i’m not too sure if that fits. Bridezilla are an interesting band – One vocalist/guitarist/keys player, another guitarist, a violinist, a saxophonist, and a drummer. Interesting sound, and they are all mega mega mega talented ladies…and man (the drummer is a dude, the rest are girls). I’m just not sure if it’s my kinda sound. My friend loves them, we both checked them out a few months ago supporting Decoder Ring…and I think they improved from then. Maybe it’ll take me a few listens before I get into them.
Next up, we got some food. There was such a surge for Mumford & Sons that we decided to give them a miss…although we did check out the end of their set…after they blew a speaker! They were ok. Not sure if the festival experience was the best way to see them though. Next up, it was a toss up between Sarah Blasko and The XX. I went for Sarah Blasko. I’m not that much of a fan of The XX…sound a little too depressing for me. I like Sarah Blasko. She’s got a good voice and all that…but her songs kinda sound the same. To me, they just don’t stand out. I’ve heard only good reviews about The XX though, so maybe I got it wrong on that one.
Fifth on the list was one of my favourite bands, Midnight Juggernauts. I was freakin excited when these guys were announced…and only a day before the gig! Echo & The Bunnymen lead singer Ian McCulloch missed his flight…so Juggers were announced as replacement. And fuck they were good. I’d never actually seen them live before, and as Laneway organiser dude Jerome Borazio said, they are one of the best live bands around. Absolute standout for me was a personal fave, 45 and Rising. Went off. Newy This New Technology was also a standout. Although it was too hot to go completely nuts, the whole crowd did a pretty good job of it.
Next up it was more food time…although after waiting in a line going for about 100 metres for about 20 minutes we found out that they had actually run out. But that was really the only negative about the day. After deciding icecream was a good substitute, we headed back up and caught the end of Dirty Three. These guys have been around for ages – big early nineties instrumental folk noise rock kinda band. One of those bands that I’d heard the name of but never really checked out before. We caught the end of a song called Indian Love Song, an epic massive long piece, as well as a really nice mellow track called Everything’s Fucked (real mellow.) . The guys themselves comprise of only violin, guitar, and drums. But they have the sound of about 15 people on stage. Warren Ellis creates such a heavy level of distortion on his violin that it just goes nuts.
Last set of the night we checked out was The Middle East. I personally have a massive softspot for these guys. Their track Blood came in at #2 on my best tracks of 2009 list, and they were just awesome. Great solid set, nice and chilled. Great way to end what was a pretty bloody good day. You can check out some pics from the day over at the maamf facebook page.
There were other bands I wish I did see though. Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Dappled Cities, Whitley, Philly Jays, NASA, The Very Best. This is how good the lineup was though, it was impossible to not miss a good band because another good band would be playing at the same time! So, minus the food hickup, it was definitely a great day. They always seem to have a solid lineup every year, so if you’re around late Jan next year, definitely check it out!
I’ll leave you with a few tracks. Some Oh Mercy, some Hockey, some Juggers and some Dirty Three.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now