Mar 4, 2007

2007 Sydney Laneway Festival

Well the Sydney Laneway Festival is over for another year, and whilst this year's event didn't have an act of the majesty and sheer greatness of Broken Social Scene, I think overall I enjoyed this year's renewal even more. Despite wanting to catch The Crayon Fields and Fionn Regan I didn't arrive until just before 4pm where I parked myself (excuse the pun) in front of the Park Stage for the rest of the day. This is what I witnessed.

Scotland's Camera Obscura played a very pleasant set of their melodic pop. I'm not a big fan of this style of music but they seemed to go down well with the crowd. They are hardly a magnetic presence on stage but they performed quite well with out me feeling ecstatic.

Sydney's Youth Group were next. They seemed to have copped a bit of backlash since capturing a big hit with "Forever Young". I am still a fan and really enjoyed their set. Playing a mixture off their last 2 albums, highlights were "Baby Body", "Skeleton Jar" and a great version of "Forever Young" which morphed into a stellar rendition of "Shadowland". I think Toby Martin has a lovely, soulful voice and their set was most enjoyable.

As far as I am concerned The Walkmen owned this festival. Although the great thing about the day is that there is something for everyone. But for me the New Yorkers came, saw and conquered. The best thing about them is that when you hear one of their songs you can not mistake it for any other act going around. They were unbelievably tight, their sound was so clean. Hamilton Leithauser is a dynamic figure on stage. Each song is belted out with incredible energy and Matt Barrick's drums really propels the band's driving sounds through out. Their set really hit into high gear with the second song "All Hands & The Cook", a driving, pulsating monster of a song. After that they had me hooked, other stand outs were "Louisiana", "Little House of Savages" and of course "The Rat". I wish they could have played longer.

Sweden's very own Peter Bjorn & John were next and although I find their music to be somewhat slight of nature, they really turned in a crowd pleasing set. They opened with the very catchy "Let's Call It Off". Their set mainly consisted of songs from "Writer's Block" including "Paris 2004", "Amsterdam", but their closing trio of "Young Folks" (well loved of course, with Tracy of Camera Obscura joining them), "Objects of My Affection" and "Up Against The Wall" had me thinking these Swedes might have more going for them then being a mere pop act.

My last act for the day was Yo La Tengo. If you desire to see a band that never sits still in any one style then they are definitely the band for you. I'm not a die hard fan (I own about 3 of their albums) and I find it hard to love all their work. Their slightly poppier songs "Bean Bag Chair", "Mr Tough" I find to be lacking substance. But when they push the boundaries with their experimental rock jams or play one of Georgia's soulful tunes (I loved "I Feel Like Going Home"), they really hit one out of the park, to use a baseball analogy. The second song "Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind" was great, but the closer "The Story Of Yo La Tango" was truly stunning. A twenty epic that was close to genius. The perfect closer to a great day of music.
MP3: Pass The Hatchet, I Think I'm Goodkind

You can find more photos at my Flickr. Also great to meet Oz there. I'm sure he will have a review not too far away.


  • At March 05, 2007 , Anonymous Ro said...

    Reiby place was where it was at! Love is All and The BellRays were electrifying to say the least. Yo La Tengo were amazing and really could do no wrong, again.

    I met Tracy during PBJ's set and had a nice chat with her. I figured the cameo once she said there was a surprise.

    Looks like I missed out on meeting you and oz. I guess there'll always be a next time.

  • At March 05, 2007 , Anonymous Sean said...

    But you saw ME Ro! That has to count for something.

    I'm surprised you thought the Walkmen were the highlight Wayne. I found their set to be pretty dull. I've never been into their albums but I've seen them live before and they were great. Last night they seemed to stuck in neutral...too much medium paced stuff. And no We've Been Had.

  • At March 05, 2007 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Ro- I would have liked to have seen The Bellrays. I don't really like Love Is All's music, but they must be great live.

    Sean-Funny, Oz had the same thoughts as you. I really like their music, so I was really into them. I actually didn't mind the slower stuff and I believe their songs have more depth then any other band I saw. Just shows we all hear and see music differently.

  • At March 05, 2007 , Anonymous jase said...

    nice pic's wayne!

  • At March 05, 2007 , Anonymous Ro said...

    Sean - It does count for something.

    Wayne - The BellRays are playing at the Gaelic, you might wanna check them out live before they go back to the states.


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