Live Review: Splendour In The Grass 2016

More than 30,000 will mass at North Byron Parklands for the three-day festival that kicks off today. It was a pleasant surprise to be away from the notorious ‘Splendour in the Mud’, but many to no avail wore hefty gumboots through the green. Regarding attire this year: glitter. In fact, I would say that one would have a more original outfit if they choose not to make their face luminescent.

Gold Coast-bred electronic ace Mikey Perry, aka Paces, is getting ready for his imminent appearance at this weekend’s Splendour In The Grass festival who announced on twitter that he will be adding a few familiar faces to his set— one of whom is former Australian Idol winner and Paces’ Like A Version collaborator Guy Sebastian.

Another Gold Coast inclusion to the festival includes Nereus, a band collaborating with Japanese musicians to create their own original sound and visual show. This includes Japanese Taiko drummers, breakdancers, urban/street dance and musicians which blended seamlessly and made for quite a fascinating performance.

It was non-stop talent with The Kills (pictured), 1975, Years & Years, Violent Soho, Leon Bridges, Illy, The Avalanches, Hermitude and The Strokes. I’ll be honest with the fact that I couldn’t tell where one Hermitage song ended and another began, as the electronic sounds all meshed together, but the young crowd could distinctly pick up tones and cheer at what I can only assume was the beginning of a new song. American Rock band, The Strokes, finished up at the main stage. It was a quite a sight to stand back and watch thousands twirl and sway and, well mostly fall due to the incline of the hill, but nevertheless stand back up and press on with their dance moves in true festival style.

With such a splendid commencement for Splendour, we’re gearing up for what the next days have to offer.

DAY 2

 

Now if you didn’t go to Splendour this year, we’ve got it all here, and if you did go, well this can be some reading material while you’re waiting in the infamous bus line. Day two was round the clock genius, which was mostly dominated by Aussie artists including; Gang of Youths, Sticky Fingers, Matt Corby and Ball Park Music.

Matt Corby set at the GW McLennan tent proves to packed to invade, but his humble and heavenly vocals stopped every passerby in their tracks. Also at the tent was five-piece indie rock/pop band based in Brisbane, Ball Park Music, whose upbeat vibes contradict their introverted lyrics.

Another indie/rock group, Gang of Youths, played some unreleased tunes which sent the Gang’s groupies into frenzy. The music overpowered the constant thought ringing in my head, “What if the girl on his shoulders falls on me? Should I move? Yeah I can’t really move”. Nothing could have dissipated the exhilaration the crowd felt when their illustrious song Magnolia played, as confetti snowed down from the half-light of the sky.

“Sticky! Sticky! Sticky!” the crowd pleaded. As the house lights receded and the fog machine erupted mist around the stage, the audience roared and stamped their feet. Silhouettes of Sti Fi materialised on the stage, with keyboardist Freddy Crabs sporting a humble outfit of boxer briefs and sneakers. Lead vocalist Dylan Frost, similar in style, sported a mink coat, his signature mop of black curls, short shorts and grand mustache. Beginning with synth-submersed keyboards and a funk-filled guitar riffs, the Sticky boys plunged into Land of Pleasure.

The most anticipated act of the week was English rock band, The Cure, who need no further introduction. Comfortably owning the stage with their experience of nearly three decades, many expressed their nostalgia after the band’s large repertoire of hits struck an emotional cord. Generation X to Y stood before Robert Smith and his trademark tresses as he worked his magic on stage for the massive crowd. Truly a headline worthy of ending Day Two.

DAY 3

 

Still recovering from the Cure’s marathon set yesterday – taking out the title of longest Splendour set yesterday – we prepared for Day 3. This preparation process includes sticking glitter and stars to our face, lacing up our surprisingly not-so-muddy Doc Martens and hyping ourselves up for Flume.

After a pit-stop at Urthboy, it was onto City Calm Down, who played a rocking Let’s Dance David Bowie cover, which hypnotised the crowd to put on their red shoes and dance to the blues. Triple J fav’s Tired Lion ruptured the stage with garbled, distorted guitars and hammering drums. Goddess-like front-woman Sophie Hopes’ high-pitched vocals piercing through the noise, erasing any distress that we were going to receive a tamed set. All tracks were played with powerful intensity and rawness, the crowd thrashed their bodies along as an unexpected moshpit ensued.

There is nothing more therapeutic after a roller coaster two days than spending a Sunday morning listening to the soothing sounds of Ziggy Alberts at the Worldwide stage. Although termed the “Worldwide” stage we were listening to someone very close to home, in fact we hadn’t even left the 2481 post code. Alberts is a Byron Bay coastal folk singer who took to the stage to captivate the crowd with his serene music.

Throughout the rest of the day acts dotted the playing times and kept the good times rolling including Courtney Barnett, Duke Dumont and James Blake. But there’s no place to keep the good times rolling than the Tipi Forest, a necessity to any Splendour outing.

The Jungle Giants appeared to much applause pouring through the favourites of Kooky Eyes, She’s a Riot, Creepy Cool straight off the bat. Breaking out a tambourine as they started into Speakerzoid and even a flute for Every Kind of Way. Cesira Aitken’s lead guitar, like Sophie Hope, is another step in the right direction for Aussie women leading the music industry.

At only 24 years of age, Flume sure knows how to put on a killer show already. He set an enormous headline set which featured some sneaky new songs which has since hit the interwebs. To my astonishment the crowd was relatively well behaved, and if you were one of the 20,000 who saw him live or one of the many that watched the festival play out through the infinite amount of Snapchat stories, you probably already know that Vera Blue, Jess Kent, Ngaiire, Remi, Baro and Kučka totally nailed their features. The last moments of Splendour saw Flume taking a swipe at polarising politician, Pauline Hanson before he “dropped mic“. Definitely a Splendour for the history books.

PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Ma

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