Falls Festival kicked off its final leg of 2015 shows in Byron Bay today. Starting a full two days behind Lorne, Byron Bay was lucky enough to play host to english indie-rock band The Wombats as they counted down to the new year. A selection of incredible artists helped start the festival, ranging from Australia’s own WAVVES, to satirical legend “Weird Al” Yankovic.
WAVVES were one of the first to take over the Ampitheatre stage at North Byron Parklands. Despite the sweltering heat the punters faced, WAVVES managed to stir the crowd into a chaotic mosh pit under the mid-afternoon sun.
A collective “oh” of understanding echoed throughout the festival when the speakers announced that El Vez was the Mexican version of the late Elvis Presley. Dressed up like Uncle Sam and fearlessly dancing in front of the American flag, El Vez, other known as Robert Lopez, tangled classic after classic into an amusing set that saw the Elvis-esque Uncle Sam run into the Ampitheatre to pull people into the mosh to dance. The set felt short despite its length of 50 minutes, and soon afterwards Art Vs. Science took the stage.
Art Vs. Science managed to egg the crowd into a frenzy for the first time since WAVVES set earlier in the day, and the fans lapped up every hit the band played. “Parlez Vous Francais” was extended for the crowd, and the cry for an encore carried throughout the festival.
“Weird Al” Yankovic was by far the most entertaining artist that performed on New Years eve. Yankovic started his set in the middle of a crowd of punters whilst singing his parody of Pharrell William’s “Happy” before making his way on stage to continue his set. Video clips of Yankovic acting out ridiculous situations interwove with his live performances and allowed for him to change in and out of increasingly ridiculous costumes that ranged from a fat suit to a gangster outfit. His final costume change saw him dressed up in true Star Wars style while he belted out “Yoda” from his 1985 album Dare To Be Stupid.
The sun set before Peking Duk went on stage, which allowed them to feature the first major light show of the festival. They were treated to the largest crowd apart from The Wombats, and the crowd enjoyed their bass-driven set from start to finish.
The Wombats were tasked with counting down Byron Falls Festival into the new year, and that task was almost completely pulled off without a hitch. Lead singer Matthew Murphy’s bottle of champagne prematurely popped, leaving the singer shocked and champagne-less when it came to spraying the crowd with bubbly, however he seemed to have just as much fun as the punters did when it came to playing the first song of 2016, “Let’s dance to Joy Division”.
The night wrapped up without an unhappy face in sight, however there’s a fair chance that might change when the campers wake up to prepare for day 2.