Approaching this album with an open mind and disregarding their discography is a hard task, considering their complete back catalogue is utterly flawless. Just try and find an average song on any of their 6 previous albums! I haven’t! The album begins with a slow tempo tracks If Not Now, When? Promises, Promises and Friends And Lovers. Each song is lacking intensity in the music, and just roll gently, driven solely by Brandon Boyd’s incredible voice, which scales brilliantly on If Not Now, When and turning to intimacy on heartfelt track Friends and Lovers; acting as the sole precursor for building mood with his brilliant vocal range. Thieves opens with a trademark Incubus guitar riff, melodies and hard guitar driven chorus moments. Isadore just comes off as another love song dedication, there are a lot on this album, too many perhaps, I can’t begin to imagine how many girls he went through in the making of this album.
Switchblade is one of the standouts on the album, where there is constant guitar driven energy, supported by a meandering bass line, but once again it seems like Boyd has avoided hard hitting choruses and break downs in his tracks, to give a more flowing feeling. It takes until track 10 in the form of first single Adolescents, to hear their trademark sound, using delicate guitar melodies, building into big choruses powered by Boyd’s repetition “out of sight, out of mind”. This album was always intended to be different, being six years since their last release of Light Grenades in 2006, on EnjoyIncubus.com Incubus stated: “True to the Incubus legacy, this album is nothing like its predecessor, but still maintains that quintessential Incubus vibe.” However, If Not Now, When? comes off as a Brandon Boyd solo album, the music is lacking the intensity that is ever-present in previous albums, and the songs are solely driven by Brandon Boyd’s incredible voice. Take that away and your left with an album that lacks intensity, energy, any depth and quality in the music, and has very few standouts. Having stated in NME “This new record is different to anything we’ve done. We’re gonna kind of challenge our fans with this one”, I think many fans are, as I have, going to struggle to connect with this one.
There is a moment when you stop and think...shit! What have I been doing with my life!? Well there is this 16 year old British musician that makes me think exactly that. Yes, 16. Every time I hear his music. I'm talking, of course, of Zoo Kid. Boasting deeply toned vocals with a charming cockney accent, Zoo Kid crafts magnificent songs laden with a range of emotional teen angst. In Out Getting Ribs, he conveys this angst through his rustic tone and lyrics "hate..runs through my blood..I was broken down..so much I knew I was lost and down" which expemplifies rising teenage angst; themes of love and loss belying his age; which are complemented with delicate guitar plucking, building in key moments of the song. There is a low-fi feel to his recordings, which were recorded by him and two friends in his bedroom, with the muted cough, and inaudible words spoken off mike. Yet the song has an intricate quality, and in its raw state, the song comes off as quite intimate. Zoo Kid's, other releases are amazing, 7 of which are featured on his bandcamp site http://zookid.bandcamp.com/. It will be interesting to see how his current material and future material mould into a debut EP or LP. Enjoy track Out Getting Ribs below:
Scorching guitar riffs, ethereal reverb soaked vocals, backed by a rhythm of monstrous proportions. This describes local songstress Abbey May's new single Design Desire; a thumping track blending blues and hard rock elements, with her trademark vocal blend which adds a unique psychedelic feel to the song. It’s a hard hitting track! Her rock image has plenty of attitude, tattoos and dark clothing encapsulated by her doll-like features. Future pin up? I think so! Abbe May has impressed audiences nationwide, and to promote her third album Design Desire, she will be playing the Annandale Hotel this Thursday the 25th August. It’s cheap, so get down and see the countries next rock star in full flight! Feel the force!
Hunting Grounds (formerly Howl), the 2009 Triple J Unearthed High winners return with their trademark high-octane rock with new single In Colour. Drawing on the sound that made their first 2 EPs, and their live show so energetic and wild, Hunting Grounds fuse their signature sounding double edged guitars with huge choruses which bring throbbing synths and catchy riffs, to create another killer track. Hunting Grounds harness the recklessness of youth through their music, resulting in some of the most energetic music in the Australian music scene. If you haven't seen their live show, you haven’t lived! They are completely out of control! They know exactly how to get the room moving. They support The Living End on their tour, playing a second Enmore show on September 4.
If you haven't heard Gotye's new release, you have been living under a rock. Arguably the hottest talent in Australian music right now, Gotye (originally dubbed Wouter De Backer) wowed Australian audiences with his swooning release with Kimbra 'Somebody That I Used To Know', and now has Australian audiences scrambling for his latest album Making Mirrors: last week’s feature album on Triple J. One of the most outstanding tracks off the record is State Of The Art, which is a song about his innate love for a multi-function Cotillion D575 organ his parents bought him, which made all other technology seem inadequate. If you can look past the incredible voice effects Gotye employs throughout the song, he is basically describing the features "I put the genie bass on, so my left hand can play the choir", over the top of some of the most interesting array of sounds, most of which were created on his ‘state of the art’ Cotillion D575 organ. Always pushing the barriers on the experimental sounds he creates, Gotye has once again created a masterpiece of music. The new album Making Mirrors has already made waves, overtaking Adele as number one on the ARIA Charts (FINALLY!), and completely selling out his October tour, including 5 Melbourne shows AT THE SAME VENUE. Currently the only chance to catch his live show is at Homebake in December! The incredibly well animated clip to State Of The Art is yours to enjoy below, which uses cartoon stylings remeniscent of 20th century Cartoon Network.
Swooning audiences is what the gorgeous Owl Eyes does best. In all aspects of her artistry. Owl Eyes is fresh wowing audiences on her support slot of the Darwin Deez Tour, in particular a clearly moved Deez, who was very vocal in his affections for her "I could think of nothing better than to sit in the park with Owl Eyes and drink cider, and maybe kiss her a little..." but then again who wasn't thinking that! Headlining a nation-wide tour this time round in support of her 'Raiders EP', Owl Eyes plays a FREE gig at Beach Road Hotel this Wednesday the 24th August, and returns to play GoodGod Small Club on Thursday the 1st September. Expect a wide range of indie kids swaying with a glassy unmovable gaze at this one! I decided to put up her cover of Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks for your listening pleasure, but be sure to check out new single Raiders!
In an extremely unorthodox approach for a hard rock act, opening support band Wolves appeared with a female violinist supporting the traditional guitar, drums and bass arrangement. She seemed to act as a rhythm section, however her impact was limited by a wall of bass and guitar; her violin only being audible in the intros. Solid performance, but all eyes were on the hugely anticipated acts to come.
Melbourne prog-rockers Closure In Moscow took to the stage with huge confidence, mostly in the form of overly-zealous lead singer Chris de Cinque, draped in his trademark gold cape, starting plenty of risqué banter for the warm up. Closure came off as quite shaky for the first few songs, which I could very easily put down to their recent band member shuffle, having evicted their prolific drummer Beau McKee who mastered the insanely complex beats on their killer debut First Temple and former bassist Brad Kimber. Vibing off the huge hype of First Temple, they stuck to the classics, and pumped out absolutely huge, heaving, technical tracks like Kissing Cousins, Vanguard, Afterbirth and Acrecibo Message to the delight of a select few audience members. Once they are in stride, Closure In Moscow are a wall of energy and with the technicality of their music, sometimes it’s hard to keep up, in particular the constant shredding, screaming guitars and complex and ever-changing drum beats. Having seen them off the back of their album release with the former line-up, I am extremely objective, particularly of the new drummer, but they played a massive set and warmed up the crowd to a tee, closing with Sweetheart. Hopefully new material is in the pipeline soon!
Exuberating confidence being fresh off the back of a month long US tour, a headline UK tour, and a massive record deal in the US; Dead Letter Circus brought their unique breed of progressive rock to the packed Manning Bar stage. Opening with hugely energetic track The Mile off their debut self-titled EP, they had the mosh pit bouncing and moving from the very beginning. A very noticeable trait of DLC is their stage presence. Each member exudes a huge amount of energy, but they each have their own personas and style. Bassist Stewart Hill is an absolute monster on his equally monstrous bass (which looks identical to Karnivool bassist Jon Stockman's 6 string beast, only 1 string less, and emits an equally heavy sound) thrashing head and torso. Singer Kim Benzie is the soothing centre of emotional control of the band, standing tall and projecting his incredible voice over the crowd, changing the mood with his incredible vocal range. Drummer Luke Williams was an absolute animal on his kit, bringing a huge energy, with the beats he constructed on debut LP This Is The Warning.
DLC had the entire mosh pit heaving by the 3rd song; Benzie encouraged the mayhem throughout, with circle pits breaking out in the claustrophobic Manning enclosure, and plenty of violent moshing going down. Benzie had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and the crowd were completely immersed in the music screaming lyrics of every song to the sheer delight of the band. It was one of those rare performances where the band and the audience are in complete harmony and vibe off each other’s pulsating energy. DLC came off as heavily experienced rockers (having a 6 year history), performing every song with painstaking accuracy, and adding a huge live presence to their songs. Veteran DLC supporters were treated to Alien, Disconnect And Apply, Lines and The Mile off their debut self-titled EP, which gained a huge reception. The more recent tracks to gain huge attention on Triple J; One Step and Cage, were played with flawless edge, showing off the vocal prowess of Benzie, hitting incredible highs which were both intimate and brooding which turned to pure aggression in the choruses. Heavier songs Here We Divide and Next In Line were separated by an encore, thank Thor, since the mosh went completely insane for the wall of guitar and bass backed by a double kick and monstrous breakdowns.
In a special appearance, MM9 front man Daniel Sutherland joined the band onstage to add a second layer of drums to the finale This Is The Warning, which proved to be a political backdrop for the band's NO FRACKING WAY environmental fight against unsafe mining of coal seam gas in suburban areas. The finale This Is The Warning progressed into a 4-way tribal drum which had a huge energy and proved to be the icing on one of the most epic live shows I've witnessed. DLC have proved they are now in the presence of Australian prog-rock greats alongside Karnivool, Cog and Butterfly Effect. To Give you an idea of their intensity and energy in a live arena, check out the amazing clip for One Step below, filmed completely backwards. Like their not already talented enough!
In DLC related news; according to the band's website, the US release of DLC's latest record This Is The Warning will push the release of their new album back about a year, so expect a July 2012 drop for new material. As for the direction, lead singer Benzie stated "I think we’re kind of in a cyborg half-human, half-robot stage at the moment. Yeah, I definitely think we could (be going in an electronic direction). We’re leaning toward a bigger, fatter sound, rather than just the guitars" in an interview with Scott Sugarman for RockEdition.com
Day Three started the same as most, although the hangover was multiplied by three, and the Lack of sleep was not aided by good friend and colleague King Kong of Chong, singing passionate love song dedications in solitude for a solid hour in the next tent. Beautiful. Hilarious. A tad over zealous perhaps. I’ll give you a sample of his work below.
The cross country treck to the Ampitheatre stage was rewarded by a three-way orgy of aural pleasure courtesy of Hungry Kids of Hungary, The Vaccines and Cloud Control. Accompanied by about 30 friends, we started the party with our inane and unorthodox dancing styles!
The Vaccines served up a fantastic offering, taking the audience on a trip back in time with their take on British guitar driven rock which, while fresh, has a very old feel to it. One of the newest bands to be thrown into the Splendour mix, we were given a run through their debut album What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Which included hits like Post Break Up Sex, Wreckin’ Bar, Wetsuit, Norgard, Wolf Pack and more. I wouldn’t be surprised if they played the whole album, since most of the songs are 2-3 minutes long. Solid Set.
Cloud Control turned out to be one of the most randomly exciting performances, with much strangeness! The first would have to be the stampede of people who were charging up and down the steep Amphitheatre hill, completely at random throughout the entirety of the set. Secondly, we were treated to an impromptu Lion King interlude during Gold Canary, in honour of their bassist whose absence was warranted with a new child. This sparked a sea of giant balloons to be thrown into the crowd, which bounced around joyfully at the hands of the mosh pit. It was quite overwhelming for a few mosh pitters, whose heads were permanently glued to the anarchy taking place on the hill, completely forgetting the band was there! An outstanding set by one of Australia’s most promising young talents, exerting much energy and enthusiasm; that was lapped up by a very responsive crowd.
It is not very common for an artist whose songs are sung completely in another language to connect with an Australian audience, but Yelle proved that it is not a barrier for fans to access her music. Emerging in a huge, hooded camouflage poncho, slowly from side of stage; Yelle seduced the audience with her bouncy electro-pop, sung completely in French. Most interestingly, all of her interactions with the crowd were also in French. But her energy was radiating brilliantly, throwing away her cape for a sexy, body-hugging, red lycra ONESIE, in which she bounced around stage with quirky dance moves and seductive movements. I was most certainly seduced.
In a surprise announcement during their Splendour performance, The Middle East stated that “this will be our last performance together as a band” which is incredibly disappointing after only 2 albums. I am incredibly grateful I was treated to personal favourites The Darkest Side, Blood, and Jesus Came to My Birthday Party. The Darkest Side was a particularly moving sentiment, the soft and delicate male and female vocals complementing each other beautifully.
In harsh contrast to the previous act, Friendly Fires brought the dance back to the Mix Up Tent with their unique blend of rock infused electronic dance-punk. Incredibly pleased to hear Photobooth, Lovesick and Jump in the Pool, the main focus was on the new material, hitting out the huge new singles Hawaiian Air and Live Those Days Tonight. I was hell bent that they would play In The Hospital, a hugely monumental song, but I was left hanging dry on that one. I was dancing up a storm, which is surprising considering the pain I must have been in, which I wasn’t apparently feeling!
Cut Copy have been a bit neglected in my music collection for a long time, but their live performance showed me why they are such a HUGE force in Australian dance music. The crowd were going absolutely bananas for every single tune! This was a very new experience for me this Splendour, having known the majority of the music of the bands I had seen thus far. Lights and Music was mental, and got such an amazing response, as well as Hearts on Fire, and new songs Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution, which has the FUNKIEST beat, and popular dance track Take Me Over. Check out the video below, taken side of stage, with a heavy drum presence! Awesome!
As destiny has it, only one headliner could possibly finish off a more than perfect weekend: Coldplay! Perched atop of the monstrous hill that overlooks the main stage, I was exhausted, cold, depleted and defeated. If not for my loyal troupe of Chong, Tommy, Alex and Kate; I would have either given up on that colossal hill, or passed out in a ditch before they even started. But there we were, standing atop the hill in a mutual loving embrace, arms on shoulders, singing heart-warming songs like Yellow, Clocks, In My Place, Fix You, and The Scientist. That was a beautiful moment that will never be forgotten. Chris Martin puts his soul into his music, that much is evident, but it is so rare to see such honesty and love come out of a performance. There they were. All four performers playing to each other back to back like they were brothers and best friends, and playing with such passion and genuine enjoyment! A birthday celebration was dealt unto the drummer with the help of the crowd who issued the standard Birthday song in full voice, which is as unusual as it is rare. The show was an eclectic mix of lasers, lighting and imagery which changed the mood completely for each song. It could have been the toll of a long weekend wearing my barriers down, but I felt so much strong emotion during Coldplay’s performance, particularly during The Scientist(below) that I was close to tears from the beauty of the moment. Overwhelming stuff!
So Splendour has concluded for another year, and I am extremely happy to say that I made the most of this experience, saw every single band I intended to see, some 26 live acts and numerous other DJs and whatnot, made new friends, destroyed myself physically and mentally, and danced like a lunatic at every given opportunity! I’d say it was a VERY accomplished Splendour! Hoorah! Thanks for reading, I hope take something out this review! Happy Days!
Day Two. Hungover. Lethargic. Hungry. Hurting... and PUMPED for another EPIC day of nonstop musical talent from all parts of the globe! Bring on day nummer zwei of the Splendour Bender!!
Kicking off the day two preceedings were Cut Off Your Hands at the Ampitheatre. The volume they were allowed by the stage crew was not audible enough for the huge Amphitheatre stage, and sitting on the hill, the sound was not great, slightly muted. They put on a good performance, playing a variety of slower songs mid set, and bringing home with the more upbeat crowd favourites Expectations, Still Fond and Oh Girl. It was far too early in the day to move, and the sparse crowd were clearly recharging their batteries from a huge first day.
Sticking to the Ampitheatre to witness a new found pleasure of mine, Dananananaykroyd, the band were very eager to get the static crowd moving with a lively entrance and a crowd interaction that I have never witnessed at a large festival. They had enough vigour to get me up and into the mosh pit after one song, to get me dancing, singing and partying! Having two lead singers gives Dana the confidence to innovate and interact with the crowd a little more intimately. Both of them jumped down into the crowd, forming a small circle pit, and showing their hardcore roots, screamed to a seemingly improve backing to the crowds delight! Shortly afterwards, the two orchestrated, very successfully a “Wall of Hugs” in sheer contrast to the “Wall of Death” which is popular in metal circles, they separated the mosh in 2 halves and on cue, both sides ran at each other, hugging randoms, and making new friends. It worked! Wow! Over the course of the weekend, this was without a doubt the most fun I had during a performance, and the most randomly awesome set! Just as impressive was their music, which was played with a vigour that is unseen for early bands in a 1pm slot, most impressive were songs from their debut LP, Hey Everyone! such as Some Dresses and Black Wax.
Foster The People were next, and it was very clear they were a hugely popular attraction, with the high amount of airplay on Triple J in the past year for Houdini and Pumped Up Kicks, the audience were SO into the music, and received such an incredible response to the crowd, it provoked an honest response from Mark Foster “I seriously can’t believe this.. it’s the most amount of people we’ve played for that actually sing along to our songs! You guys have such a music culture.. it’s all about the music here!” The Mix Up Tent was an absolute sess pool of dancing, flailing, singing, and screaming bodies when Pumped Up Kicks was played. This was definitely the anthem of Splendour 2011. Check out the Triple J live recording of this song (and more) below! Definitely worth the long intro!
Sticking around the dance-infused Mix Up Tent for Muscles seemed like a good idea. The crowd were hungry for the electro-dance infused songs which gained him huge popularity however many years ago they came out. However, Mr. Muscles opted for a very unorthodox approach, taking the stage solo for the entirety of the set, with different instruments placed around the stage, deciding to play 3 different renditions of Ice Cream, one acoustic, a new song Koala, an average song that cued a bunch of people in Koala suits to come out and danced in a silly manner (so original!), and a few others I couldn’t really remember. The most bewildering part was how he kept yelling “WE LOVE MUSCLES!” I don’t know if this guy has self-esteem issues, but it just comes across as if he is trying way to hard for people to like him. Unfortunately, probably the most unimpressive live act of the weekend.
Architecture Helsinki rekindled my love of Australian alternative music with a thoroughly enjoyable set that embraced all of their nerdy quirkiness, in both personality and the music. Very deserving of their late spot on a main stage, they were thoroughly entertaining from the very beginning, inspiring much eccentric movement among the spectators. Unfortunately I had to run to Mars Volta before personal favourites Contact High and That Beep were played, but I was left thoroughly satisfied.
The Mars Volta was very high on my list of bands to see. A clash with Architecture wouldn’t stop me from dying to rock out to their technical rock. I had an unfortunate moment at Big Day Out when watching their set and rocking out, bouncing around, headbanging incessantly, my friends, a little down on their appreciation of hard/technical rock, dragged me away to see someone far less impressive. Time for redemption! Omar Rodriguez and Cedric, the original pairing from popular rock band At The Drive In, were in full force, bringing their unique take on rock, fusing elements from many different genres into a highly technical and mind-bending sound. Their presence was felt from the very moment I walked in, their aggressive style drawing similarity to the popular acid-rock of the 70s, and during Omar’s extensive technical, and shredding guitar solos, I got the feel I was witnessing a modern day Jimi Hendrix in full flight! The drummer was playing so hard and passionately, Cedric putting every breath of life into his howling vocals; the bassist and keyboardist just melted into the high voltage melting pot of Mars Volta’s juggernaut of a performance. MASSIVE!
A bried cameo by soft rockers Gomez were next, followed up by the gorgeous Regina Spektor, beginning the set as a picturesque sole figure on stage seated at her grand piano, with a single light illuminating her soft features and measured movements. Inside the G.W Mclellan Tent, there was a noticeable problem with the sound. It was not as loud as it should have been, and was blurred somewhat, apparently from the heavy dance tunes that the nearby Mix Up Tent were emitting, and also by the crowd, who were either singing along to her songs, or murmuring amongst each other. It would have been a thousand times better had the sound been clearer, but it wasn’t hard to appreciate her immeasurable talent, and equally immeasurable voice, which is one of the most unique female vocalists I have ever come across. Regina’s renditions of Samson, Blue Lips and Fidelity were as lovely as ever, and got a great reception. Such a shame about the sound problems though.
PNAU closed DAY TWO with an absolute killer showcase in some of the best electro dance music this country has to offer. With a very evenly spread setlist which featured songs off their brilliant (and personal favourite) self titled LP Wild Strawberries, Baby and No More Violence; a selection of tracks off their freshly dropped, and recently Triple J Feature Album of the Week, Soft Universe including new favourites The Truth and Solid Ground. Nick Littlemore was in full swing, and proved once again why he is such a key player in modern dance music (also with Empire of the Sun and Teenager). There was much crazy dancing, fist pumping, bouncing, shouting, and general delight as PNAU delivered a monstrous set of joyous proportions to a joyful audience. The perfect way to cap off the day!
If you missed Splendour In The Grass 2011 and are keen to hear what you missed, or attended and experienced an absolute melting pot of musical talent and an overall killer 3 day festival, but were too scat to remember/too crumpled to see some of your fave bands, or just want to reminisce the good times...whatever your deal is; I deliver to you the most thorough round up you are bound to find on the interweb!
With mother nature smiling down upon the Splendid Splendour In The Grass faithful, the early entrants to the music arena were rewarded with a hugely entertaining set from Kimbra, who charmed with all of her vocal prowess, and looping vocals to impress a seemingly hungover early crowd. Following her were one of the biggest drawcards of the weekend for myself, the vocal extraordinares: Wild Beasts! Wild Beasts drew the small crowd at the shaded GW Mclennan tent in for an intimate treat; an absolute lesson in vocal ecstacy; a heart-busting and thrusting set full of brooding melodies and pulsating rhythms that had the crowd swooning, moving and shaking (when their collective jaws weren't dragging along the ground). Drawing from a healthy range of new and old songs, they tore through their set with rigorous energy, swooning the crowd with Albatross, which turned to foot-shuffling for a energetic rendition of Devil's Crayon, only interrupted by the intervals which allow the absurd falsetto of Hayden Thorpe to emanate through the collective bodies of the crowd. Other highlights include The Fun Powder Plot, This Is Our Lot and All The Kings Men. Wild Beasts were an absolute standout act from the 30+ artists I saw over the three days, to put it in perspective, I talked one of my good friends into seeing them, not having ever heard them before, and he was speechless at the richness and absurdity of the vocals, and was left wanting more (as was I) not helped by their late entrance and seemingly early exit from stage!
A short stroll over to the Mix Up Tent was received with a thick and restless crowd chatting incessantly in excitement for the minimal dubstep crooner James Blake. The expectation for James Blake was building a wall of suspense, and was completely overwhelmed by the crowd on entrance, the applause lasting a full minute! James Blake was quick to break into his set, opening with Willhelms Scream, putting a spell on the crowd with his incredible voice, the audience were swaying in a complete trance, completely immersed in the intimacy, his voice expelling a contradictory coldness and warmth, only broken by the uneven snare and bass, and a harsh ambient build up, till nothing. Perfect start. When Blake broke into his rendition of his cover of Feist's Limit To Your Love, you could tell he had the complete attention of the audience. Theres a beautiful moment when everything around you becomes obselete, and the body and mind becomes completely immersed in the music, and if there was one moment at Splendour, for me, this was it. The opening piano, accompanied by Blake's rich vocals "Theres a limit to your love, like a map with no ocean" dropped into the heaviest and most absurdly body shaking bass I have ever experienced. The sub-bass was so low, and so wobbly, it shook every inch of the body, enough to make you pregnant/weep/soil yourself, I felt like I had experienced all three! We were then treated to an extended sub-bass break with reggae type drums, which made for a very danceable beat! James Blake also treated the crowd to I Never Learnt To Share and CMYK. The sub-bass....WOW! It was very clear we had experienced one of the most original and most prolific emerging artists in the world right now, his minimal dubstep sound is so unique! The only tiny hiccup, which I found more hilarious than annoying, were meatheads wandering through the mosh shouting "Where's the dubstep bro!?" unaware and completely uneducated in both dubstep as a genre the fact that they were experiencing a completely new and exciting adaptation to dubstep, and the lowest and thickest sub-bass EVER!
A short interval, and a heavily anticipated set by Does It Offend You, Yeah? was on the cards. Any mixed feelings about the new album, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You were quashed by an absolute killer of a live show. DIOYY know how to start a party! The energy they exert from the stage is like receiving a slap in the face, and a kick in the back..which is perfect if your in the mood to unleash a flurry of wild dance moves, a challenge to which I gladly accepted. Playing songs from the new album, and the old, DIOYY pulled out all the stops, lead by the huge driving figurehead of lead singer James Rushent, and backed by a wall of synths, bass and fast, hard beats; they played With A Heavy Heart, Dawn Of The Dead and a few showstoppers off the new album. A set I would of loved to enjoy fully, but had to cut short due to a very modest clash.
With a HUGE clash in the way of Modest Mouse running into DIOYY's set, I had a huge decision to make. It was made easier by the fact that, going back in my musical education, Modest Mouse were one of the first bands to present to me the genre of indie rock, with the album Good News For People Who Love Bad News; and if not for them, I may not even be at Splendour! So cutting DIOYY's set short, and trudging to the Ampitheatre for the spectacle, my ears were rewarded on arrival with Fly Trapped In A Jar, which is a jarry, buzzing, complex song, and Isaac Brock projecting his hoarse voice aggressively out over the gathered crowd with "one wing isn't even enough to live!" The other highlight of the set was Dashboard, but somehow I was on an unanticipated come-down from the intense partying energy vibe of DIOYY and couldn't fully get into the set, settling in by singing along to the familiar tunes.
Gotye had a huge buzz surrounding him following his recent release with the gorgeous Kimbra: Somebody That I Used To Know, and had the room speculating heavily whether we would be graced with a rendition, and to the sheer delight and very vocal elation of the crowd, Kimbra strolled out mid set, and we were treated to a very intimate rendition. It was very well acted by both artists, with Kimbra standing routed to one spot, completely emotionless, staring off into the distance for the entire song. Well played. We also got a few hits off his highly rated album Like Drawing Blood, which hit number 11 on Triple Js Hottest 100 Australian Albums of All Time, including Hearts A Mess, and Thanks For Your Time allowing Gotye to show the full extent of his vocal ability, and raw emotion behind the experimental stylings of his music.
The Hives proved to be the perfect warm up act to Kanye West, with an egotistical display from lead singer 'Howlin' Pelle Almqvist' (yes, thats his stage name which isn't bad compared to drummer 'Chris Dangerous' and 'Vigilante Carlstroem') which is unequaled to any artist I've witnessed to date. In thirty minutes I was treated to 2 renditions of Tick Tick Boom, seperated by a seemingly endless, somewhere around 10-15 minutes, of the most absurd, rambling, and slightly creative band member introductions. Another 5 minutes was spent attempting to get the entire packed out mosh pit to squat down, during which he yelled profanities at anyone who was unable to squat down such as "you must be retarded" and preceeded to imitate a retard while insulting these poor Splendourers. Wow.
Kanye proved to be relatively subdued in comparison, however his stage set up spoke volumes in itself. A gigantic Roman style backdrop that deceivingly looked 3D and solid, that wouldn't of looked out of place on the roof of the Sistine Chapel ceiling. His performance was split into three 'Acts', each with a different feel, and emotion. The dance troupe were on song, providing a flurry of movement to contrast Kanye's static meandering on stage. In all, Kanye put in a solid performance, and had the crowd at his feet, singing and dancing throughout. It must be noted that Kanye shows more emotion in his cartoon debut as a gay fish in South Park. However, in a personal note, I wasn't really feeling his performance and didn't think his boisterous and ego-driven style and extravagance really fit into the fabric of the Splendour quilt. Not to mention the hordes of attendees who quite vocally forked out five hundred odd dollars just to see Kanye West and displayed a varying level of intolerance towards the other innumerous artists at the festival.
In all, an incredible first day, topped off by Teepee Partying to chunky dubstep and hard electro at the Teepee Forest and washed down with herbal tea at the completely chilled 24/7 Chai Tea Tent, which is the most chilled and relaxed environment you could possibly hope for at 3am in the morning on a freezing night. They even allow people to sleep there! Perfection.