Splendour In The Grass 2016 // Review

Splendour 16

Sun, cider and outrageous dancing, coupled with some damn good quality music, basically sums up Splendour 2016. As festival-goers nation wide begin to experience the post Splendour blues, I thought it would be best to recap the highlights and the hilarious life lessons learnt throughout the weekend.

Day 1// Can I pay you in magic?

Day one was top quality to say the least. Armed with falafel chips, staminade and vodka concealed in pringle packets, I joined thousands of enthusiastic punters making their way to SITG16. Thankfully the unspeakable mud-quandary-of-2015 quickly became an ancient memory, as the sun worked it’s magic and kicked off the weekend with nothing but blue skies all round. By the time we wrestled with our tents and got our lives in order, we headed in to see the timeless Aussie greats, the DMAs. As always they managed to fill the amphitheatre despite their early set time and didn’t disappoint. To the crowds delight Tommy O’Dell smashed out their ultimate jewel ‘Delete’ early on, followed by ‘Lay Down’, which even managed to get the hill dwellers up and grooving. Basically, the dorky dad like group lived up to expectations. The day rolled on with several highlights including Hayden James and Melbourne’s electronic quintet Total Giovanni, who got the entire crowd into an energetic dance fest. But it was the end of the night that made the day for me, with Brisbane’s Violent Soho cramming so many party-goers into the amphitheatre that security had to close entrances. The night ended on an ultimate high courtesy of The Strokes, who although started over 20 minutes late, performed a noteworthy set. Their last song ‘Last nite’ left us breathless and showed that these guys really are the cream of the crop.

Day 2 // It’s a bottle of white to start the night, a bottle of red to get to bed.

Waking up on day two, we were faced with difficult life decisions – whether to cue for showers for 2 hours or choose the ‘optional’ hygiene mindset of our fellow splendour goers. Thankfully we chose the latter, as we were able to experience an unforgettable performance by In loving memory of Szymon. An incredibly emotional and heartfelt performance was delivered from this tribute band to the late Australian singer-song writer, Szymon. Heartbreakingly, Szymon took his own life at the young age of 23 and in a move to keep his loving memory alive, his friends and family came together to create this beautiful music that entranced the entire crowd- it was truly special. As a polar opposite, we next went to King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard who pulled one of the most energetic crowds of the entire festival. Watching from the hill, we witnessed dust whirlwinds spiralling out of control as fans formed an outlandish dance ring as ‘Robot Stop’ played out. It was Gang of Youths who really stole the show, with their lively performance, crowd surfing and sea of confetti. Lead singer Le’aupepe’s characteristic dance moves, struts across stage and refined vocals made you fall in love all over again with Australia’s favourite indie rock band.
The only comment I have on Ball Park Music – absolute perfection, I think I actually lost a few kg’s from all the dancing.

Although they couldn’t completely fill the 3-hour time allocation, The Cure solidified the night with their 30 song playlist. It became pretty apparent early on that this was going to be a marathon of a night, mixing classics with new material like ‘it can never be the same.’ Although I did find myself struggling to keep my energy up towards the end of the night, these Brit indie greats highlighted what pure legends they’ve become.

Day 3 // I am having fun. I am having a lot of fun.

Last but not least by any means, Day 3 was my favourite of the whole festival. I was happily introduced to a new artist Lapsley, whose vocals were through the roof and made blokes around the nation melt with her Bristish accent. At one point she commented, ‘I heard you can domesticate wombats, I think I’d like one.’ There’s a particular magic about being entranced and surprised by new artists and Lapsely’s chilled electronic vibes made a huge impression. Another new act for me was the Melbourne SKA orchestra, who were an orchestra with a difference. This 18 piece band displayed some of Australia’s finest musicians and the crowd reacted to them in waves. They had the entire mosh turning and waving at dwellers on the hill, with conductor Nicky Bomba directing the crowd ‘to turn on the count of four and dance like you’ve never danced before.’ Also of note, The Preatures delivered a heartfelt set, sending off their guitarist Gideon Bensen in true style.

Last the act we were all waiting for: Flume. “I just have to stop the music for a second,” he told the absolutely sardine-packed crowd in the amphitheatre. “This is just too surreal for me! I watched the pixies headline here in 2010 and now I’m here. Let’s fucking do this Splendour!” Basically from that point on, his set was flawless with multiple first class guest singers and his sneaky “Fuck Pauline Hanson, GOODNIGHT,” topping off one of the most diverse and impressive festivals in Australia’s calendar.

To recap, Splendour in The Grass 2016 was a weekend jam packed with the finest artists from across the globe, highlighting a diverse range of genres, ages and cultures. My only complaint? Our generation will now have severe hearing issues for the rest of our lives – something I’m certainly willing to sacrifice for such an epic weekend.

Thanks Splendour, until next time.

Philadelphia Grand Jury – Crashing and Burning pt II


Philly JaysIt’s been 3 years, 10 months and 21  days since Philadelphia Grand Jury broke up. It broke my heart. But now they are back with a new single and new album!

‘Crashing and Burning’ is more of that equally chaotic and sensibly elegant garage rock that the Philly Jays were known for. Berkfinger is at his all time best delivering catchy vocal hooks, MC Bad Genius is shredding the bass and Dan Sweat is smashing the drums. Its the original gang and the original feel – I love it. With a national tour announced ahead of the release of their overdue second album ‘Summer of Doom’, be sure to catch these guys live as it always goes off!

John Steel Singers – Weekend Lover

JSSBrisbane’s The John Steel Singers have returned with the first taste of their third album, a dainty pop single called ‘Weekend Lover’.

John Steel Singers early EP ‘The Beagle and The Dove’ remains one of my favourite local
releases ever, and the track ‘Strawberry Wine’ with its air of bouncy politeness one of my favourite songs. Naturally I am stoked that there is more from the John Steel Singers, and they have really shown some development for album three is ‘Weekend Lover’ is anything to go by. Its catchy off beat guitars and soaring falsettos create a listen that is equally head bobbing and gentle swaying – they really have captured the best of both worlds. Produced in their Plutonium Studios, its no surprise where the title of album three, ‘Midnight at The Plutonium’ came from – it drops early 2016.

Rolls Bayce – Lost

Rolls BayceRolls Bayce have continued their run of irresistibly fantastic pop singles with ‘Lost’.

Bounded by gritty bass, hypnotic guitars and jagged synth there is a real sense of psychedelic vibes attached to this latest offering by the Brisbane boys. In fact its kind of what I imagine Tame Impala would sound like if Kevin Parker was a little less stoned. Yet, those punchy soaring vocals of Dean McGrath keep that pop sensibility to ‘Lost’. I still can’t help shed a tear for the now defunct Hungry Kids of Hungary every time I hear him open his mouth. Regardless, ‘Lost’ is another cracking tune, and with a debut album in the works, get excited for more Rolls Bayce.

Ocean Floor – For Someone Else

White Wall 1Ocean Floor is the moniker of 23 year old Melbourne solo artist Harley Cooper, who has been working hard towards the release of his debut album, ‘Old Haunts’.

‘For Someone Else’ is the third single released by Ocean Floor, and shows some shades of Elliot Smith with soft soul searching vocals and a delicate arrangement of acoustic guitar. There is something about ‘For Someone Else’ that sticks with you. I think its because this is DIY music done for the right reasons, it’s an expression of emotion purely for the sake of it. In that respect its a little like Bon Iver, just simple and honest. ‘Old Haunts’ is being released in mid September, and is being given away for free over at Ocean Floors bandcamp. So if you’re a fan of what you hear, be sure to check it out.

Big Scary – Organism [W/ New Video]

Big ScaryJust as signs of wear were becoming visible on my #1 Dads vinyl, Tom Lansek has ensured I wasn’t going to have to wait much longer for the next installment of his irresistible talent for music production, dropping ‘Organism‘ as part of his other project Big Scary.

Big Scary’s last album was one of my favourite albums of 2013, and the release of ‘Organism’ almost caught me off-guard given Lansek’s touring for #1 Dads, and the hand he has in the production of so many other up and coming Aussie artists (Montgomery, Art of Sleeping, etc). But one listen will have you instantly grateful, as the very tasty, but oh so dirty bassline takes your ears on an orgasmic ride to the ultimate musical high. Words are an injustice in attempting to describe ‘Organism’, so have a listen, and make sure your jaw doesn’t hit the ground.


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