Jan 31, 2010

Sydney Laneway Festival 2010

The Sydney version of the 2010 Laneway Festival was a success. Yes, I am here to report this fact. Well, except it's not in laneways anymore. The new venue on Sunday was the Sydney College of the Arts in Rozelle, a place new to me in Sydney. Set in Callan Park, the festival was in amongst beautiful 19th century sandstone buildings. Although there was the occasional traffic jam between stages, it felt fairly comfortable to navigate around between the three stages. Drinks seemed easy to get, but I think a few more food vendors wouldn't have gone astray. There was free parking and also free water stations. Both nice additions. The crowd, on the whole, was pretty good too. My day started with experimental Sydney trio Seekae. Their ambient sounds were a nice way to commence the day. My last act was Dappled Cities, who had two surprises. They played in GOLD spandex body suits and they also had the lovely Sarah Blasko join them on "Vision Bell". Also caught Bridezilla in between. They were good, but I feel like I have seen them a hundred times now. Like most festivals it was impossible to see everything, so I couldn't fit in The xx or Wild Beasts. Nor Florence and the Machine, but that was mainly because I am not interested in their brand of music. But, there was plenty of greatness in between. So...to the music that stirred and delighted me.

I had been really keen to see Jonathan Boulet live and this exciting new talent did not disappoint. At all. The debut album is great and it translated perfectly to the live setting. Songs like "Continue Calling", "Ones Who Fly Twos Who Die" and "321 Ready Or Not" are demanded to be played live. Just perfect singalong songs. Not to mention the addictive "A Community Service Announcement" which closed their short set. Boulet is an immense talent. His ability to write near perfect melodies is one to be admired.

Frightened Rabbit! Highlight of the day!!! These insatiable Scots are a passion overload live. Well, on record for that matter too. They opened with the towering "The Modern Leper" and did not let up after that. Despite a somewhat muddy sound mix, their glorious songs shone through. The closing duo of "Square One" and "Keep Yourselves Warm" was goose bumps time. That combination of jangly guitars, frenetic drumming and Scottish brogue was simply superb.

Set List
The Modern Leper
Old Old Fashioned
Nothing Like You
The Twist
Head Rolls Off
My Backwards Walk
Square 9
Keep Yourself Warm

No doubt about it. Mumford & Sons were the most hyped act of the day. Their debut album has not only connected hugely with Triple J listeners, but it has crossed into commercial radio. The crowd gathered to watch was feverish and excited to the nth degree. I would say that nearly every song was belted out word for word. But I can report that this London foursome are not just hype. Their songs, although built of fairly simple structure, are explosive and ridden with emotion. Totally perfect to hear in a live setting. Of course "Little Lion Man" was lapped up, but it was other songs that hit my ear more. The mournful "Sigh No More" was a superb starter and "Thistle & Weeds" was heavy and strongly built. They even closed with a new song that was equally impressive as the rest of the set. These guys won't change the earth, but they are very talented and I think here to stay.

Set List
Sigh No More
Awake My Soul
White Blank Page
Little Lion Man
Thistle & Weeds
Roll Away Your Stone
The Cave
Whispers In The Dark (new song)

I saw CROWD SURFING! This long thought extinct practice broke out during the crazy and wild set from Atlanta's Black Lips. This foursome played with admirable and dazzling passion and fire. Energetic and super charged, their set flew by with dollops of charisma and bucket loads of style. Their music is pretty basic, but it is carried out with such good humour and enterprise that it is near impossible not to enjoy their music. Highlight was definitely "Bad Kids".

Set List
Starting Over
Short Fuse
Dirty Hands
O Katrina!
Big Black Jesus Of Today
Sea Of Blasphemy
Lock And Key
You Must Be A Witch (Lollipop Shoppe cover)
Cold Hands
Bad Kids
Take My Heart


  • At February 08, 2010 , Anonymous Yussa said...

    your crazy to have missed the xx set....their melbourne laneway set, ironically bathed in scorching melbourne mid afternoon sunshine was amazing and had the crowd entranced with their brand of sexy tunes...definite highlight...

    also check out wild beasts new album...saw their sideshow and was spectacularly impressed...amazing talent..


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