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Before it even started, Splendour In The Grass had been plagued with misfortune. The cancellations of two of the festival’s heavyweights, London Grammar and Two Door Cinema Club, could have easily dampened the mood, but it had no such effect on Day One of the festival.
While there were gumboots aplenty, the sun was out in full force for the first day, creating the perfect debut for Splendour’s first use of a natural amphitheatre at its new Byron Bay site. The Preatures made good use of this, with lead-singer Isabella Manfredi prowling around the stage like the stellar frontwoman that she is. New tracks like Better Than it Ever Could Be and Two Tone Melody were impressive, but it was hard to beat the melodic brilliance of Is This How You Feel? A hearty sing-along ensured it became an early anthem for Day One.
In the Mix-Up tent, Kilter played an intricate yet dance-worthy set to perhaps one of the biggest audiences of his career. For the final track, he brought out Adelaide firecracker Tkay Maidza, who proved that she’s Australia’s newest international hope.
Canberra duo Peking Duk drew a suitably mammoth crowd in the Mix-Up tent with many there to hear their surprise hit, High. Throughout the set, the Canberra duo called on a slew of special guests, including Ben from SAFIA, Yeo and 360, who was met with a deafeaning scream. The boys ended the all-energy set with High. Half the crowd jumped swiftly on the shoulders of others, as per the duo’s directions.
Kelis‘ nightime set was one of the highlights of the day. Entering the stage she yelled, “Is everyone ready to dance tonight?” Any fears that her newer material would fall flat at a festival were quickly dashed when the forceful brass in tracks like Breakfast and Forever Be were met with adoration. Throughout, she popped in old favourites like Trick Me and Millionaire, but it was her brassy version of Bounce and Benni Benassi’s Spaceship that pleased the most. Kelis looked as though she was having the time of her life, as were the crowd.
Warming up the punters for Childish Gambino, Yacht Club DJs played their last-ever festival set, finishing on a mighty singalong to Bohemian Rhapsody. The force of noise was only bettered when Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, took the stage and was met with a deafening scream. An obvious hit with the ladies, he played an energetic and somewhat schizophrenic set before many punters left early to make the ascent uphill for Outkast.
Outkast were always going to be the main event of the weekend and it showed. The Amphitheatre was packed to the brim and when Andre 3000 and Big Boi entered the stage, the crowd descended into anarchy – the kind only a song like B.O.B. can induce. The reports of Outkast’s comeback have been mixed, but tonight they were most definitely on their game. Andre was kooky and playful, while Big Boi’s flow was as fierce as ever.
The pair effortlessly spanned over 20 years of music with a set that pulled on classics like Me & You, ATLiens and Rosa Parks, as well as crowd pleasers Ms. Jackson and The Way You Move. The latter saw Sleepy Brown take to the stage in what looked like a bath robe.
Watch: Childish Gambino – 3005 at Splendour In The Grass 2014
Big Boi and Andre 3000 both delivered solo performances within the set. Andre’s set was risque, with a video backdrop featuring a lady taking off her underwear. He followed that up by bringing girls onstage to deliver Hey Ya! That moment was only bettered by Roses, which confirmed that not even Andre 3000 knows the final verse of the song.
The set finished with The Whole World and the pair looked understandably satisfied. Two girls flashed the camera which was perhaps the best example of the effect Outkast had on the crowd. As Day One drew to a close, it was clear that Outkast had triumphed over all.
Outkast Splendour In The Grass 2014 Setlist
Skew It on the Bar-B
Da Art of Storytellin’, Part 1
Big Boi Mini-Set
Kryptonite (I’m on It)
(Purple Ribbon All-Stars cover)
The Way You Move
André 3000 Mini-Set
She Lives in My Lap
Elevators (Me & You)
So Fresh, So Clean
Int’l Player’s Anthem (I Choose You)
The Whole World
— triple j (@triplej) July 25, 2014
Photo: Outkast Live At Splendour In The Grass 2014 / Photo: Ashley Mar