On an overcast Sunday morning I awoke my tired body with the thought that maybe another day of music after a tiring and emotionally draining week was going to be a big ask. Especially if it rained. But then the sun came out, I ventured into the city and had THE time of my life. Now in its third year, in Sydney, St Jerome's Laneway Festival
is I think the best festival in Australia. Great music plus small amount of people equals thrilling day. And this was a thrilling day, and how. I like the fact that this festival is right in the heart of our city, it is well organised and friendly and they invite the musicians that I like. Strike that, love. If there were complaints, it would be that in such a confined space maybe they should cut back on ticket sales. Sometimes it does get pushy getting from one stage to another. However, people were mostly well behaved, except for those rude people who think it is their right to walk straight through you when they wish to get to a stage. Plus, seeing bands at Reiby Place Stage is hard unless you manage to get right down the front. But anyway, it is all about the music. Which, was incredible to say the least. Like many festivals, I didn't see everything, but here are my impressions of the day, in the order that I witnessed them.Manchester Orchestra
. Biggest surprise of the day. I didn't know they were this good. I actually thought their music was more on the poppy side. But this Atlanta five piece really rocked. Hard. But with a very melodic sensibility, with space between the chords. Their singer, Andy Hull, has a beast of a voice. Going from a quiet and vulnerable whisper to a full throated roar, he was way beyond impressive. Speaking of impressive, their drummer was even more so. Jeremiah Edmond thrashes the kit like nobody's business. First thing Monday, I am going to buy their album "I'm Like A Virgin Losing A Child".Okkervil River
, you own a piece of my heart. Please keep it safely. What a special, special band. More emotion and passion is rarely seen. I have waxed lyrical about Will Sheff for quite a while. But put simply, he is a living marvel. A great songwriter. A great musician. A great performer. And that voice, so full of the drama of life, I could listen to him forever. This set was basically a shortened version of their Manning Bar show
. No complaints here. " A Girl in Port" was stunning again, whilst "Unless It's Kicks" just flat out rocks. To end with "Westfall" was bliss. Again. Plus, the band were having so much fun. Please, come again soon!
The President's Dead
A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene
The Latest Toughs
A Girl In Port
Our Live Is Not A Movie Or Maybe
Unless It's Kicks
By I time I got to the Park Stage, I had to settle towards the back. But thankfully I could hear and see everything pretty well. So, a second dose of Stars
was delightful again. This band just writes delicious and infectious melodies. I have definitely come out of this week a bigger fan then when I went in. They play with such life and joy. Torquil Campbell is charming and full of enthusiasm and life. Whilst Amy Millan is just a treasure. She is just inhabited by a beautiful spirit, such a smile and seems so full of joy and optimism. Oh, they write good music too. I was especially happy to hear "What I'm Trying to Say" and "Reunion" which they didn't play last Tuesday. "Your Ex-Lover is Dead" and "Elevator Love Letter" were charm personified as well. Then they closed with my favourite Australian song of all time. "Cattle and Cane". The Go-Betweens' classic was a wonderful choice. I salute you Torquil.
Set List (I might have this order wrong as I took this from memory)
Set Yourself On Fire
Elevator Love Letter
One More Night (Your Ex-Lover Remains Dead)
What I Am Trying To Say
Bitches In Tokyo
Take Me To The Riot
Your Ex-Lover Is Dead
Cattle And CaneBroken Social Scene
should have closed this festival. Without doubt. They are born to close festivals. Their sound is all encompassing, all consuming. All...perfect. After seeing them Thursday night, with poor sound plaguing them I believe, I was ecstatic beyond words through out their performance. They were just on fire. Storming into "Superconnected", they never let up. "KC Accidental" came and I was losing it. Plus, the brass was in full effect. Not only Charles Spearin, but Evan Cranley from Stars on trombone and members of Feist's band as well. Speaking of Feist, I was hoping she would join BSS and she did! Plus Amy Millan, wow. They tore into "7/4 (Shoreline)", a definite highlight of the day. Through out the set, the band grew and shrank in numbers. Even a member of CYHSY appeared. Then to close with "Ibi Dreams of Pavement.." was enough to make my head spin. This song has amazing power and majesty and during its epic close the stage was awash with people and guitars and horns. Stunning. Broken Social Scene
are seriously great, scarily talented. Kevin Drew was once again the master front man. He is so imbued with life and emotion. He truly connects with people. Why, oh why didn't this band close. They just had to, surely.
Stars And Sons
Farewell to The Pressure Kids
Fire Eye'd Boy
Backed Out On The...
Major Label Debut (Fast)
Fucked Up Kid
Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)
My hardest decision of the day was to choose between Feist and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
. I love both, but I was at Feist on Friday night, so I chose the American five piece. Despite myself being a little way from the stage and having a handful of complete idiots near me, I am glad I saw them. They really create an effortless groove, their infectious melodies pleasing my ear no end. They leaned heavily on their debut album, which is a great one. But I like their second effort so I was happy with whatever they played. "Details of the War" is always a pleasure to hear, whilst "Yankee Go Home" was great as well. Closing with "Satan Said Dance" was a sure fire winner, the crowd really enjoying this one. A great end to a great day.
Is This Love?
Details Of The War
In This Home On Ice
The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth
Yankee Go Home
Clap Your Hands!
Satan Said Dance
If this festival is even half as good next year, I am there with bells on. Great music in a unique setting makes for a great day. Oh, I was happy again to meet Sean
. I didn't see Amanda
today but I was pleased to finally meet you at Broken Social Scene.
More photos of this day at Flickr