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On the way into Splendour In The Grass day two, we were tipped off that Gaz from Yacht Club DJs lost a bet that he’d have to carry a guitar onstage to Twinsy lead singer, Michael, if he broke a string. No nudity, unfortunately, but it didn’t matter, as their set was ridiculously good. They played as a 6-piece, with added brass, giving their sound real depth when coupled with live drums and extra percussion. They tore through their debut EP, with Back of My Car and Water Bombs garnering an enormous early arvo response from the crowd.
Following a stellar display from Twinsy, the Mix Up tent opened its curtains for Jagwar Ma. One of the most hyped new acts in the local contingent, their take on dance music has put them in their own niche. They played some serious bangers off that unbelievably well-received debut album Howlin, including Come and Save Me – which included a massive house break – Man I Need, and set closer The Throw. The lads danced and jumped around on stage in a way that not only shows their passion for their music, but transferred that energy into the crowd, which got pretty damn rowdy.
The trio of Mix Up bands was completed with Chet Faker. A single bassist stood on stage, making impossible soundscapes with his instrument, joined after a time by a guitarist, then a drummer, who all added elements to an all-encompassing, spine-tinglingly rich atmospheric sounds. Chet joined his band after a few minutes of building, quick to weaken the knees of the crowd with his rich, soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics. The subtle variances in the live instrumentation was fantastic, with special props going to the drummer whose rhythms were out-of-this-world impressive, providing a tight grooves on unsurprising set highlight No Diggity.
Catching just the last four songs in Something For Kate‘s set left us wishing we’d seen the whole thing, our first impression being their bizarrely excellent cover of Florence Welch and Calvin Harris‘ collaboration Sweet Nothing. Paul Dempsey‘s voice more than did the song justice. Thankfully the last few songs also included catalogue highlights Deja Vu and Electricity. The band were as tight as ever, and played like the seasoned rock legends they most definitely are.
Empire of the Sun then proved why they are a force to be reckoned with on the international circuit. Their live show was unbelievably intricate, pulling out all the stops with dancing girls, elaborate costumes, excellent visuals and lighting. It was sometimes obvious that a big part of the sound was provided by a backing track but their sound was huge and their performance even larger. At one point, the LED screen behind the stage opened at the centre, and a giant yeti creation cruised on out, blew some steam and wiggled its arms about, retreating back into its cave as the band segued into Walking On A Dream. Only at an EOTS set would this seem perfectly expected.
Flume closed out the Mix Up tent to a crowd of crazies who just can’t get enough Harley Streten in their lives. It was a tad disappointing to see that he hadn’t developed visuals that expand on his Infinity Prism concept, though there were no obvious complaints; the crowd just wanted to cut loose to some Flume. Which is what they did, with gusto. Harley is clearly trying to expand his show by adding live sampling (utilising drum pads), and the possibility for even further live instrumentation such as drums is apparent. Everyone knows that Flume shows are the absolute epitome of looseness at any festival and, of course, the man delivered.
(Photo by Zoltan Blazer)