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Day Two of Splendour In The Grass wasn’t blessed by the sun gods in the way that Day One was, but the rain held off for the most part, ensuring moods weren’t considerably dampened. Helping to wake up bleary-eyed campers was Sky Ferreira, who performed an electric set of ’80s-inspired pop in the Mix-Up tent.
Opening with 24 Hours, Ferreira showed why her return had been so awaited since her mini-tour earlier this year. She may not be the most well-known name on the bill, but a healthy cult of followers turned out to see what the young, sunglasses-wearing goth kid had to offer. A double-treat ending of You’re Not the One and Everything is Embarrassing guaranteed the first dance-off of the day.
On the GW McLennan stage, Ry X performed a whimsical set. He’s built a career for himself overseas, but his return to his home country was met by an adoring crowd of fans. With a Bon Iver charm and subtle electronic stylings, it was the perfect late-afternoon lull.
Back at the Mix-Up tent, Art Vs. Science provided a steady balance between dance music and rock. Parlez Vous Francais? is still a crowd-pleaser after all these years, but compared to Touch Sensitive, who followed, they felt like the old wave of Australian dance music. With his bass guitar in hand, Touch Sensitive performed a funky set as the crowd steadily flowed in. The Mix-Up tent was at capacity when Pizza Guy closed out the set.
Future Islands proved to be one of Splendour’s best bookings this year. The band has been around for a while, but 2014 has seen them accepted by a wider audience after a talked-about performance on Letterman. The rain began to pour as frontman Samuel T. Herring worked the crowd into a sweat attempting to emulate his Peter Garrett-like dance moves.
At one point he said, “I need to slow it down, otherwise I’m going to have a heart attack.” The euphoric lighting and sprawling synth-pop fused together perfectly to ensure one of the weekend’s more memorable sets. Seasons was a predictably brilliant, hands-in-the-air moment.
The rain continued to pound down as a parade of gumboots scurried over to Metronomy. Frontman Joe Mount and co are known for delivering poignant, quaint sets and this was no different. The Look and Corinne were crowd favourites and the stage, aided by glowing, white pianos was the most aesthetically pleasing of the day. Their latest album, Love Letters, is their most minimal yet, but in the live arena it sounded heftier, with songs like Reservoir bolstered by the big beats behind them.
Though it was difficult to pull away from Metronomy, Foals‘ credentials as a live act made them unmissable. “We didn’t think we’d be here a week ago,” frontman Yannis Philippakis yelled as the band entered the stage. The hour-long set was perhaps one of the heaviest of the weekend so far, with the band showing their progression from indie rock kids to arena heroes.
My Number gave way to a huge sing-along and groovy dance-off, yet it seemed the more noise that was made, the more profound the band were. The chorus of Inhaler called for amphitheatre-wide head-thrashing and closer Two Steps Twice ushered in an impressive wave of moshing from the back to the front of the crowd. As Yannis threw his guitar off stage, punters were left stunned. Not only was the band a worthy replacement for Two Door Cinema Club, they stole the weekend.
As the headliner, Dallas Green, aka City and Colour, gave a beautiful performance that oscillated between whimsical crooning and country-tinged rock and roll. While it was a magical spectacle, Foals would’ve surely made a more suitable headliner. After their surge of energy, City and Colour, through no fault of their own, felt like an anticlimax.
Image: Foals Live At Splendour In The Grass 2014 / Photo: Ashley Mar