REVIEW- Splendour in the Grass 2019

July 29, 2019

What an Absolute Ripper Weekend!

North Byron Parklands was treated to an absolute assault last weekend. Splendour in the Grass just destroyed the joint. In an attempt to ease your PSD1 (Post Splendour Depression) have a gander at the top cuts, the prime sets, and reminisce on the best weekend of the year.

I love all the sheep-minded people that complained about the Splendour line-up. It resulted in a more invested audience and filtered out a lot of the idiots that would have solely attended to see Travis Scott, are you triggered?

The Aussie music scene is fertile. We are just pumping out incredible talent, and the limelight Splendour shines on Australian music is invaluable.

The Top Two!

Dear Seattle.

It was absolutely fuckin’ incredible. Everyone gathered together to see the boys tear apart the amphitheatre, and crikey, they did. This whole review is filled with journalism-y language and bullshit. But despite my best efforts, none of it comes close to describing these boys.

In 2017 I caught the Dear Seattle boys opening for Kingswood in Brisbane. There was about 12 people in the room for most of it. You could dead set count em. I was a fan then and now they’re playing to thousands of people at Splendour. Yes.

Belter tracks Maybe, Homegrown, and Try make a crowd move. Don’t Let Go was an awesome record and it rips even harder live. With fan favourite chants “I don’t want to go to university/cus I don’t think they offer a fuckwit degree” and “Everybody’s trying on a fake face hoping that a name change will get what they need” ring out over the hills of North Byron Parklands as punters experience some momentary relief from home life.

Fuck-up anthem Afterthought resonated into a huge singalong amongst the Saturday morning battlers, before the boys’ Like A Version, The Special Two embraces punters to mosh to their highest potential. 

Before the boys broke into their final tune, I Keep Dreaming, front man Brae Fisher broke everyone. A brief anecdote about the depth of the track’s sentiment resulted in a lot of tears. In short, I was balling my eyes out. I had two random blokes under each of my arms in an equal state to myself, and all I wanted to do in that moment was belt out one of my favourite tunes.

Brae, that was fuckin’ touching mate. I’m glad I wasn’t with/trying to impress anyone at the time, because I was a mess. Much love.

Tame Impala. 

Tame Impala are an acquired taste, and many patrons can be forgiven for underestimating the band’s live show based on internet recordings, but Kevin Parker and co. played the perfect set. It was flawless, an incredible live spectacle. The production to music relationship was art, and the setlist was dense.

Let it happen transported the audience into the agonised psychedelic world of Tame Impala as the band was silhouetted in a wash of colour. Rave like laser lights lit up half the country during Tame’s set and accounted for some awesome moments during The Moment and Mind Mischief.

Introduced midway through the set was the best rendition/version/take of Elephant anyone will ever hear. The fan favourite was induced with electronica as raving stage production converted any sceptic into a die-hard Tame fan.

Crowd favourites saw the amphitheatre rattle as singalongs Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and Eventually proved deafening. New cut Borderline seems to be shaping up as a crowd favourite as fans swayed to the synth induced groove of Parker’s trademark high-register vocals.

Tame also equipped the best pre-encore interlude of all time, as Mutant Gossip almost destroyed the P.A to the sight of a massive strobing prism. One of the best live moments anyone could ask for, and then Trevor.

The Tame boys play their anthem The Less I Know the Better and everyone in attendance has experienced rebirth. Appropriately, New Person, Same Old Mistakes concludes Tame’s mammoth headline set and everyone walks off in an utter amazement.

I’ve never heard a quieter exit from a concert, let alone the main stage at Splendour in the Grass. My mind feels twice the size. Credit to you boys. That was something else.

More Belters!

Pond

Pond’s Thursday night Mix Up set was an absolute belter. There was no better band to fill the slot, and they killed it. Nicholas Allbrook and co. were in peak form and ripped through a dense setlist.

30,000 Megatons echoed throughout the tent and Allbrook’s wailing guitar solo proved a victorious moment of the track. Fire in the Water continues to serve as an awesome singalong as Allbrook remarks “I am Christopher Pine and I’m doing fine”.

Paint Me Silver served as a pinnacle moment of the psychedelic pre-fest bash, and new cut Daisy will be on all logical hottest 100 votes come early next year. Awesome way to start the festival for the campers and three-dayers.

Didn’t catch their Saturday set. If Thursday night was anything to go off, it would’ve been pretty bloody good.

Dave

Australia loves Dave. There really isn’t much else to say. He’s a dead set legend, as reflected by the intense engagement of such a massive crowd. Straight energy the whole set. He’s just a legend.

OOOOOOOHHHHHH THIAAAAAGO SIIIIIILLLVA.

Ruby Fields

Ruby Fields just annihilated the GW tent on Saturday. I’m surprised the bloody thing didn’t collapse. Holding a relaxed and humble demeanour throughout the entire set, Fields put on an Aussie music masterclass and embodied why Splendour is so special.

A dense set resulted in massive singalongs and many lost voices. A larrikin attitude accounts for the genius Australianisms Fields aptly incorporates into her music, and dare I say, she’s never heard em sung back to her louder than last week. It was fuckin’ deafening.

Dinosaurs, holy hell. The gates of heaven opened as the loudest singalong of the entire festival took place. I don’t know whether it was the reflections of the tent or something weird, but during that song an earthquake was registered. And deservedly so. What an absolute belter.

Yeah, she’s done it.

Tropical Fuck Storm

Gareth fuckin Liddiard. After Tame Impala expanded my mind, Liddiard and co. blew it to bits. A small crowd gathered at the GW McLennan tent and were treated to something pretty special.

Tropical Fuck Storm are just a cool band. Volatile, tight, unpredictable, dangerous. Such high energy from all members contributed to an amphitheatre worthy set.

Despite views held by the band, I’d be surprised if you didn’t hear the Trops circling the airwaves upon their next release.

Childish Gambino

Black Jesus. The man himself. Gambino pursued the role of preacher as the Saturday night amphitheatre crowd was taken to church.  Gambino pulled off the headline rapper spot with ease and performed a meticulously crafted show without even trying.

Setlist was dense. Re-work of crowd favourite 3005 was an awesome spectacle. An engaged crowd chant to the familiar “yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah-yeah go away” refrain before going absolutely ape shit to the generation defining anthem This is America.

A true performer in the peak of his soul-singing phase, Gambino resonated unabashed high notes throughout the soulful set. Awaken My Love era cuts Boogieman and Me and Your Mama were instrumentally incredible, and crowd favourite Redbone saw Gambino solidify his god-like status.

Ziggy Alberts

All journo skills are going out the window on this one. I’d never really heard/listened to Ziggy Alberts. I wasn’t going to see him because I blindly categorised him in the acoustic guitar, mumbling, generic, girls love him camp.

Sunday evening, I was pouring a couple back with the best neighbours in the fuckin world and a mate having an absolute ball. Halfa before he started, I implied I was just gonna chill out at the campsite during Alberts’ set. Mate wasn’t havin’ it. I found myself at the front of a Ziggy Alberts concert.

Complaining like a bitch, I wasn’t really expecting much. But when he came on stage, the crowd erupted and not long into his set I was fighting back the tears. Yeah, I know. He was incredible. A very humble local hero, with some proper singalongs and great acoustic guitar driven music.

Tunes I now know to be Stronger and Laps Around the Sun are just incredible cuts and are even better live. Strangely, I prefer them live.

Elliot Smith didn’t need anything more than an acoustic guitar and his voice. On the Sunday night of Splendour, neither did Ziggy Alberts. He had the entire crowd engaged throughout his hour long solo driven set.

He’s just the man really. I’d pay to see him again in a heartbeat. And that fucking Love Me Now tune has been cemented into my brain. It just isn’t leaving. Send help.

That’s Me Done…

This PSD1 (Post Splendour Depression) is slowly drifting into PSD2 (Post Splendour Determination). Cheers to everyone who made it possible. It was a ripper weekend. Until next year.

 



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