The first day of Splendour in the Grass 2015 is well and truly over, and boy was it a cracker of a way to kick things off for the weekend. Minds were blown, shapes were pulled, and tents were absolutely saturated. Read on for our recap of the first night – and catch up on our daytime recap here.
Perth’s indie rockers San Cisco took the main stage with frontman Jordi Davieson dressed in all white, looking a little more grown up these days with a face full of hair. The band filled the ampitheatre grounds as thousands bopped in the mud, while others were happy to lounge on the damp grass. Opening with radio singalong Golden Revolver they went on to play favourites including Beach, as fans screamed the infectious hook down each other’s throats, and of course their breakthrough Awkward, that drummer Scarlett Stevens introduced as their “ode to stalking”. More recent radio hit Magic had hands in the air and a muddy pit swaying along to the upbeat poppy rock that San Cisco do so well.
If there’s anyone that can make a tent packed out with thousands of sweaty, muddy, rowdy people feel intimate, it’s Tom Iansek of #1 Dads. Even as too-tall punters pushed their way to the front to get a proper view of the literal musical superhero and his equally prolific band, there was an undeniably tender, soothing atmosphere permeating the GW McLennan stage and its surrounds. The set was nothing short of straight-up ear candy, and Tom Iansek’s beautifully restrained voice being joined by the vocal talents of Pieater labelmate Airling, Ainslie Wills, and of course the otherworldly Tom Snowdon. Snowdon’s vocals truly are something to behold – a true instrument unto itself that had the crowd looking at each other in pure disbelief that a human could actually sound like that. Camberwell was a delight to witness live, the infectious and instantly recognisable drums seeming to beat in time with the collective hearts of the audience. But the real treat was in the closing number – which will quite possibly be the very last song that #1 Dads will ever play – their Like A Version cover of the ever-soulful Two Weeks by FKA twigs. It was a note-perfect rendition that each and every member of the band poured their soul into, leaving fans truly moved, and screaming for an encore that never came.
Returning from making waves overseas, Aussie pocket rocket Tkay Maidza took the stage in a cloud of smoke, delivering rhymes at super sonic speeds over heavy hitting drum and bass style beats – exhausting every last breath in her lungs while fitting as many syllables as possible into 16 bars, theres no denying it, this youngster can flow! As she bounced from one end of the stage to the other 2 security guards dressed in all camo with bandanas over there faces stood either side, I’m guessing they were just for show as the crowd were in high spirits! Home girl copped a well timed set as the sun had just gone down and the hard hitting beats shifted the Splendour crowds levels of hype to the next level, as she had thousands stomping their feet like a Brontosaurus, as well as around 15 volunteers dressed in Bronto getups on stage! Tkay also road tested some well received new material and made it no secret she was enjoying herself as she must have announced “this is so sick!” between every second song.
The crowd for Manchester four-piece Everything Everything poured out of the Mix Up tent on all sides, and the tent itself could barely contain the quirk-pop vibes that the band brought to the table. The lyrics on Get to Heaven, their latest release, deal with some pretty heavy subject matter – but true to the arty upbeat nature of their songs, you’d never know it as a punter at their Splendour set. “Viva la revolution”-esque fist pumps from frontman Jonathan Higgs peppered every song, and the band (kitted out in matching pink and orange outfits) barely stopped for breath at all. Hits Distant Past and Regret had the crowd rowdy and ready for the night ahead.
The distinct vocals of Ben Gibbard filled the amphitheatre as Death Cab For Cutie took to the stage. The international alt rockers moved through a variety of moody rock laced with dark synths while lovers swayed in each other’s arms under the bright flood lights and sung along to I Will Possess Your Heart. The bands set was dominated by more recent material, having released their newest instalment Kintsugi this year, but as Gibbard switched over to his acoustic guitar mid set the crowd were treated to the more familiar sounds of Soul Meets Body among others. Dark clouds rolled in to the marching drums of their closing song Transatlanticism and punters braced them selves for what was to come – more music and much more rain!
Of Monsters and Men, who exploded in international fame in 2012, brought with them yet more of a trip down memory lane – and also brought the crowd to its feet with their jangly set. Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar Porhallson serenaded the crowd with their lovely folksy harmonies that only grew stronger and more intense as the night progressed, after what seemed like a little bit of a struggle from Hilmarsdottir. It had already been steadily sprinkling for a few hours, but by the time the band pulled out their crowd-pleasing single and penultimate song of the night, Little Talks, it had begun to rain in earnest. That didn’t stop the thousands and thousands of punters being totally enraptured by the smash hit, though, with poncho-clad bodies jumping and dancing over the muddy hills of the Amphitheatre.
As safety warnings were made for crowd members to watch out for each other in the slippery conditions (and bucketing downpour) UK headliner Mark Ronson was the icing on the well decorated cake that was his stage, closing Day 1 at Splendour. While some huddled under trees for some kind of rain relief others said f*ck it, it’s Mark Ronson! Opening with ultra funky Feel Right, Mystikal was the first of and endless guest list to accompany Ronson. The grammy award winning producer stood centre stage, propped above his feature artists like a godly maestro with a six piece band either side as he navigated through genres and artists, his set felt like a mini festival in itself. Fans were treated to an array of talent including Daniel Merriweather, Theophilus London and as Mark strapped his guitar on and moved to the front of the stage, he introduced a member of what he called his favourite rock band, Kevin Parker of none other than Tame Impala. The rain was intense but punters were easily distracted with theatrics including BMX stunts to The Bike Song, ever changing genres from funk to hip hop to the psychedelic rocking riffs of Daffodils and a tribute to the late great Nate Dogg and Amy Winehouse. The night ended with the funkiest groover of them all, the global smash Uptown Funk, as saturated fans had one last boogie in the mud before swimming back to their camp sites.
Now we’re onto Day 2! With monster sets from Dune Rats, Meg Mac, The Grates, Best Coast, Florence and the Machine and more to come, we’ve got a very full day on our hands. Let’s do this!
Words by Liz Ansley and James Wills.