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review, Splendour In The Grass 2014, Splendour, In, The, Grass, 2014, cinema, cinema reviews, music, artist



By Charlie David Page
27th July 2014

The weather gods were a little less kind on the second day of Splendour in the Grass 2014. Nonetheless, that didn't stop the music, nor the punters coming out in force to enjoy it.

THE 1975
Amidst a cloud of smoke and lights, this English indie rock group appear on stage, nearly 30 minutes late. "It's about time!" cries lead singer Matthew Healy, before the band launch into 'The City', Matthew's unkempt yet cool hair constantly needing to be swept back, and drummer George Daniel gripping his sticks like it's life or death.

This is a stereotypical rock performance: mid-song, the guys are down on their knees, thrashing away at their guitars. In between tunes, Matthew is skulling from a bottle of red wine on stage. "For reasons beyond our control we are late, but we're glad to be here," he discloses.

If you're familiar with the music of The 1975, their live show is uncannily similar to their record. There's a few added flairs, but this is very analogous with their recorded material.

"This is the second time in Australia in a year, and it's fucking far away, be we can't get enough," Matthew exclaims, adding, "Our songs aren't even on the radio here."

After a faithful rendition of 'Talk!', it's easy to see everything is not as it should be. Matthew complains, "Everything's broken, but we should be fine... We're a rock band!" After attempting to launch into one song but, being unable to for apparent technical reasons, they settle in to 'Settle Down' instead.

The 1975 have always drawn a degree of inspiration from the 80s, but it seems they've taken it up a notch. During 'Pressure', they launch into a live saxaphone solo; it seems they've brought an old friend on board for a permanent touch of woodwind.

Matthew plays his part well; during 'Robbers', his mass of hair covers one half of the song, adding to the intrigue of the song. Straight after, he launches into 'Girls', giving quite a cheeky performance for the very responsive audience.

This is around the time the band (or moreso, Matthew) starts to really warm up - he starts playing up to the audience by yelling out, "This is time for bouncing - let's go!" as they launch into 'Chocolate', highlighted by some formidable bass guitar.

Before it's even begun, they wrap up with 'Sex', a perfect closer: high energy, a rip-roaring electric guitar, and perfectly aimed at a crowd heavy with hormones.

For many reasons, this wasn't the tightest set it could have been. The multiple problems - technical or otherwise - hindered what could have potentially been a much more memorable performance.

For a Brisbane band, these guys sure know how to draw a crowd. The Amphitheatre was verging on packed around 4:45pm on Saturday afternoon, vying for a prime position in anticipation for Violent Soho.

Kicking off with 'Dope Calypso', the crowd was eager from the get-go. Upon the first few notes of their song, fans were jostling and throwing their hands in the air. The timing of 'Saramona Said' couldn't have been any more apt; "let's start a fire" was bellowed through the Amphitheatre as the rain began to fall.

On stage, the masters of this controlled chaos were having a fucking good time bringing their music to the hoards. A plethora of long hair thrashed about as the guys leapt about the stage, putting on an impressive show, sweat literally dripping from frontman Luke Boerdam's face. With a performance so monumental, Violent Soho are deserving of their ever-growing fanbase.

It was, of course, with the initiation of 'Covered In Chrome' that the crowd went crazy. With more moshing than you can poke a stick at, the crowd emphatically yelled "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!" at the band.


I believe these guys are the underdogs of Splendour. They put on a helluva show - a tight set with ample ferocity, killer bass and a genuine intensity - and left the crowd craving more.

In complete contrast, a gig of a much more intimate kind was occurring in the GW McLennan tent. The penetrating voice of Gossling (or Helen Croome) was making itself known, with live renditions of her gentle, melodic tunes.

Lulling you into a state of relaxation, the music of Gossling is the aural equivalent of waves gently lapping a shoreline; lulling and soulful.

There was also a very interesting cover of Everclear's 'Santa Monica', performed stripped-back and slow-tempo. With her high-pitched voice, it had to be seen to be fully comprehended.

Having seen The Jezabels perform live earlier this year, I was prepared for the confidence the band exudes on stage. What I wasn't prepared for was how much they had bolstered that confidence in just a few months.

Looking every bit the rock 'n' roll frontwoman, Hayley Mary sauntered up to the microphone, clad in leather, and subliminally controlled the crowd for the following hour. The Jezabels brought forth rollicking beats and timeless rock tunes. 'Endless Summer', in particular, garnered great support from the crowd, the masses on their feet dancing as the rain came down.

Truly, Hayley Mary is a marvel to watch. She conquered the stage, prowling the stage like a puma in black, gyrating her hips, down on her knees, even pulling out what looked like the lawnmower at one stage. Containing a physical presence many other performers would envy, her vivacious energy and dedicated focus to the music bring the show to life.

Also appearing extraordinarily humble, Hayley chose to reveal a secret to the audience. Close to tears, she confessed, "We just travel the world trying to play music, and were just really grateful that you're here to watch us, so thank you all very much."

Despite its frequent rockiness, the music of The Jezabels is quite easy to listen to. The melodic tunes are versatile; easy enough to dance to, catchy to sing to, pleasant to listen to. You'd be hard-pressed to find other Australian band this enjoyable to watch live.

This percussion-driven performance is led by Merrill Garbus, who sits front and centre with a drum kit and other instruments, creating loops and developing layers of music in front of your eyes. Best described as tribal pop, and with the help of backup singers, this act heavily emphasises drum, bass, and vibrant, cheery female vocals. It's interesting to watch these songs come to life in front of you, and Merrill sure gives those drums hell.

Winning the award for most climactic beginning, The Foals began their set with a stage packed with smoke and lights, and booming ethereal sounds echoing around the Amphitheatre. It felt like minutes before we actually captured a glimpse of the band themselves.

"We didn't know we were going to be here a week ago, thanks for having us," cries out frontman Yannis Philippakis. Although Foals were ring-ins to replace the ill Two Door Cinema Club, their presence was in no way unappreciated.

Embroiled in heaty guitar riffs, the gig transformed into a dance party with 'My Number', an awesome vibe in the crowd as they chanted the chorus. However, by that stage, it was less of a moshpit, more of a sloshpit from the intermittent rain.

The band conduct themselves well on stage, with a mighty presence to match their sound - and none moreso than Yannis. Looking equally as ready to move your furniture as perform a gig, his formidable

What sets Foals apart is their melding of genres. There's no hard-and-fast formula for a Foals song; at any one moment, you can experience a touch of heavy metal, rock, alternative, dance, folk, or ballad. They handle the mellow just as well as the harder stuff, flicking effortlessly between light and shade. It's brilliant to observe this change on stage - and given this was the most packed I'd seen the Amphitheatre, I think the crowd agreed too.

Kicking off with 'Wasted Time', it's easy to see why Vance Joy has become the talk of the town in the past 12 months. From the very beginning, he had the crowd on-side, spontaneously clapping along to this ode to love. Melbournian James Keogh, the man behind Vance Joy, appears so natural on stage, comfortably wooing the audience with songs abound with joy.

This is forthrightly evident with songs like 'From Afar'. As James and his band perform this gloriously soaring tune early on, the audience help out by singing along from start to finish.

The voice captivates the crowd, but the band bolsters its intensity. Although the acoustic numbers are magnificent, the attention of some of the festival audience gets distracted. In this environment, the music works best with a band backing up James.

Of course, the song everyone was there to hear was 'Riptide'. With a hearty sing-along from the crowd. This kind of group effort only seems to enhance the already heightened sense of love in the venue.

For songs influenced by the most common theme in music - love - Vance Joy certainly knows how to put a refreshing and heartfelt spin on the concept. At its best, this is the kind of music that embraces the entire audience, no matter how big.

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