Wow! What an amazing, three day musical extravaganza we [@ahmedbaghdadi, @reetssydney and Hari [damn you for not being on Twitter [and no, this was the non-douchey Hari]] just witnessed! I thought the Big Day Out was something, but my goodness, Splendour in the Grass was far beyond what I expected.
I don’t know if it was the best lineup of any festival this year, Marcus Mumford, but it was pretty darn impressive. In no particular order [there will be a particular order later], I saw…
Washington, Foals, Miami Horror, Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem, Grizzly Bear, Ben Harper & Relentless7, Two Door Cinema Club, Operator Please, Tame Impala, Wolfmother, Florence + The Machine, The Strokes, Miike Snow, Whitley [10 minutes, anyway ~_~], The Vines, Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, Empire of the Sun.
And of all that, only one disappointment; LCD Soundsystem. I think I can live with that. The whole lineup is here.
Well, here’s that particular order then.
My top 5 Splendour acts
- Florence + The Machine – An unknown to most of the world 1.5 years ago, and an unknown to me until the week of Splendour [give or take a single I’d have heard on the radio]. The way she completely OWNED that packed Amphitheatre [am-fee, not am-pee, I tell you >.<] was amazing, and I was shaking my head in disbelief for a good 20 minutes. It almost felt like a Siren was on stage, and I bopped and jumped and danced to every other act I saw, but for that first 20 minutes or so, I was just sitting there, shell-shocked. It goes without saying that she sounded absolutely amazing, and the album versions of songs were almost a joke compared to how damn good they sounded live. This is totally what seeing a live concert is about to me; adding something to the mp3s I constantly listen to, and video clips I see, and Florence did that in a big, big way. Listening to Dog Days Are Over on Triple J the next morning when we were driving up brought a huge smile to face [especially 15,000 people doing the high pitched squeal and jump], and chills galore. Bravo, madam!
- Mumford & Sons – Ok, well, this was supposed to be a numbered list, not a rant, but now I’ve set a precedent with #1, so I’ll see how far I get with this… I’m guessing not much further. ANYWAY, Mumford and Sons! You humble little folk rockers, you! Marcus Mumford and co. completely charmed me with their sweet natured chatter between songs, and rockin’ vocals and banjos during ’em. The Zebra Incident, where after one song, Ben proclaimed “I’ll buy everyone in the crowd a drink if that zebra gets up on stage”, shortly after which I turned around and saw said giant inflatable zebra being pushed towards the stage by cheering masses and eventually making it was particularly fun; I’m still waiting on my drink though, Ben. The zebra was joined on stage by a crocodile later on, and I predicted they will live a sad, deflated life together. Folk rock is well and truly alive.
- Passion Pit – I danced / moshed / jumped my ass off! The most, fun, in-crowd experience I guess I’d call it, And @chrisbride was there too!
- Operator Please – Those crazy kids sure do know how to rock! This was again purely due to what I expected going into it, and the joy I got coming out of it [that’s what he said? :O]. I’m not quite sure how, but a lot of their tunes were entrenched in my brain, and I found myself bopping along and singing to the majority of the set, having an absolute blast in the process. They’ve come a long way from when I first saw them supporting the Arctic Monkeys, but they still look so darn young! Especially that drummer.
- Wolfmother – Guitargasms, Mind’s Eye and Joker and the Thief, as clichéd as that may be, considering they’re amongst their popular singles, completely blew my mind, and were up there when it comes to the stand-out tracks of Splendour. Hey, there’s an idea!
There is no way in hell I could have predicted that as my top 5, and and that’s what makes it all the better!
Before I move into these stand-out tracks, some honourable mentions are most definitely due…
- Washington – I’d never heard of her, and wasn’t even sure if it was going to be a Scandanavian duo or a woman until she walked out on stage. Our first act of Splendour 2010, and she was brilliant! Sounded fantastic, looked genuinely passionate, happy and did definitely not just go through the motions. One song in particular [can’t remember the name of it] was surprisingly emotional, and it’s an album I’ll be adding to Grooveshark. Did I mention she looked pretty sexy too?
- Miike Snow – The crowd got into these guys in an amazing way [one guy in particular knew every word to every song, and he deservedly got raised on two sets of shoulders [as in, you know when a guy sits on another guy’s shoulders? Well, then another guy has the task of having the previous two guys on his shoulder!]. I was impressed at how easy these dudes made it look, and as far as I could tell, it was just two guys seeing this other dude they didn’t know having so much fun, that they decided to raise him upwards! Watching the security guard point furiously and helplessly was fun too], and it really felt wrong to have them playing this infectiously danceworthy set, mid-afternoon. They sure as hell should’ve been on later in the day, and put LCD Soundsystem to shame. Yes, it’s probably a stupid comparison to make, but I’m making it anyway. What was with the guitar and audio troubles they seemed to have during most of the set though?
My top 5 Splendour live performances
- Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks. Perfect in every way. In some ways this directly contradicted what I was saying earlier about the live performances adding so much more, but, I don’t know, I feel like it did more than enough on that front, and seeing it come to fruition, live, was well, perfect. I think everyone was getting quite the annoyed at me reliving that song over and over and over again the next few days.
- Mumford & Sons – The Cave. These guys have amazing harmonies, but this was a song for the crowd to scream their heart’s out, and dance their socks off, and they [and I] did just that. It was one of those moments where you really do feel part of something bigger, and I loved it.
- Florence + The Machine – … Ok, I don’t know the name of the song. Does that sound completely stupid, and ruin what little musical merit I have, and this list in general? As I mentioned earlier, I really hadn’t listened to Florence much, and I am somewhat embarrassed to say I don’t know the name of the song, but that sure as hell isn’t going to stop me from listing it here. At the end of the day, it was a live performance, and bloody brilliant.
- Wolfmother – Mind’s Eye. From that first strum and slow beginning to the gloriousness that followed in the next 5 or so minutes, I was in heaven.
- Hot Chip – One Life Stand. This was like discovering and rediscovering something at the same time. I’ve heard this many a time, but had no idea it was Hot Chip, and it’s when Splendour went from being awesome to the best musical experience of my life. You might say, “Well, that’s not hard considering you’ve never been to a music festival over three days before”. I say “Meh.” Let me deal in my hyperboles.
Again, honourable mentions go to…
- Florence + The Machine – Dog Days Are Over
- Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man
- Washington – That untitled song I will have to find the name of…
- Wolfmother – Joker and the Thief
- Operator Please – Get What You Want
- Passion Pit – Little Secrets
- Tame Impala – Half Full Glass of Wine
Making these lists has of course completely diminished every other song and act I mentioned I saw, but I needed to “filter” [clearly my filtering still leads to a rant 99 times out of a hundred] it all somehow, and I cannot stress how much I really enjoyed all the songs and acts I saw, apart from that one slightly rotten, but still audible and musical sustenance giving apple. And now for another list, because I’ve just remembered a whole bunch of other crap, and I love to seem incoherent; It’s just my mind, people. There’s no Best Editing award that’ll be given to the film that is my life.
- The impressive traffic jam that is the Splendour in the Grass carpark. It took nearly an hour the first two nights to escape this carpark, and at 1am, when your feet and neck muscles are sore beyond belief and all you want to do is go back to your apartment, it’s kinda annoying. Getting in takes a while too, though not nearly as long. Day three was a pleasant change, both in and out
- The crowd. All in all, an exceptionally good natured and well behaved crowd
- My poor shoes *cry* I’m not sure how I missed the memo on gumboots, but I’ll be in them next time around, believe you me. I looked at those sneakers in constant disgust after that first night, with a sickly coating of mud and little stones embedding themselves in any gaps they could find; they probably created quite a few new gaps too…
- It’s not often you would look forward to the food at a music festival, but god bless those hippies and their facilitation of my vegetarianism!
- The drive to and from Splendour, especially the two sections of windy road, that I think everyone enjoyed driving through. The scenery was pretty spectacular too. And let’s not forget the best road ever, that I chuckled at every time we passed; Bald Knob road!
- The sound check guys, and their “yeeeeeah, one twoooooo, yeeeeap”. I thought it was just a weird bogan sounding thing from one guy on one stage at first, but then I kept hearing it everywhere!
- Richard Ashcroft! What a brat! Hearing random people scream expletives at him leaving after one song because they’d stuck him in the smaller tent with a smaller crowd was both hilarious and sad, especially for those that left Mumford and Sons early to catch his whole set. Twitter acted as a great zeitgeist too; “he lost his verve”
- Empire of the Sun, or should I say, Luke Steele. What an absolute weirdo! Ridiculous costumes and costume changes, and I really don’t think he plays the guitar I cannot however deny the unbelievably catchy nature of Walking On A Dream and We Are The People though, and loved hearing them live!
- Hari being drunk last night. I doubt I have ever laughed so hard at 6am in the morning.
- The crazy smiling, blinking tree faces that were trippy as hell after a few drinks. I absolutely loved people first pointing at them, and then being completely freaked out when they started blinking! Kudos to whoever thought of projecting those faces onto the trees.
There were many more, but I can’t seem to extract them from my mind, and it’s probably for the best when it comes to the sanity of whoever’s reading this too.
Rita, Ack and Hari, today was a shitty day, with everyone being way too tired, but I think we had three pretty spectacular, memorable [music and otherwise] days. Yat, you really missed out =[
My ears are still ringing, but bring on Splendour 2011, and the smorgasbord of international music festivals that I am now itching to attend.
I thought the catharsis was complete and I could go to sleep, but I’ve forgotten about the mini ordeal regarding flights back today. For whatever reason, we were on the 7:45pm flight back to Sydney, and me having to head to Melbourne for work, really didn’t want to stay the night in Sydney, wake up ridiculously early and go straight to work, considering the zombie-like state I’d be in after not much sleep yesterday. Oh, screw you and your phone customer service, Jetstar. I spent literally 40 minutes on the phone this morning trying to change the flight to an earlier one, and eventually got the answer that nothing could be done.
Anyway, I booked a 10:00pm flight from Sydney to Melbourne and hoped that I’d make the connection, even though I was cutting it close [the flight from the Sunshine Coast was supposed to arrive in Sydney at 9:20pm]. We get to the Sunshine Coast airport, check-in in all of 30 seconds, wait for our flight, I look up a while later, and of course, the flight is delayed by 15 minutes. Sigh. I spent the rest of the waiting time at the airport and flight cursing my luck, and we land in Sydney at 9:40pm.
I hurry out of the plane by around 9:50pm, thinking that there’s no chance in hell I’ll make this, run up to the terminal, see no one else there, find a guy at the security screening station and tell him I don’t have a boarding pass yet [I booked the Sydney to Melbourne flight this afternoon -_-], and he insists I go back to the check-in machines and print out my boarding pass. I look around and can’t find a Qantas check-in machine, and then realise I’m in the wrong terminal… “FUCK”. I run out of the terminal, through the car park, into the correct terminal, find some Qantas staff that tell me they can’t force check me in, and that I just have to run to the gate and get them to print out a boarding pass there, if boarding hasn’t closed. Somehow, it hadn’t.
And now I’m awake anyway… BAH.