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By Charliedavid Page and James Cerche
30th December 2013

As the sun came out on the second day of Falls Festival, so did the crowds - even more people flocked to the Lorne Festival site to stake their claim and take in the first solid day of music.

Allegedly named after James Dean's fatal car, Little Bastard are a strange folk-country-punk band from Sydney who were charged with opening the main stage at the bottom of the hill on the first full day. Their energetic multi-instrumental set was peppered with many fine moments and an admirable spirit. The seven-piece group offered some nifty arrangements featuring boxes and washboards in lieu of drums while they hammered away on double basses and ukuleles beneath some neat harmonies.

Geelong locals, The Murlocs are one of the many 60s revivalists who have been frequenting local stages over the past few years, and if you closed your eyes you could be forgiven for thinking that you were back in the garage heyday with the likes of The Troggs and Sonics. Reverb-drenched vocals and jangling riffs are anchored down by enthusiastic drumming and some killer harmonica work, their pre-lunchtime set is digested well as the majority of onlookers check them out from various positions on the slope.

One of the first great moshpits to behold at the festival occurred seconds after the Smith Street Band emerged to launch into their rousing set of alt-pub-rock anthems. The sun was hot and beat down upon the band, who were committed to putting on a killer rock show for the large crowd who quickly massed in front of them. Big guitars, big sing-alongs and one big vodka lemonade skulled from a punter's shoe helped the boys win the crowd early.

British piano balladeer and soft rock buzz boy Tom Odell hit the stage just before 3pm to a dedicated crowd of fans who were visibly chuffed at the chance to see this guy do his thing. Songs like 'A Lot Of Love' have been getting a lot of attention over the past twelve months and garnered great cheers from devotees and passers by alike. The band were also pretty tight and managed to deliver a cracking cover of The Stone's 'Honkey Tonk Women', to much applause.

The indie songstress sparkled under the warm Victorian sun, as she performed in front of an exceptional crowd.

Brooke Addamo's performance was hugely energetic and animated, and certainly won the crowd over, showing their intentions with enthusiastic rounds of applause. She also showed her appreciation to the audience - in particular, bringing attention to a guy up the front wearing nothing but a g-string.

"Thanks for sticking around," she said as she left the stage, even though the audience significantly increased during the performance - I think they were pleasantly surprised, and glad she followed her own advice.

A little later in the day, London Grammar took to the stage, in their first ever Australian performance. It was impressive to see the festival goers' support for the UK trio; crowds streamed in endlessly to pack every inch of the hill in front of the Valley Stage, with singer Hannah Reid's crystal-clear vocals drawing in the eager listeners like bees to honey.


"This is one of the biggest crowds we've ever played to," she humbly told the audience, to which they replied with rapturous applause.

London Grammar's sombre tunes swept across the festival site, at times just Reid's hypnotising voice and glorious gentle keys rising up and filling the usually serene Lorne location.

"We didn't know what the crowd was going to be like over here," Reid remarked, and went on to thank Australia's support of the young London ban since their early days. "Sing along, I'm really nervous, my voice is shaking," she then revealed, before launching into 'Wasting My Young Years'.

After their live rendition of 'Nightcall', Reid revealed, "This is probably one of the best experiences we've had as a band so far." In response, the crowd cried out the lyrics with the lead singer to 'Caught In The Middle'.

Then came something I have rarely seen before at a music festival - an encore. The audience lured the band back to the stage - possibly catching them by surprise, as they took the audience's suggestion as to which song to perform.

The decision was made to play an acoustic version of the Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Games'. The resulting rendition brought a new level of sorrow to the song, with Reid beautifully using her vocal range to breathe new life into the classic tune.

Previously referred to as “the other Knowles”, Solange brought plenty of game to her evening set, proving that the family name is in good hands and that she is every bit as formidable as her sister. With flare and accomplished show(wo)manship, Solange popped and jived through the bulk of her excellent 'True' EP to great effect, filling the amphitheatre with percussive acid-house bass and jungle house beats. She's also got a huge set of pipes on her. Definitely one to keep an eye out for as she continues to wade through the indie dance scene.

Flight Facilities ushered in the darkness whilst lighting up the stage with a collection of trending dance tracks. As with most glorified DJs, there was little to admire in the way of songwriting magic, but that didn't seem to bother the young crowd of ass-shakers who were beginning to pack out the hill. The presence of some live vocalists added some much-needed physical presence, bolstering the stoic visual of the two men dressed as pilots who were manning the decks.

With the temperature hovering around 10 degrees, the crowd were looking to MGMT to bring a bit of warmth with their summery set. However, festival-goers were given a cold shoulder, and wait for the band to perform.

Once on stage, MGMT delivered an epilepsy-inducing set, clearly designed to entice Gen Y; the videos and lighting were a mix between psychedelic colours and TV static.

The band also had audiences divided with their new album - it wasn't until they began 'Time To Pretend' that the crowd really joined in, with MGMT blending live performances with the sampled sounds they're so well known for.

Inevitably, the band presented a a solid but not the awe-inducing set you might have expected. Clearly, the crowd were either not as familiar or not too impressed with their new tunes; it would seem MGMT never quite won the audience over.

This band might be one of the most skilled groups of musicians I have ever come across in a live environment. A masterclass in funk/rap fusion, The Roots were agile and blistering in their execution of every second of their 90-minute headline set. The musicianship, both individually and as a collective, was staggering and certainly not lost on an appreciative crowd, who embraced the get-up-and-move grooves and affable onstage vibes.

The set's centrepiece was undoubtedly the sprawling medley of covers ranging through era and genres that included everything from 'Jungle Boogie' to Led Zeppelin’s 'Immigrant Song' as well as a healthy dose of soloing and instrumental freak-outs. A huge, confident performance that effectively set the bar for the rest of the festival's heavy-hitters.

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