Laneway has unequivocally become the Chuck Norris of music festivals. The Boston Terrier of music festivals. The Nike Ones of music festivals. For those impartial to metaphors I’m saying it’s cool YO. Yeah I had a bit of a moan when I saw the clashes but at least it meant there was no time wasted like that god awful pickle that takes up half your burger. Shit I guess I feel figurative today. The clashes however were the least of my worries in the run up to the festival. You should probably know that a once or twice daily occurrence of any expat Brit residing in these parts is a weather forecast check. I’ve been caught unawares on a ‘cloudy’ day void of suncream enough times to have been desperately looking out for Saturday’s probable climate like the England cricket team for a run. Of course it was a stinker. A stinker that was more the battle than the heavily condensed line-up or the portaloo queue. Not the day to leave your sunglasses at home bro. (How good is that photo by the way?)
I went to Laneway with a mate who is largely favourable to a beat and synth so it was kind of a you choose I choose situation in terms of scheduling who we saw. We would have gone our separate ways but my phone reception didn’t take to kindly to Footscray Community Arts Centre so the rest of my day would have likely been as lonely as WA’s shark-infested waters and I’m most definitely not man enough to be subjected to that. Saying that, there were plenty of encounters with industry friends and foe somewhat inevitably as it is the Boston Terrier of festivals. Being it that way the above snap was taken at the inconsiderately named XXYYXX (I’d have chosen Savages) who did little to reaffirm my love with the electronic genre. Onwards to my choice and a toss-up between the newly elected Hottest 100 winner and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. I decided to go with that that I hadn’t heard
Tom Matt and Alex introduce every morning for the last year not before stopping off to listen to a chick ask a security guard where Vance Joy was playing. As if love.
I do really like the UMO record of last year but it really didn’t interpret well to the live show. This time around in any case. Every song was ended with a Dream Theater style solo from frontman Ruban Nielson which in search for a better term was tedious-as-f*ck. The saving grace of the set was the priceless cordon of shade supplied by a neighbouring factory warehouse. Did I not mention Footscray is a tad industrial? I didn’t paint my industry image particularly colourfully to my partner in grime (OOOOOH) who probably heard more guitar in that one sit in than he had to date. We concurred Mount Kimbie were to be the next port of call; Cold Spring Fault Less Youth being a 2013 favourite for us both. So a trawl back along the laneway to the energy-drink endorsed stage it was. Despite the temptation of the hot drink stall which had the appeal factor of a heart to heart with Mussolini.
The second Mount of the day, although not really as I’ve recently discovered MT Warning is actually pronounced ‘M-T’, were probably the pick of the bunch for me. Not entirely sure what to expect from their live set-up due to the electronic nature of their sound it was pleasing to see a guitar and bass present not to mention the array of sounds they capably produced from said instruments. It was hardly a ‘the earth’s not flat’ revelation when our mate Archie strolled out arms swinging to deliver his guest vocals on the albums lead track You Took Your Time which along with Made To Stray were the sets forte. Good vibes accompanied by what appeared to be a gradually declining sun. SICK.
Next was a choice between another two of 2013’s best records. Full props to the Laneway booking team. I was content with either so my pal made the call to muck things up a bit with Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt over the lo-fi scuzzy rock of Kurt Vile. Earl and friends struggled to contain themselves as the crowd cracked endless jokes. That or it could have been that they were higher than a giraffe on the Eureka Tower. I suppose my hip-hop expertise is limited to back-seat-punditry-of-a-popular-record-on-quiet-in-the-other-room but I failed to be paticularly smitten with the performance and made the daring decision to split from my company to head Vile wards. The River Stage where Kurt was playing seemed a popular spot for most of the day thanks to the scattering of occasional shrub and it’s enticing bank of perchable grass. I only caught the last couple tunes of Kurt’s but a friend I bumped into had been slightly bored by his lack of charisma.
The chilledness of my newly cited ‘grassy nole’, call it bad taste if you will, along with the previously winning Krule and Kimbie performance enabled me to stay in my front row River Stage seat for the next hour and once again the strut and swag of the little firey king reigned strong. Earl must have heard about the conditions at the grassy nole as he made his way down to boogy like MJ on acid, to the sounds of Krule. I watched intently from my pew and couldn’t help but think that although 6 Feet Beneath The Moon was indisputedly genius it was mostly overlooked by the general public which in many ways emphasises the sad state of affairs today’s scene is in. I can’t help but feel like thie record would have sold seven figures worldwide twenty years ago. Must be the ever growing volume of beer talking. Then the rumbling of a passing crate train became apparent and as much as it highlighted the ugly surroundings, it was, in some ways, enchanting. Definitely too many beers.
Mainstage was avoided all day and The Jezabels weren’t going to alter that going into the final slot of the festival and still being in the inebriated state previously illustrated. Four Tet was on the pick-me-up stage and is undoubtedly one of my dearest musicians but I just simply can’t justify $150 to see a DJ set meaning Warpaint were to fit the requirements with their stunningly atmospheric and rhythmic new record. Likely the least attended headline but for me a fitting end to a my first Laneway which was smited early by raging heat and differing desires but solidly rekindled by a dainty young redhead from Peckham.