Well here we are... we have come out alive and holy moly was this year’s Splendour In The Grass was nothing short of absolute magic. Its hard when you write a recap for something like this because you just want go on and on! In true Splendour form it was absolutely scorching during the day and what felt like - as cold as the antarctic at the night. This didn't stop the latest trends of see through tops with nipple covers and the lack of pants getting around. Say goodbye to the days of the flower crown and say hello to glitter, fish nets, maybe no pants, fur coats and a bare chest - And yes I'm talking about the men as well.
Friday || Photography by Aimee Catt & Savannah Van Der
As we pulled up to camp Friday, you can imagine the excitement that flows through your veins, or maybe its anxiety because your so panicked about how you can be in two places at once, and how will your decide who to see. 100 artists and over 32,000 fans have all come to this one place at one time - incredible. What was also amazing about this years Splendour was the amount of Aussie acts. As we spent most of our afternoon at The Amphitheatre, Kingswood kicked off their set with 'Micro Wars', attracting quite the crowd whose voices could be heard echoing through the hill as they played their like a version's Destiny Child 'Say My Name'. Today saw us moving quickly and after Kingswood wrapped up off to the Mix Up tent we went to catch Cosmos Midnight. These guys incorporate an array of sounds, and the crowd appeared hypnotised by their ambient electronica providing us with non stop bangers!
From Cosmos, to Big Scary, to Kite String Tangle, then back to the Amphitheatre for Tasha Sultana. Tash Sultana at just 21 has stapled herself as one of Australia most notable artists in only just a few years. Taking a break from Europe she flew back to play her first ever Splendour In The Grass. From busking on the streets to pulling a crowd of thousands, you can imagine how humble she was to be there. Sultana dove right into her loop rig blistering guitar solos, ambient hums, bassy synths, not to mention the facial expressions that come with it all.
HAIM's ended their set with a drum battle - four drummers! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! This definitely changed my perception of the girls and I was severely impressed. The night was coming to an end and the frosty air was almost sending me into cardiac arrest but we stuck it out and The XX took to the stage opening with one of my favourite 'The Intro' and ending the set with 'Angel'. This trio is absolutely magical, and although it was one of the quieter splendour sets, their music is captivating.
Saturday || Photography by Aimee Catt, Stephen Booth, Bianca Holderness & Ian Laidlaw
Starting that Saturday off early was Hockey Dad it was awesome to see these guys play to such a big crowd. They set the tone for the day which was set to be huge. A mid-set drummer Billy took over vocals for a song, when the entire crowd began yelling at him to down a shoey, near after a skate shoe flung from the crowd into which a beer was poured and the rest is history - poor dude had to run off stage as the repurcussion of his actions hit him. What the fans want is what the fans get ;)
Confidence Man were up there on my favourites for the day, seeing them only last September playing to a small crowd to seeing them play to thousands was incredible. These guys have really taken off with their catchy tunes, choreographed dance moves and interesting outfits, not to mention the keyboardist and drummer wearing black attire with veils over their faces. The energy of their live shows is contagious and if your not dancing then theres something wrong with you. Their hit 'Bubblegum' and 'Boyfriend' had the crowd roaring.
As we made our way to The Amphitheatre to catch Dune Rats we were definitely expecting these ratbags to come out blazing, little did we think they would come out on peewee 50's, although the ride was short lived, it had people running from all around to get closer. As they played their latest release 6pack their mates threw inflatable tinnies into the crowd. Red Light Green Light', 'Scott Green' which saw Grinspoon's frontman Phil Jamieson come on to sing a cover of his band's song 'Just Ace', joined by Violent Soho guitarist James Tidswell, before the finale of 'Bullshit', which had the crowd singalong. This was set to be the day of guest appearances.
Bernard Fannings afternoon set delivered an amazing surprise when his ex bandmates, Powderfinger jumped on stage with him, awardly though the drummer was invited. Jon Coghill, Powderfinger's former drummer, who was apparently not invited to play.
Coghill told the ABC that he found out about the show after he got a text from a friend who was in the crowd:
"When I heard about it, someone texted me to say, 'Oh I loved the gig' and stuff like that, I just thought, what's going on? And I saw it, and I thought oh that's a bit strange. So I was a bit surprised, but it is what it is."
"You got to remember that we were together for 20 years and for about the first 10 years of that [...] I was a bit of a mean guy who didn't like to lose an argument.
"So if those guys feel like there's a bit of bad blood, I don't blame them. But I really don't think there is, I think it's completely innocent and it's been taken out of proportion."
According to Coghill, Fanning says the whole thing was spur of the moment and totally not a big deal.... brutal.
Nevertheless we enjoyed it and decided to park our butts at the main stage for the rest of the night, gearing up for Future Island, Catfish and The Bottlemen, Royal Blood, and Queens Of The Stone Age.
The current gods of rock Royal Blood, two men -- a bass -- and drums, definitely played the loudest, heaviest set at Splendour this year. How the hell does so much sound come from two people. Playing tracks like 'Out Of The Black', 'Little Monster' ..ahhhhhh I could of watched these guys over and over again.
To top off the day off, the long awaited set of Queens Of The Stone Age. "We've come to fuck with your head," said Josh Homme and did they ever. A 20 year career and a new album under their belt, theres no slowing down for this band. As the crowd headband they played huge hit 'Little Sister', 'My God Is The Sun' and ultimate crowd pleaser 'No One Knows' which made everybody go absolutely nuts. I only wish they had a bigger crowd.
Sunday || Photography by Aimee Catt, Charlie Hardy, Ian Laidlaw, Justin Ma & Savannah Van Der
The time had come, the last day of Splendour. We weren't off to a good start as I went to the toilet cubicle near our camp to hear the girl next to me screaming because someone had a taken a shit in the sink. Yep day 3, rough as guts!
This was the day it took me twice as long to walk anywhere, twice as long to compute what was happening around me and twice as long for my neurone function to kick into gear but regardless we pushed on, beginning the day with The Murlocs.. a set not to be missed, followed by The Peep Temple then of too GW McLennan for Kirin J Callinan's set which was fascinating and beyond entertaining, although we cut it short to head back to the main stage to catch The Smith Street Band.
Will Wagner the lead singer couldn't stop thanking the crowd, saying that a few years ago when they played to a crowd a quarter of the size they though that would be the peek of their career and couldn't believe how many people they were playing to. Sitting up the hill you could see the punters coming in hot and looking down at the mosh, somehow it had developed into three death pits, bodies flying everywhere.
Next up was highlight of the day for me, characters Client Liaison with a guest appearance from Tina Arena blessing the crowd with the 1994 track, 'Sorrento Moon', which had everybody singing along. The performance was nothing short of timeless. “I was welling up during rehearsals in an undisclosed location in the Byron Bay hinterlands,” Miller admitted. Client Liaison are iconic and it was incredible to see.
We stayed to catch the beginning of School Boy Q get 'Gangsta' whiles the crowd turned into a zoo with arms frolicking everywhere. Everyone bringing out their inner thug. I couldn't of been smiling harder watching people from all walks of life just going nuts. The night was closing in and we quickly made our way to see Pond. The band are accustomed to the Splendour stage but for some reason their set was really quite which meant we didn't really get the full experience of the bands sound. What we did get to see though was Nick Allbrook fall off Kirin J Callinan's shoulders on stage which lit the crowd up with laughter. Wasting no time he sprung back up and got straight back up to where he fell to continue the set, which was pretty damn good!
It was a shame King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard weren't playing the main stage which they could of definitely filled as the crowd was piling out of every area, all the way back to the stalls. We were lucky to get in nice and close although it was like a stampede, with people taking to the poles for height. Gizz are one of those bands you can see a thousands times and you will ALWAYS be amazed!
LCD Soundsystem made their long awaited Aussie return to close the huge festival, playing for an hour and a half. When they played popular track 'All My Friends' the crowd went into a frenzy giving them the reaction they deserved, the energy finding its way through the crowd as The Amphitheatre packed out for the final band. You couldn't even tell that they had a hiatus for 5 years, completely feeding off one another embracing the return!
A big thanks to Splendour In The Grass for having us a long this year!, and we cant wait to see what next years line up has in store for us!
Review - Jariah Travan