With a “Carn the Power” cry they got into their set, having expressed their delight in playing at the home of Bad Boy Bubby, and proceeded to give us some laid-back pop/rock vibes not dissimilar to fellow Melbournite Courtney Barnett. I really enjoyed the bass-line of Head Back among others, with all members clearly having a good time up there, swapping instruments and such, and after a big finish they were done, making way on the Dolphin View for former Magic Dirt front-woman Adalita.
To say there’s a fair amount of hype attached to this band would be fair, although it depends who you hang out with I guess! Certainly, the lads have enjoyed much critical acclaim for their album Light Up Gold and I was eager to see how this would translate to the live format. Having positioned myself on the barrier for the start of the gig, these guys certainly made the big crowd gathered move with a furious intensity straight away, with crowd-surfing undertaken by almost everyone up front, seemingly. When given the double hit of Master of My Craft and Borrowed Time it went properly right off! So much so, that I thought my safety and future work prospects were better served somewhat removed from the maelstrom, so I took my older-than-the-average-festival-goer arse off to the back a bit and watched the rest of the set from there. They are just so damn cool! Seems to be the way when you come from NYC, and more specifically so, Brooklyn. Musically they kill, and it was such a tight, dynamic set that almost before we realised they’d finished they were packing up their shit (not too cool for that!), all too soon I’m afraid. Hype more than justified. My day seemed to be getting better and better, and I had high hopes that HAIM would keep the roll going.
This stage was also situated wharf-side, and with the tall ship “The Falie” docked immediately side of stage, it made for another cool location to watch music from. Once the psych/dance trio got started, they came from everywhere and as the sun went down and the sniffer dog got to work, we were treated to some great, groove-worthy tunes from their debut album Howlin’ such as Uncertainty, which was just awesome, The Throw and Let Her Go. With the Aboriginal flag flying proudly on The Falie matching the hat of bassist Jack Freeman, it made me wonder what those that were here 300 years ago would’ve thought of proceedings. I’m sure there would be some shaking of heads in wonder at some of the punters, but I’d like to think they would’ve appreciated the music, foreign as it would be to them! They’re really on to something these guys, and it’s not hard to see why they’re making such a big splash overseas, although not as big a splash as my next act back on the main stage, a certain young girl from New Zealand…
At Laneway 2011 I had to choose between seeing Cloud Control and Two Door Cinema Club who were on at the same time. I chose the latter, and certainly didn’t regret it as TDCC were exceptional, but ever since I’ve been waiting to see Cloud Control, and I wasn’t going to let this opportunity slip! I was once again starting to flag by this stage, but once the Hungry Jack’s ad Dojo Rising started I got my second wind, although it did make me think of Whoppers. I’d put off eating as the lines for all food vans were horrendous, as were lines to get a drink. This mattered little to me, once they reeled off pretty much every song you would want to hear off both their albums, including the brilliant Gold Canary, There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight and Scar which featured a big sing-along moment with the bloke in the Mack cap next to me! Unfortunately, as is often the way with festival sets, they were finished before we were ready and there was extreme disappointment on show from all around me. The Blue Mountains band were definitely worth the wait, and it made me think that everything happens for a reason, as sometimes seeing a group after 2 albums in the can makes for a better show. As long as you like the 2nd album of course, which in this case I certainly do!
Overall, I think Laneway has found a great venue for future years, and hopefully the organisers learn from this year and provide more of every facility. They could learn a thing or two from BDO as well, in how to handle a festival in the heat. Nonetheless, the quality of most of the acts I saw helped make it a very enjoyable day, especially as I fortuitously chose Jagwar Ma, rather than poor Chvrches who I hear didn’t get on too well!
Photos by Melissa Donato. Full gallery can be seen here.