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Listen guys, I may have gone on a bit yesterday about how the bad weather was never going to be enough to harsh this Splendour vibe but on Day 2 I have to admit, it’s kinda started to become an issue. While festival goers burned their faces under the glorious Byron sun, they simultaneous battled the frostbite in their feet while trenching through the sometimes knee-deep, sticky, stinky mud, holding on to friends for dear life and praying not to lose a gumboot. I’m not going to lie, Day 2 was a s**t fight.
But in true Splendour style the busiest of the three days delivered spectacularly on all other counts. Early on Elliphant rocked the pants off the mix up stage, the Swedish babe’s Only Getting Younger sending shockwaves through the afternoon crowd and ripping us clean out of our dirty downs. Over at the Ampi, Splendour delivered a Dune Rat in a giant Rat Ball, bouncing around the heads of the heaving crowd like a beach ball.
It wasn’t long after that we saw The Smith Street Band score the early moment of day, displaying a banner proclaiming “Real Australians Say Welcome” and dedicating the fitting Wipe That S**t Eating Grin Off Your Punchable Face to asylum seekers. Abbott if you’re reading this, and I know you are, Splendour says no.
Years and Years hit it out of the parklands, smashing their cover of Blu Cantrell’s Breathe, the gorgeous Eyes Shut and of course the uber-trendy King. Frontman Alexanders impressive vocal chops worth wading through the mess. It was an early contender for Mix Up set of the day, until the divine Azalea Banks popped up and SLAYED it. The stunning rapper from NYC turned it on, with moves Beyonce would envy and a gravity-defying outfit, smashing out a little under-boob and all her hits, culminating in the raucous that was 212. If seeing thousands of grubby hipsters screaming I guess that c**t gettin’ eatin’ isn’t worth battling the mud, I don’t know what is.
Then came the mad rush for a spot on the hill to witness The Wombats. There was a moment when I was sure I was going to die, either by mud-drowning or crowd-crushing, but after the initial panic passed the joy of seeing this three piece from Liverpool was worth every second. The crowd heaved like a heartbeat, pumping away to Techno Fan, Tokyo and Let’s Dance To Joy Division like it was our last night on earth. Perhaps they too thought it just might be.
And then the moment we had all been waiting for. The lights dimmed, the crowd roared and our new Queen of Splendour appeared on stage. Florence Welch in all her glory, her music machine in tow in an etherial sea of pure white and burning orange. Dressed head to tow in flowing white and ready to be worshipped, the angel of the stage ferociously reminding us that love was all around and not even the rain would bring us down. Tired eyes and aching feet were forgotten, cured by the powerhouse voice that seemed sent from the heavens.
Newbies Ship to Wreck and What Kind Of Man blowing minds and holding their own against old favourites Shake It Out and Sweet Nothing. The energy beaming from the stage was nothing short of spectacular, and her desire to spread the love including dancing with a fan on stage, accepting flowers from the masses, asking us to kiss each other and touch each others faces and finally, to rip our shirts off and revel in our nakedness.
The masses obliged, moving the English superstar to lead the way, wrapping up final track Dog Days Are Over by tearing off her own shirt and running into the arms of the adoring crowd in nothing but her bra. They may have omitted You’ve Got The Love from the set, but we couldn’t have loved them any more – Florence and The Machine were everything.
Weather gods, you almost had us. The mud was tough, but we were tougher. Two down, one to go… Do your worst.
Image: Florence + The Machine @ Splendour 2015 / Pic: Yael Stempler