The past three days have been experienced in a vastly different way depending on whether you were in attendance at Splendour in the Grass or not: either the time absolutely flew by and you’re wondering just how that happened (or perhaps even WHAT happened during the festival), or the days have been endless drags of watching your mates post their most Instagram-worthy snaps and almost collapsing from your chronic FOMO. Either way, we’ve got you covered with a recap of the very last few hours of Splendour 2015.
But first, take a look at our previous recaps:
Punters proved yet again immensely loyal to homegrown bands, and may God have mercy on your soul if you were late to Alpine and hoping for anything more than a glimpse from far away. The lush strains of their spectacularly quirky art-pop blanketed the crowd as the sky turned dark, signalling the start of the last night of Splendour in the Grass 2015. Frontwoman (one of two) Phoebe Baker asking if anyone else had a wedgie was definitely one of the more memorable pieces of stage banter over the course of the festival. Harmonies with fellow singer Lou James fell short at points, which took the sheen off Yuck a little, but it didn’t matter to their dedicated crowd one bit. Alpine have very successfully branded themselves as the go-to band for anyone who’s proud of their musical tastes, and the duo of Baker and Lou as the women you want to either be or be with. Their twinkling breakout hit Gasoline, along with a bold, brassy rendition of the in-your-face Damn Baby were the crown jewels in a glimmering spectacle of a set.
South London lad Jamie T had been quiet for a while now, but not tonight! He came in strong with Man And The Machine before declaring “I think this is gonna be a f*cking good evening, ladies and gentlemen!”. Something about Jamie T’s music, whether you’re listening to it on your iPod or live at a festival, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been transported to a British pub, swaying with a pint of larger and partaking in Cockney chants. But as inflatable couches made their way across the mosh and a man crowd surfed with a rake we were reminded this is no pub, this is bad ass music festival! The set list was what any fan could dream of, a back to back ‘best of’ spanning Jamie’s 3-album catalogue. Stomping his foot like it was on fire, the tom drums built as clapped his hands while he belted out recent release Rabbit Hole before taking us back an album for the beautifully stripped back Emily’s Heart. Fans were chuffed to go even further back in time to his 2007 debut Panic Prevention with favourites Sheila and If You Got The Money recharging the Amphitheatre’s exhausted crowd.
The Blue Mountains’ Thundamentals had a fairly competitive time slot on the Sunday evening, clashing with heavy weights Alison Wonderland and Tame Impala. But in the thick of an over flowing GW McLennan Tent you wouldn’t have known it, as a large crowd found it within them to muster up another hour of hands in the air and feet stomping in the mud. DJ Morgs scratched up storm while the 2 MC’s, Tuka and Jeswon, paced the stage, before dropping the beat on Noodle Soup – a fairly ridiculous song but it comes with a positive ‘peace and love’ message for the kids. Even with all the usual hip hop catchphrase suspects, including “When I say ‘x’, ya’ll say ‘y’” and “put your mother f*ckin hands up” at times you couldn’t help but feel the TM show had crossed over from hip hop to electro dance, with the emphasis more on the light show and doof, but hearing a girl beside me say “Thundamentals are seriously Australia’s best hip hop group” I figured they must be doing something right! The smooth flow and dreamy chorus of Smiles Don’t Lie brought us back to the rap world, followed by one of the most viewed Like A Versions in history, the totally reworked Matt Corby masterpiece Brother. Thundamental fans (otherwise known as Thundacats) let out one last wall of screams for closing track Something I Said, and while some called it a night, bracing them selves for what would be a sore Monday, others weren’t quite ready – after all, Blur was still to come!
As the stage lights danced over the Amphitheatre for what was going to be the last time this year, a medley of icecream truck-style lullabies including Greensleeves and Teddy Bear’s Picnic began to play, revving the crowd up for Blur’s glorious return to Australia. Although they played a killer set in Sydney last night, this is certainly a more ceremonial welcome, or at the very least a much bigger one. Go Out opened a set that featured a looser vocal approach, which leant a certain casual, pretense-free nature to the band in the way that Aussie audiences absolutely adore. Probably for the best, too, considering the bitter taste that was left in many fan’s mouths after their last minute Big Day Out cancellation. There was much room for movement: more distortion, and a much filthier feel to many tracks that sound clean-cut on the records they call their homes. Blur played with all the vim and vigour of a much younger band, and watching on, it was easy to forget that these men have been a cornerstone in international music for as long as 27 years (older than many Splendour ticket holders) – but at the same time, it was crystal clear that they’d earned their tenure. The entirety of the festival bopped along enthusiastically to Parklife, which is a total cracker of a song but may have been slightly overshadowed by this. “This is like England!” Damon Albarn told us all, in reference to the bone-chilling cold that had settled over the North Byron Parklands, and we all made a mental note to never ever go to England. Hey, at least with all their best musical talent dropping in down under, we won’t be missing out on that side of things! Many punters were caught by surprise when Song 2 dropped just forty five minutes into their hour and a half set – assuming that would be the song to close down Splendour officially. With the ground more boggy and slippery than ever, the mad rush the instantly-recognisable opening chords created of people legging it down for a dance on a stable-ish surface was nothing short of hilarious to watch as girls and guys left right and centre fell face, butt, or elbow first into the thick mud. If a band less legendary and talented than Blur was playing, perhaps the spectacle of watching their fellow punters eat sh*t would have drawn the attention of many for longer, but when it was time to sing along, nobody really seemed to care about anything except for “WOO HOO!” Nostalgia for all things 90s, be it for grungey fashion or ABC TV shows or, indeed, the bands that provided the soundtrack to the decade, isn’t going anywhere – Blur’s return was perfectly timed with the current zeitgeist, in a triumph for both Splendour in the Grass and the band.
And that’s it for another year, folks – now it’s time to post your pics, brag about the band members you ran into on the grounds, and start saving for 2016.
Words by Liz Ansley and James Wills
Image credit: Bianca Holderness & Ian Laidlaw, Splendour in the Grass