Review: Laneway Festival, Sydney

Preceding Sunday’s Laneway Festival there were threats of a scorching weekend in Sydney of temperatures in the high 30s and approaching early 40s, so sure, everyone got a bit paranoid after seeing the footage of the horrific fires running through Victoria. But arriving at the gates of the Laneway festival near Circular Quay the heat that was expected was not evident which was comforting to those of us who knew we would get cramped in narrow laneways and in The Basement. Alas! As I shuffled my way up to get my tickets scanned I was stopped for numerous minutes after a young blonde girl was caught with a flask of alcohol in her bag. tsk tsk. But she got off scott-free, they just took her flask. Knowing me I wanted to see her get booted out, there are rules for a reason, but I think I wanted to see it happen because I do like drama sometimes. It amuses me. Plus, I could feel the sun on my skin and it was starting to burn to that 30something degrees that was predicted over the past 7 days. Buzz. I was through the entrance and inside the mouth of the festival.

Reiby Place

The first thing I did was bounce over to see Philadelphia Grand Jury who didn’t do a bad job at drawing a bit of a crowd in Reiby Pl, but as per usual people just stood and watched like robots. The only exception was obvious through some sing-alongs and foot-tapping to ‘Going To The Casino’ which has had radio play and was played on the new Underbelly. Gasp! But in the tradition of seeing PGJ my friend Mel and I shook our hips, jumped, screamed out lyrics and swung our hair around..with the addition of jumping around like kangaroos. We’re pretty sure they loved it.

Yves Klein Blue

We then gave Jack Ladder a 15minute visit down in The Basement before we decided that we had too much serotonin in our bodies to stand and listen so we grabbed a beer and wine before heading off to Papa vs Pretty. In the past I have raved about these guys on my other blog but to sum it down these guys are pretty tight and know how to play their instruments at a level more than a lot of the middle of the road music floating around right now. Expect to hear more and see more of these guys because they have some exciting times approaching (once they turn 18). Half way through their set we dashed over to Reiby Place to see the second half of Yves Klein Blue where people seemed in high spirits and YKB were enjoying themselves through heat, wind, thirst and bubbles (someone was blowing bubbles!). More dancing was done and the crowd got excited over ‘Polka’ which was specially saved for last. I could hear people behind me say “this is that song on that ad!”. Sigh. We stuck around for Born Ruffians who embraced the weather in their singlets. I enjoyed their set, the vocals were hard to decode in ‘Foxes Mate For life’ but it was intriguing nonetheless. I wish I had stayed for the whole set, I thought Tame Impala would be promising and since they clashed I decided to watch half/half. So I removed myself from the barricade right at the front and weaved through the crowd. This guy attacked me verbally saying “YOU’VE GOT TO BE FUCKING KIDDING? RIGHT? WHAT A FUCKING JOKE” just because I was leaving to watch another band. He was probably right though, to be honest I should have stayed because Tame Impala left no impression except for me to question what the fuss is all about.

The sweat, red faces and exhaustion of voices was all happening down in the Basement over the excitement of Port O’Brien. The line for The Basement weaved around the corner and we thought there was no chance of getting in and after about 20 minutes in line we finally made it where they delivered my favourites, ‘Fisherman’s Son’, ‘Close The Lid’ and ‘I Woke Up Today’. They left the latter till last and invited the boys from Yves Klein Blue and Papa vs Pretty up on stage with pots, pans and tambourines in hand to join the mania of screaming and jovial stomping. We all got breathless singing “I WOKE UP TODAY IN A VERY SIMPLE WAY/IN THE MORNING ALL I COULD DO WAS SING! OOOOH OOOH OH OH OH”. Port O’Brien were definitely one of the highlights of the day for me, they just had a great energy and stage presence.

The other highlight of my time at Laneway was seeing Cut Off Your Hands. I squirmed my way to the front barricade and waited in anticipation. The crowd built up behind me and being in that situation in a laneway with a full bladder is not a good idea, but the lines for the toilets were extensive so I had to think of happy things like sunshine and bunnies and COYH, not that the dancing and singing of lyrics helped it at all..But COYH are one of my favourite bands and have been since their days as Shaky Hands. They kept up the exciting atmosphere with Nick bashing the tom drum, stage diving and his front-man antics of getting the audience all giddy. I know I sure was, but that is just because I’m biased. Their guitarist, Mikey Ramirez, is off to get married so this was his last public show and the support he got from his band members was truly lovely. Hands down their entire set was my favourite for the day.

Mikey from COYH shadow

Cut Off Your Hands

I finished my night off by indulging in more dancing but this time at the Red Bull Academy Stage where El Guincho pulled out his tropical Spanish beats and many hips (and other body parts) were shaking. Proceeding that my attention span was at its minimum so I passed on seeing the headliners and lay on the grass instead. I was pretty happy with the whole day, I heard negative reports on the Melbourne laneway but this one didn’t have as many bogans, annoying girls or annoying tools on drugs or unbearable heat as I had prepared myself for. Another laneway passed, another one to look forward to.

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1 comment
  1. Joshua said:

    Firekites and tiger beers were the highlights of the day.

    I did see a council worker walking around the festival with ear plugs and a big microphone attached to a box. Testing sound levels I guess. I think the enforced sound restrictions on the Park Stage had more to do with ordinary performance we got out of Tame Impala, then anything else. I’ll find out at OAF, but i’m quietly confident.

    Wasn’t happy with the consitesntly packed capacity of the Basement, bathrooms and lack of gooood food. Lets hope they don’t try and get to big for their shoesy’s.

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