Posted by kluster on January 8, 2010
Heat and still more oppressive heat. The John Steel Singers played an energetic set in matching red Lurex wizard capes that looked like Hogwarts on LSD and soon their poppy harmonies had the lethargic crowd bouncing and jostling around. Later they appeared in latex horse masks for a surreal all-in dance party to 'Evolution'.
At midday the phenomenally talented Andrew Bird hobbled on stage with a busted foot. The man with magic lips. The combination of his soaring vocals and orchestral violin gave me goose bumps even though the temperature must have climbed beyond 40 degrees. He whistled sweet lullabies and soon the tent resembled a kindergarten at naptime.
Sydney locals Dappled Cities had clearly made the most of Lorne’s seaside, performing songs that sounded like musical theatre in salt-stained boardshorts. It was beginning to look as though the heat might get the better of us; dehydrated souls littered the ground seeking refuge in pockets of shade when, like a splash of cold water, Art Vs. Science exploded onto stage. They thrashed around behind keyboards and synths screaming savage vocals. An enormous crowd jumped and danced in the afternoon glow to the camp electro racket, while all manner of inflatables ricocheted above the chaos, including a life-size horse and a flock of penguins.
By early evening the menacing dark clouds that had gathered overhead where ready to drop their payload. As the first heavy drops fell to earth and dust turned to mud a great weave of relief washed over us. The tension between our fragile expectations and raw anxiety dissolved and our only motivation was to have fun. It wasn’t hard to have fun watching - and obviously, clapping to - The Phenomenal Hand Clap Band. Their cheesy psychedelic funk had a scant but excitable audience grooving to their super tight disco hooks while two gorgeous tambourine girls made slick work of 15 to 20.More...
Posted by kluster on January 7, 2010
The morning dew evaporated alarmingly quickly as the sun bore down on the few early birds up to catch Jordie Lane. Opening with an achingly beautiful ballad about infidelity they sang songs that sounded like they came from the past, most with a harmonica solo. The mellow set was perfect for those still wiping sleep out of their eyes. Yves Klein Blue attracted a loyal audience who bounced uncontrollably to their infectious riffs and chaotic drumbeats. The crowd was invited to sing along and all obliged in an exuberant rendition of 'Getting Wise'.
Shortly after the Grand Theatre began filling with smoke, misty synthy sounds and various cultural references mined from the 1980s. Chairlift used wigi board visuals, pounding drums and reverberating synths to create a moody atmosphere for 'My Territory', then turned a cover of Snoop Dogg's 'Sexual Seduction' into an altogether creepy experience. It’s a shame the band was so preoccupied looking cool and unaffected or they might have engaged with their audience.
By mid-afternoon the heat was suffocating when through the daydream of heat waves four gentlemen from Brooklyn caused a disquiet to settle over the crowd. Could they really be worth all the hype? Grizzly Bear are so heartbreakingly talented; within the first few cords of '2 Weeks' the entire crowd was mesmerised. We swayed in gentle unison as soaring harmonies cascaded from the stage then spiraled heavenward. Falls was their first Australian show and they seemed genuinely excited, leaving everyone hoping they would return soon.
If Grizzly Bear had pacified the darker spirits of the Otway the Editors soon conjured them again. Front man Tom Smith swaggered around the stage possessed with tumultuous, rock monster ambition. He had some handsome muttonchops too. Unfortunately, despite his obvious charms, Smith wasn’t particularly engaging although the natural amphitheatre was a perfect context for the hymn-like pianos of 'No Sound But The Wind' and bouncy synths of 'Papillon'. More...
Posted by kluster on January 6, 2010
The morning began with a decidedly country flavor, thanks to the rollicking jig-worthy tunes of Melbourne’s Wagons. Henry Wagon's baritone conjured dark spirits from the surrounding forest and boomed out Christmas carols to Satan and tributes to Elvis and Willie Nelson. Thumping drums and washboard percussion brought crowds from all directions for a jaunty thigh-slapping finale. With the sun still high in the sky Whitley brought his derivitive-folky-inoffensive shtick to the stage. Covers are big at festivals and Whitley gets the gong for this year’s worst – a version of Abba's ‘Dancing Queen’ that sounded like it was on Oxycontin.
All seemed lost until a tambourine-wielding Megan Washington saved him and they brought ‘Poison in Our Pockets’ to a truly magical crescendo. In stark contrast The Vasco Era rampaged through their 60-minute set with astounding energy and verve. Forgoing some of their slower ballads for solid entertaining cock-rock the three-piece crashed, thrashed and brutalised their instruments to the delight of an appreciative crowd.
The hoedown continued as the air filled with the sickly sweet smell of Jack Daniels and Sea Sick Steve appeared bearded and gravel-voiced. He shook hands and posed for photos before taking up a comfy seat on stage with his collection of four-stringed guitars. He howled and growled and belted out his grinding hobo blues, bowing between tunes.
Sunset brought a cold chill and cast brilliant feminine hues over the brooding crowd filling the valley to see Sarah Blasko. She arrived winsome and awkward in a black dress that flared from the waist with a white peter pan collar. ‘All I Want’ sounded serene to orchestral backing and she danced her robot dance to an adoring audience.More...