There ain’t many festivals that will erect a circuit of stages under and around a train line – St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival somehow managed to that. Better yet, Mick the train conductor gave us a few celebratory honks has he railed past. I mean what better way to wake up the mood than a foghorn, needless to say the masses cheered and Laneway had begun.
Straight up, the day was a solid 7/10.
Great food, great people, great diversity, and stellar performances.
Yet there is a lot you can poke at when talking about your experience at a festival, and it’s all rather personal anyway. So, I’ve chucked this into three catagories.
Highlights, Lowlights and Kodak Moments. Forgive me if I inflect any bias, I’m only human.
Tourist had all the right notes to get you excited for the festival to come. Hitting the Future Classic stage, right in the center of the action, William Phillips (AKA Tourist) showed us how the Brits get ready for a night out. His set lived in the high pitch repetitions, luring you to throw hands up at the heavy drops. He even through in a yummy remix of big hit ‘Run,’ which had the crowd hollering. I could say there was a little too much reverb, but I won’t – he was great and was perfect to spice up the afternoon sets.
Rumour has it there was a massage parlour in the artist’s section – thus this wasn’t necessarily a highlight for me, but I guess it was for some.
I can’t begin to tell you how good Sampa the Great was. Like, I’m a big fan. I’m far from female and I was singing ‘F.E.M.A.L.E’ right back at her. For a petite little thing, she has a commanding presence and an uber-cool factor. With the bright backdrop, festive attire and AMAZING back up singers (shoutout to Meklit Kibret and Christian Hemara from the New Venusians). Goes to show how much back up singers can bring life to a stage, and to the songs. Sampa had them and the crowd singing “I’m Great, You’re Great, We all Great” and it was a very elated moment. Turns out to be her catchphrase but it made you feel good about yourself. At a busy festival where outfits are competing, or you are competing for the best spot in the crowd, it was kind of awesome. The message rang true.
Laneway surprised us with Young Thug’s special intro into Dune Rats set, quite the moment! Unfortunately, YT had to bow out of the festival last minute, thus it was nice to get a little taste of him all the same.
Nick Murphy took the stage with a different name but the same string of hits, ‘The Trouble with Us’ having the masses absolutely raging. Aided by the surprise appearance of collaborator Marcus Marr, the Work EP was a popular hit with the crowd. It was at this stage that I bumped into UK sensation NAO poking her head around the fence to see Murphy perform, and it’s great that artists come to check out the act – solidifies the notoriety of the performance.
Finally, Glass Animals. OH MY OH MY. 10/10. Absolute shocker, as I was not expecting them to slay the crowd like they did. I’ve never heard a crowd scream so much for so many encores, with lead singer Dave Bayley constantly taking a break and smiling at the absolute love they were receiving. Easily one of the best sets I’ve ever experienced, the set was so tight, the crowd was just loving it and Bayley is an animal on that stage. He could turn a bedtime lullaby into a dancefloor anthem. His energy and erratic moves, if you ever have the chance, go catch these guys – they are amazing.
While Mick Jenkins was a wonderful segue from Sampa and initially brought a lot of energy with the famous “Drink more Water” cat call, I felt he became a little frustrated with the energy of the crowd and lost his ‘mojo’ halfway through his set. There was a lot of dead air between songs and while the big songs raged and the hands went up, the B-side tracks fell a little flat. Perhaps he would have been more inclined for a set later in the night, but you have to play with the cards your dealt and make that crowd feel special.
This may be controversial, yet Tame Impala may have been a little underwhelming. I know, I’m awful to even say it – but the headliner should have finished the day in style, with high energy that could transcend the huge crowd that ran down the hill to see them, but the result was a good sixth of the crowd left halfway through the set. Why? Well it might be because they just came off the back of a big 18-month tour, thus they may not have been the fresh-faced daisies from day 1. However, it just didn’t feel effervescent. Don’t get me wrong, the hits were a hit, the top tracks had the reactions you’d expect, but it takes a little more then that hook you love to keep you enthused. I worry that their stage presence could have matched the energy of the crowd, and I’m afraid that it didn’t. Particularly coming from Glass Animals, who were just incredible. Don’t nail me to a stake Tame Impala fans! I love them too; I just wanted to love them more on the night.
1) Belles Hot Chicken was an absolute lifesaver
2) We are still obsessed with the SunnyLife Flamingo
3) Except for this guy
4) The girl who blogs for Absolut
5) and the boys she sharked in Connect 4
6) My new No. 1 gal’
7) The couple that coordinates
8) These guys
(Unfortunately, GROUPLOVE was not on the line-up this year)
9) The girl that felt right at home
10) And that one time when NAO used my lighter
(I traded it for a selfie)