1. The British boy with a love of bass returns to Splendour for a sophomore set.
Set in a sentence: Sumptuous synthetic slow jams.
Voice: Of an angel. Best thing about Blake though, is his restraint. He brings it when needed but applies a beautiful subtlety to the songs that demand it.
Moves: James seated, at his piano, shimmying to his slow jams in head to toe black suit. Best.
Mix Up tent vibes:  A stage that normally requires big drops had a contemplative hour with James on stage but the packed tent loved it. It’s been a big weekend, we needed to reflect. And body roll.
Personal highlight: ‘Lindisfarne’. Simple lighting, folk music with a twist and a crowd slow clapping mid-song that united us all. Just beautiful.
Crowd highlight: ‘Retrograde’. A full Mix Up tent singing “ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oooooh” with Jimmy. Sunday bliss. Better than church. Thank you James.

    The British boy with a love of bass returns to Splendour for a sophomore set.

    Set in a sentence: Sumptuous synthetic slow jams.

    Voice: Of an angel. Best thing about Blake though, is his restraint. He brings it when needed but applies a beautiful subtlety to the songs that demand it.

    Moves: James seated, at his piano, shimmying to his slow jams in head to toe black suit. Best.

    Mix Up tent vibes:  A stage that normally requires big drops had a contemplative hour with James on stage but the packed tent loved it. It’s been a big weekend, we needed to reflect. And body roll.

    Personal highlight: ‘Lindisfarne’. Simple lighting, folk music with a twist and a crowd slow clapping mid-song that united us all. Just beautiful.

    Crowd highlight: ‘Retrograde’. A full Mix Up tent singing “ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh oooooh” with Jimmy. Sunday bliss. Better than church. Thank you James.

  2. A relatively small but appreciative crowd at the GW McLennan stage had their ears bludgeoned by Australia’s best rock band. Bathed in red light and covering the most devastating cuts from this year’s I See Seaweed album (‘Laika’ and ‘How to See Through Fog’), The Drones reminded us that if there’s a hell below, we’re all going to go.
The highlight: A majestic version of ‘The Minotaur’ rounded out by the vicious “veni vidi vici” refrain.
The classic: ‘Shark Fin Blues’, introduced tongue-in-cheek as the greatest song in Australian music history. The band then corrected themselves and said ‘Friday On My Mind’ by the Easybeats is 400 times better.
The cover: Kev Carmody’s ‘River Of Tears’ is a staple of the band’s live set and they made it their own again tonight.
The closer: A raw ‘Six Ways To Sunday’ gave way to the maelstrom of ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Change’.  The band left the stage in a squall of feedback.

    A relatively small but appreciative crowd at the GW McLennan stage had their ears bludgeoned by Australia’s best rock band. Bathed in red light and covering the most devastating cuts from this year’s I See Seaweed album (‘Laika’ and ‘How to See Through Fog’), The Drones reminded us that if there’s a hell below, we’re all going to go.

    The highlight: A majestic version of ‘The Minotaur’ rounded out by the vicious “veni vidi vici” refrain.

    The classic: ‘Shark Fin Blues’, introduced tongue-in-cheek as the greatest song in Australian music history. The band then corrected themselves and said ‘Friday On My Mind’ by the Easybeats is 400 times better.

    The cover: Kev Carmody’s ‘River Of Tears’ is a staple of the band’s live set and they made it their own again tonight.

    The closer: A raw ‘Six Ways To Sunday’ gave way to the maelstrom of ‘I Don’t Ever Want To Change’.  The band left the stage in a squall of feedback.

  3. At just 23 years of age, Laura Marling is four albums into a critically-acclaimed career. Her fourth LP Once I Was An Eagle was released in May and she’s returned to the country, playing a handful of sideshows in churches and now her second ever Splendour, rounding out the GW McLennan tent line up.
Opening number: A 12-minute epic medley of “Take The Night Off”, “I Was An Eagle”, “Where Can I Go?” and “Breathe”. 
Closing number: "Saved These Words".
Mud level: Extremely high.
Number of Cellos: 1, played by lifelong friend Ruth de Turberville.
Most Common Phrase Shouted Out By Crowd Members: “We love you, Laura!”
Songs Played (By Albums): Alas I Cannot Swim (2 - “Ghosts” and “Alas, I Cannot Swim”), I Speak Because I Can (4 - “Rambling Man”, “I Speak Because I Can”, “Blackberry Stone”, “What He Wrote”), A Creature I Don’t Know (1 - “Sophia”), Once I Was An Eagle (7 - Opening Medley, “Master Hunter”, “Little Bird”, “Saved These Words”)
Choky/Laughy Bit: During “Ghosts”, Ms. Marling coughed a little bit going into the chorus, then laughed to herself. At herself.
Guitar changes: Like, 5, including a 12-string.
Couple Canoodling Level:  High.
Filthy language: Despite avoiding the F-bomb in “Master Hunter” at her church shows, LM LET RIP tonight.
Verdict: Stunning. Marling sums up the best of the folk tradition: beautifully crafted, story-telling songwriting, acoustic performance and a singular, transfixing voice. The half-full tent thinned out throughout the show, but the true fans who remained were treated to a prodigious talent at her best. Laura even acknowledged the less-than-party level of her set, telling her fans to go “dance the night away” as she concluded, as we “hadn’t had much of a chance to dance here”. Screw that - this songstress, stripped back and assured, is always worth admiring.

    At just 23 years of age, Laura Marling is four albums into a critically-acclaimed career. Her fourth LP Once I Was An Eagle was released in May and she’s returned to the country, playing a handful of sideshows in churches and now her second ever Splendour, rounding out the GW McLennan tent line up.

    Opening number: A 12-minute epic medley of “Take The Night Off”, “I Was An Eagle”, “Where Can I Go?” and “Breathe”. 

    Closing number: "Saved These Words".

    Mud level: Extremely high.

    Number of Cellos: 1, played by lifelong friend Ruth de Turberville.

    Most Common Phrase Shouted Out By Crowd Members: “We love you, Laura!”

    Songs Played (By Albums): Alas I Cannot Swim (2 - “Ghosts” and “Alas, I Cannot Swim”), I Speak Because I Can (4 - “Rambling Man”, “I Speak Because I Can”, “Blackberry Stone”, “What He Wrote”), A Creature I Don’t Know (1 - “Sophia”), Once I Was An Eagle (7 - Opening Medley, “Master Hunter”, “Little Bird”, “Saved These Words”)

    Choky/Laughy Bit: During “Ghosts”, Ms. Marling coughed a little bit going into the chorus, then laughed to herself. At herself.

    Guitar changes: Like, 5, including a 12-string.

    Couple Canoodling Level:  High.

    Filthy language: Despite avoiding the F-bomb in “Master Hunter” at her church shows, LM LET RIP tonight.

    Verdict: Stunning. Marling sums up the best of the folk tradition: beautifully crafted, story-telling songwriting, acoustic performance and a singular, transfixing voice. The half-full tent thinned out throughout the show, but the true fans who remained were treated to a prodigious talent at her best. Laura even acknowledged the less-than-party level of her set, telling her fans to go “dance the night away” as she concluded, as we “hadn’t had much of a chance to dance here”. Screw that - this songstress, stripped back and assured, is always worth admiring.

  4. After the release of their acclaimed fourth album Hyperparadise and a bunch of killer remixes, the anticipation is high to see what Sydney duo Hermitude will bring to a live show. People are crammed into the Mix Up tent, all the way to the outskirts. Lights drop. They walk on stage. Will they include new tunes? Will they drop the bass?
Setup: El Gusto and Luke Dubs on vocals, synths, vinyl scratching, MPC drum machine and a very special moment of El Gusto playing a keytar!
Perfect moment: El Gusto doing a flawless Herbie Hancock synth solo and showing off that they make beats AND beautiful melodies.
An example of how seamless their set was: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ vocal intro into hit single Hyperparadise into the much-loved Flume remix into the Hermitude remix of The Presets' Ghosts.
How in sync was Hermitude’s dancing with the crowd dancing: perfectly hunch-back bopping with the crowd bouncing.
They revealed: they’ve been in the studio recording a new album, and they played a new song. They put the mental in instrumental!
Best banter: Luke Dubs yelling “bass” into the mic right before the bass dropped in their Ghosts remix.

    After the release of their acclaimed fourth album Hyperparadise and a bunch of killer remixes, the anticipation is high to see what Sydney duo Hermitude will bring to a live show. People are crammed into the Mix Up tent, all the way to the outskirts. Lights drop. They walk on stage. Will they include new tunes? Will they drop the bass?

    Setup: El Gusto and Luke Dubs on vocals, synths, vinyl scratching, MPC drum machine and a very special moment of El Gusto playing a keytar!

    Perfect moment: El Gusto doing a flawless Herbie Hancock synth solo and showing off that they make beats AND beautiful melodies.

    An example of how seamless their set was: ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ vocal intro into hit single Hyperparadise into the much-loved Flume remix into the Hermitude remix of The Presets' Ghosts.

    How in sync was Hermitude’s dancing with the crowd dancing: perfectly hunch-back bopping with the crowd bouncing.

    They revealed: they’ve been in the studio recording a new album, and they played a new song. They put the mental in instrumental!

    Best banter: Luke Dubs yelling “bass” into the mic right before the bass dropped in their Ghosts remix.

  5. image

    10 things you need to know: Splendour Day 3

    Lorde had to ask her Dad if she could play Splendour

    It’s easy to forget the New Zealand songwriter is only 16 when you watch her perform live. Oozing confidence, Lorde was the consummate professional on stage on Sunday.

    So it’s nice to get the odd reminder that she’s still got school tomorrow.

    “I got a text on Friday at midnight,” Lorde said of her last minute call up for Splendour.

    “My manager was like, ‘Do you want to play Splendour on Sunday?’ and I didn’t even know what Splendour was.”

    After replying to her manager that she was keen she then had to check with her boss.

    “My Dad was like, ‘sure go for it!’ So here I am”

    Lorde will be back at school in New Zealand on Monday. Her debut album, which she’s just finished, will be out at the end of September.

    Elvis from FIDLAR almost drowned in Byron

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    When Zan asked what sort of antics the renowned LA party-starters FIDLAR had been up to, she wasn’t expecting this…

    “Elvis almost got taken out to sea this morning,” revealed bandmates Zac and Brandon, giving new meaning to their band title Fuck It Dog, Life’s a Risk

    “He went in the ocean and went out way too far and got caught in a current. We were waiting in line for breakfast and he showed up looking like hell. He got his ass kicked by the ocean. He was like, ‘I just threw up man’ and it was like 9 in the morning.”

    Passion Pit: I’m so tired of writing really, really sad songs

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    Michael Angelakos, singer for Passion Pit, told triple j he always loves coming to Splendour.

    “I always say it’s one of my favourite festivals in the world.”

    But a lot has changed since their last Australian visit. Angelakos is making his first trip here since being hospitalised with depression in 2012.

    His recovery forced the band to cancel their Gossamer album tour and still has an impact on his travel plans.

    “I have to come to Australia a week early to deal with my circadian rhythm,” he told Richard Kingsmill.

    But Angelakos said the experience has helped him look on the bright side when approaching Passion Pit.

    “I’m so tired of writing really, really sad songs. I’m excited because I’m in a fantastic relationship and I feel so many wonderful things again now. So possibly that could come through in the music and I would love that. Because quite frankly I’m very tired of being so unbelievably depressing from a lyrically stand point.”

    Everything Everything are enjoying arguing about their new album

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    The Manchester lads told Zan Rowe backstage they’ve come up with a foolproof way of dismissing demos they don’t agree with.

    “A lot of the songs are controversial. Some of us don’t even like them. If someone doesn’t like a song they usually just say, ‘that sounds like…’ and then you just place a terrible band in that gap. That instantly makes the song go away.”

    Of Monsters & Men are done touring

    image

    It’s been two years since the Icelandic outfit released their debut in their home country and they’ve been travelling around the world playing it in the 18 months since. Bandmates Raggi and Brynjar told Kingsmill they’re ready to go home.

    “After this tour we’re going to go home and work on the new album.”

    “We have a lot of ideas… the ideas often come to us like a puzzle. One might bring an idea and someone might bring another one and then two different ideas become a whole song.”

    The bands that stay together, play together

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    Brissie 4-piece The Jungle Giants have been staying in the same tent together. All weekend. And while Alex Dyson admitted he couldn’t smell them from where he was standing at their show, the close living arrangements didn’t seem to have any impact on their performance. It took just two songs for their bass player Andrew to crowd surf (see success above) during new track ‘Skin To Bone’, described as “a song about f**king”.

    The Rubens had a stage invader…

    image

    …from space!

    triple j’s Mayor of Splendour wrapped up the weekend of his life with an on stage collab with The Rubens. As promised during his election campaign, Willis was still dressed in full Wookiee attire when he made the appearance. The partnership came about when his brother – dressed as Han Solo of course - realised he went to school with one of the boys in the band.

    alt-J trolled the Mix Up tent

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    Splendour’s worst kept secret, the Sunday night mystery band, had one last laugh before heading out to greet fans underneath the Supertop. They strode out onstage to Daft Punk’s ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’ as a nod to one of the first bands rumoured to be filling the secret Sunday night slot.

    While no one in the tent was surprised to see UK lads alt-J, theywere definitely happy.

    Airbourne’s on stage set up puts Metallica to shame

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    The Warnambool rock outfit are as big on stage props as they are hair products. Behind the ferocious hair whipping and their super tight jeans were no less than 28 amps.

    At least 4 of them were plugged in. Not that anyone in the mosh cared. They were too distracted by that massive air raid siren they just wheeled out on stage to signal the growing need to rock.

    Drapht will release a new album if his cafe lets him

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    The only hip hop act on the Splendour bill made time to chat to “his favourite radio presenter” Zan Rowe. He said his festival slot has been the only thing that’s managed to pull him out of the kitchen recently.

    “I am doing absolutely no music and haven’t for the past month because I’m working 16 hours a day at my new cafe back in Perth. It’s taking up every waking moment. Even coming to Splendour was a daunting thought because the cafe is my baby. This is what I’ve been doing for the last year and a half.”

    Despite the distraction, Drapht said his next album - which features production from Suffa, Trials and Ta-Ku – is “nearly finished”.

    “I feel like I’ve finally found my feet within the music that I want to create. I just have to figure out how I’m going to release it.”

  6. Frank Ocean’s understudy steps in for a reserved but powerful performance.  Her band (laptop/keyboard and drums) are dwarfed by the main stage, but serve up sparse beats and that huge voice for one of the biggest Splendour crowds of the whole weekend.

Crowd size for her last Australian shows: 200+

Crowd size today: 10,000+

Lorde’s age: 16

Average age of the first 10 rows: 16.5

Best audience comment: ”She’s got so much hair”.

Best Lorde on stage comment: “Thus uz mintal”.

The verdict: Lorde proved she’s got the voice, the beats and the fans to be one of the biggest acts of 2013.

    Frank Ocean’s understudy steps in for a reserved but powerful performance.  Her band (laptop/keyboard and drums) are dwarfed by the main stage, but serve up sparse beats and that huge voice for one of the biggest Splendour crowds of the whole weekend.

    Crowd size for her last Australian shows: 200+

    Crowd size today: 10,000+

    Lorde’s age: 16

    Average age of the first 10 rows: 16.5

    Best audience comment: ”She’s got so much hair”.

    Best Lorde on stage comment: “Thus uz mintal”.

    The verdict: Lorde proved she’s got the voice, the beats and the fans to be one of the biggest acts of 2013.

  7. Mystery solved, you guys! Turns out it was Alt-J all along playing at the Supertop on the final night of festivities, bumped back in the running order a tad after the Frank Ocean cancellation / Lorde replacement. They clearly like it Down Under, having ventured out here for two club shows mid-last year, then coming back for Laneway Festival and now their own headline tour, showcasing the much-loved, Mercury Prize-winning tunes from their debut An Awesome Wave.
Walk-on Music: Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, in a lovely nod to all the Mystery Band speculation. #troll
Opening Number: "Intro" (appropriately enough), into "Ripe & Ruin", into "Tessellate"
Closing Number: "Taro"
Did they do that Dr Dre/Kylie Minogue mash-up cover that they debuted on triplej’s Like A Version last year? Yep!
And did they say they’d played the cover all over the world and whenever they did it reminded them of playing in Australia and how beautiful it is here? Right again! 
Any Other Covers? The penultimate tune was a cover of College’s “A Real Hero”, which you might know from the Drive soundtrack
Spotted Watching Side Of Stage: Surfer Blood lead singer John Paul Pitts and Byron local PETE MURRAY
Percentage of Banter: Joe Newman (0%), Gus Unger-Hamilton (100%)
Seen in the Crowd: One dude on top of another dude’s shoulders on top of another dude’s shoulders. The top dude was exposing a lot of butt.
Best Lyrical Substitute: "This is for you, Matilda" became "This is for you, Splendour" (cue huge cheer)
Biggest reaction: The crowd erupted when “Breezeblocks” began, and this reviewer was caught in a shower of glowsticks being thrown towards the stage. Also absolutely everyone got involved with the “LA-DA-DA-DA!” bit.
Verdict: It’s no mystery that Alt-J put together intricate, gorgeous tunes that are to be appreciated by careful listening and contemplation. This is no party festival band, but through the combination of a dynamic lighting show, the tightest of harmonies and the peppering of big hits throughout the set, the group managed to hold the Supertop’s attention for the whole hour. As Newman raised his guitar above his head in victory at the conclusion of the show and thousands of tired but appreciate punters hollered, it was clear to see that Australia’s still got plenty of time for Alt-J and is well keen to hear more from them soon.

    Mystery solved, you guys! Turns out it was Alt-J all along playing at the Supertop on the final night of festivities, bumped back in the running order a tad after the Frank Ocean cancellation / Lorde replacement. They clearly like it Down Under, having ventured out here for two club shows mid-last year, then coming back for Laneway Festival and now their own headline tour, showcasing the much-loved, Mercury Prize-winning tunes from their debut An Awesome Wave.

    Walk-on Music: Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, in a lovely nod to all the Mystery Band speculation. #troll

    Opening Number: "Intro" (appropriately enough), into "Ripe & Ruin", into "Tessellate"

    Closing Number: "Taro"

    Did they do that Dr Dre/Kylie Minogue mash-up cover that they debuted on triplej’s Like A Version last year? Yep!

    And did they say they’d played the cover all over the world and whenever they did it reminded them of playing in Australia and how beautiful it is here? Right again! 

    Any Other Covers? The penultimate tune was a cover of College’s “A Real Hero”, which you might know from the Drive soundtrack

    Spotted Watching Side Of Stage: Surfer Blood lead singer John Paul Pitts and Byron local PETE MURRAY

    Percentage of Banter: Joe Newman (0%), Gus Unger-Hamilton (100%)

    Seen in the Crowd: One dude on top of another dude’s shoulders on top of another dude’s shoulders. The top dude was exposing a lot of butt.

    Best Lyrical Substitute: "This is for you, Matilda" became "This is for you, Splendour" (cue huge cheer)

    Biggest reaction: The crowd erupted when “Breezeblocks” began, and this reviewer was caught in a shower of glowsticks being thrown towards the stage. Also absolutely everyone got involved with the “LA-DA-DA-DA!” bit.

    Verdict: It’s no mystery that Alt-J put together intricate, gorgeous tunes that are to be appreciated by careful listening and contemplation. This is no party festival band, but through the combination of a dynamic lighting show, the tightest of harmonies and the peppering of big hits throughout the set, the group managed to hold the Supertop’s attention for the whole hour. As Newman raised his guitar above his head in victory at the conclusion of the show and thousands of tired but appreciate punters hollered, it was clear to see that Australia’s still got plenty of time for Alt-J and is well keen to hear more from them soon.

  8. A sunrise set on the final day of Splendour was a perfect fit for one of our national treasures.

Set opener: The spine-tingling ‘Wiyathul’
Most impressive stage gear: The massive black baby grand piano the Splendour crew brought in especially for Gurrumul’s set
Familiar band members: It took a few songs to realise the organist Stephen Teakle is the man behind Barry Morgan
Best song intro: Came from Gurrumul’s long time friend and collaborator Michael Hohnen before the track ‘Baru’, which means crocodile in Gurrumul’s language
"This is all about Gurrumul’s totem. He’s born with a lot more identity than us… His totem is a Baru."
Dedications: One to Angus Stone, who Gurrumul toured the country with last year. ‘Gathu Mawula’, a track Gurrumul wrote with Blue King Brown, was sent out to Stone as a shout out for his track ‘Wooden Chair’

    A sunrise set on the final day of Splendour was a perfect fit for one of our national treasures.

    Set opener: The spine-tingling ‘Wiyathul

    Most impressive stage gear: The massive black baby grand piano the Splendour crew brought in especially for Gurrumul’s set

    Familiar band members: It took a few songs to realise the organist Stephen Teakle is the man behind Barry Morgan

    Best song intro: Came from Gurrumul’s long time friend and collaborator Michael Hohnen before the track ‘Baru’, which means crocodile in Gurrumul’s language

    "This is all about Gurrumul’s totem. He’s born with a lot more identity than us… His totem is a Baru."

    Dedications: One to Angus Stone, who Gurrumul toured the country with last year. ‘Gathu Mawula’, a track Gurrumul wrote with Blue King Brown, was sent out to Stone as a shout out for his track ‘Wooden Chair’

  9. Unearthed High alumni Snakadaktal convert their floaty dream pop to a 3-day old festival crowd.

Pre-show chant: “Snakas Snakas Snakas Snakas” and so on
Most popular track: ‘Air’, by far. The crowd’s “oh oh ayo’s” almost completely drowned Sean and Phoebe out.
Smoothest operator: Their bass player Jarrah. Head down, hair over his face, no chit chat.
Equipment volume from loudest to quietest: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Synths, You Am I roadie out the back, passing food truck, vocals
Main piece of criticism directed towards the sound tech: “Turn it up!”
Distance you needed to be from the stage to drown out the crowd murmur: 15 metres
Most popular audience headpiece: The homemade floral number
Chunk of crowd that left after second last track ‘Dance Bear’: Sizeable
What they missed: A big clap-along for their building and brilliant set closer.

    Unearthed High alumni Snakadaktal convert their floaty dream pop to a 3-day old festival crowd.

    Pre-show chant: “Snakas Snakas Snakas Snakas” and so on

    Most popular track: ‘Air’, by far. The crowd’s “oh oh ayo’s” almost completely drowned Sean and Phoebe out.

    Smoothest operator: Their bass player Jarrah. Head down, hair over his face, no chit chat.

    Equipment volume from loudest to quietest: Drums, Bass, Guitar, Synths, You Am I roadie out the back, passing food truck, vocals

    Main piece of criticism directed towards the sound tech: “Turn it up!”

    Distance you needed to be from the stage to drown out the crowd murmur: 15 metres

    Most popular audience headpiece: The homemade floral number

    Chunk of crowd that left after second last track ‘Dance Bear’: Sizeable

    What they missed: A big clap-along for their building and brilliant set closer.

  10. ART-PROG-ROCK-POP TIME. This Manchester four-piece were nominated for the Mercurcy Prize for their debut record Man Alive, triple j featured their follow up Arc and now they’ve arrived in Australia to play shows for the first time, hitting up the Mix Up Tent at 5pm.

Opening number: Atmospheric brooder “Undrowned” from Arc

Closing number: Latest single “Don’t Try”, featuring a festival-appropriate “woah-oh-oh-oh” hook

HOT FASHION: Singer Jon, bassist Jeremy and drummer Mike all wore matching futuristic grey jackets with yellow sleeves. 

Audience Participation: Hand-claps over the head, lead by the band’s touring keyboardist so we could all keep up with the tricky time signatures.  

Big Moment #1: Jon Biggins’ powerful voice absolutely soaring on “Duets”, climaxing on “If it’s gonna happen let it happen NOWWWWWW!”

How many punters in the crowd: Shitloads.

Big Moment #2: Huge sing-a-long for Hottest 100 hit “Cough Cough”, the crowd fulfilling their echo part with aplomb

What went wrong: In his ferocious drumming on a floor tom during “Cough Cough”, Biggins dropped a drumstick LOL

Big Moment #3: “HEY! KEMOSABE I AM A-LO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NE!”

Nawww Moment: Halfway through the show, an obviously flattered Biggins took the time to thank the crowd for rocking up: “It’s f*&king amazing to come all this way and have people singing back these old tunes of ours, so thank you”.

Surprise of the Set: Pretty torch song “Radiant”, encouraging us all to “take whatever [we] can” was the perfect soundtrack to the final day’s sunset.

Verdict: When a band is so ambitious on record, they face the not insignificant challenge to replicate that experience on the live stage. These Mancs do that and then some. They’re so tight, they hit all those harmonies and Biggins’ voice – the star of the show – never fails, whether it’s a screeching falsetto or a powerful mid-range bellowing. The only thing wrong with this set was it wasn’t long enough, the guys leaving the stage ten minutes before their allotted time was up. Before they brought their final tune home, Jonathan promised that they’d return soon, and this reviewer for one can’t wait.

    ART-PROG-ROCK-POP TIME. This Manchester four-piece were nominated for the Mercurcy Prize for their debut record Man Alive, triple j featured their follow up Arc and now they’ve arrived in Australia to play shows for the first time, hitting up the Mix Up Tent at 5pm.

    Opening number: Atmospheric brooder “Undrowned” from Arc

    Closing number: Latest single “Don’t Try”, featuring a festival-appropriate “woah-oh-oh-oh” hook

    HOT FASHION: Singer Jon, bassist Jeremy and drummer Mike all wore matching futuristic grey jackets with yellow sleeves. 

    Audience Participation: Hand-claps over the head, lead by the band’s touring keyboardist so we could all keep up with the tricky time signatures.  

    Big Moment #1: Jon Biggins’ powerful voice absolutely soaring on “Duets”, climaxing on “If it’s gonna happen let it happen NOWWWWWW!”

    How many punters in the crowd: Shitloads.

    Big Moment #2: Huge sing-a-long for Hottest 100 hit “Cough Cough”, the crowd fulfilling their echo part with aplomb

    What went wrong: In his ferocious drumming on a floor tom during “Cough Cough”, Biggins dropped a drumstick LOL

    Big Moment #3: HEY! KEMOSABE I AM A-LO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NE!”

    Nawww Moment: Halfway through the show, an obviously flattered Biggins took the time to thank the crowd for rocking up: “It’s f*&king amazing to come all this way and have people singing back these old tunes of ours, so thank you”.

    Surprise of the Set: Pretty torch song “Radiant”, encouraging us all to “take whatever [we] can” was the perfect soundtrack to the final day’s sunset.

    Verdict: When a band is so ambitious on record, they face the not insignificant challenge to replicate that experience on the live stage. These Mancs do that and then some. They’re so tight, they hit all those harmonies and Biggins’ voice – the star of the show – never fails, whether it’s a screeching falsetto or a powerful mid-range bellowing. The only thing wrong with this set was it wasn’t long enough, the guys leaving the stage ten minutes before their allotted time was up. Before they brought their final tune home, Jonathan promised that they’d return soon, and this reviewer for one can’t wait.

  11. The Dublin band venture to Australia for the first time having spent many months touring USA and Europe since the release of their debut album in March. Having met at high school, the 5 piece worked with producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire) in the making of their album.
Lineup: Five high school friends with five microphones in front of them. Confirming the cliche that the Irish are natural born singers.
Harmony highlights: The Kitchen Floor was a standout ballad. Masterful and mature and the voices shone through.
Instruments: The norm. Except often three guitars are featured. With the surprising lack of any guitar solos.
History: A lot of emphasis so far has been placed on touring the US. With their rich West Coast harmonies, and Faye O’Rourke’s vocal similarity to Stevie Nicks, there’s good reason success may well await them there.
Verdict: With a few more driving hits like Harper Lee (second song in) and The John Wayne (the finale), Little Green Cars will win over any festival crowd.

    The Dublin band venture to Australia for the first time having spent many months touring USA and Europe since the release of their debut album in March. Having met at high school, the 5 piece worked with producer Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire) in the making of their album.

    Lineup: Five high school friends with five microphones in front of them. Confirming the cliche that the Irish are natural born singers.

    Harmony highlights: The Kitchen Floor was a standout ballad. Masterful and mature and the voices shone through.

    Instruments: The norm. Except often three guitars are featured. With the surprising lack of any guitar solos.

    History: A lot of emphasis so far has been placed on touring the US. With their rich West Coast harmonies, and Faye O’Rourke’s vocal similarity to Stevie Nicks, there’s good reason success may well await them there.

    Verdict: With a few more driving hits like Harper Lee (second song in) and The John Wayne (the finale), Little Green Cars will win over any festival crowd.

  12. It’s time to see what these Californian surf skate punks have to offer! FIDLAR released a kickass debut album earlier this year, and there’s plenty of hype and love for these self proclaimed wasters. Mid-afternoon in a packed and stinky Super Top tent, it’s time to start a ruckus.
The mud smelled like: booze, piss, sweat.
The band sounded like: skate punk Beach Boys / early Wavves / the best messy genius shit you’ve heard all weekend.
Songs: Pretty much entire debut album. Cocaine, Wake Bake Skate, Cheap Beer, Stoked & Broke, Wait For The Man , new song Awkward, No Waves, a cover of The Descendants Suburban Home.
Most relatable lyric: “I’ll probably end up f**king up and make it super awkward” from Awkward chorus.
In the crowd: air guitarists, air drummers, people skating through the mud, brave crowd surfers, a fat circle pit and one single solo thrasher on the outskirts of the packed tent.
In between songs: bass player Brandon yelling “Thank You” in a Muppets voice, guitar licks from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and lead singer Zac Carper asking someone to take him surfing and telling everyone to start a band without synths.
Closeup spotting: an old school Wu Tang sticker on Brandon’s bass guitar.

    It’s time to see what these Californian surf skate punks have to offer! FIDLAR released a kickass debut album earlier this year, and there’s plenty of hype and love for these self proclaimed wasters. Mid-afternoon in a packed and stinky Super Top tent, it’s time to start a ruckus.

    The mud smelled like: booze, piss, sweat.

    The band sounded like: skate punk Beach Boys / early Wavves / the best messy genius shit you’ve heard all weekend.

    Songs: Pretty much entire debut album. Cocaine, Wake Bake SkateCheap Beer, Stoked & Broke, Wait For The Man , new song Awkward, No Waves, a cover of The Descendants Suburban Home.

    Most relatable lyric: “I’ll probably end up f**king up and make it super awkward” from Awkward chorus.

    In the crowd: air guitarists, air drummers, people skating through the mud, brave crowd surfers, a fat circle pit and one single solo thrasher on the outskirts of the packed tent.

    In between songs: bass player Brandon yelling “Thank You” in a Muppets voice, guitar licks from Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, and lead singer Zac Carper asking someone to take him surfing and telling everyone to start a band without synths.

    Closeup spotting: an old school Wu Tang sticker on Brandon’s bass guitar.

  13. Making their Splendour debut, Sydney band PVT also had the task of opening the Mix Up stage on Sunday and were the perfect choice with a set that eased struggling punters in and built to a great crescendo.
Layers: Heaps. With guitar, synthesizer, drums, drum pads, laptop, samplers and a few other cool looking knobs, they craft a completely live world of synthetic sound on stage.
Sass factor: Pretty high. Richard Pike’s vocals just keep getting better and he has a way of bringing an after-five 80’s vibe that, coupled with those synths, makes me wanna click my fingers, shake me head and throw down an “mmm-hmmm”. You know what I’m sayin’.
Live highlights: ‘Love and Defeat’ was a beautiful pop moment and ‘Homosapien’ as set closer totally killed it.
Most watched member: Lawrence Pike. He has a way of making it seem like everything is both unpredictable and tighter than tight.
Grunt factor: Lifted, about third song in, with crunchy bass filled synths. Sunday at Splendour just lifed off.

    Making their Splendour debut, Sydney band PVT also had the task of opening the Mix Up stage on Sunday and were the perfect choice with a set that eased struggling punters in and built to a great crescendo.

    Layers: Heaps. With guitar, synthesizer, drums, drum pads, laptop, samplers and a few other cool looking knobs, they craft a completely live world of synthetic sound on stage.

    Sass factor: Pretty high. Richard Pike’s vocals just keep getting better and he has a way of bringing an after-five 80’s vibe that, coupled with those synths, makes me wanna click my fingers, shake me head and throw down an “mmm-hmmm”. You know what I’m sayin’.

    Live highlights: ‘Love and Defeat’ was a beautiful pop moment and ‘Homosapien’ as set closer totally killed it.

    Most watched member: Lawrence Pike. He has a way of making it seem like everything is both unpredictable and tighter than tight.

    Grunt factor: Lifted, about third song in, with crunchy bass filled synths. Sunday at Splendour just lifed off.

  14. Mr Fanning steps out in full rock mode making a sharp change from the acoustic vibe of his previous solo live shows.  With big stage moves, “save my soul” breakdowns and occasional Zeppelin riffs, the whole set could be described as ‘Powderfinger-esque’, despite the lack the of actual Powderfinger songs.
Opening song:  A rollicking version of ‘Battleships’.
Special guests:  Byron local Renee Simone stepped up on 3-4 numbers to add some soul to the band’s sound.
Song selection:  Mainly songs from Bernard’s latest album Departures, with a few Tea & Sympathy hits including ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ and ‘Songbird’.
Biggest reaction: The closing number ‘Wish You Well’ still gets the whole crowd singing.
The verdict: Bernard proves he’s still got the moves and the voice that made Powderfinger so beloved.  This big rock performance shows he’s not ready for adult contemporary retirement just yet.

    Mr Fanning steps out in full rock mode making a sharp change from the acoustic vibe of his previous solo live shows.  With big stage moves, “save my soul” breakdowns and occasional Zeppelin riffs, the whole set could be described as ‘Powderfinger-esque’, despite the lack the of actual Powderfinger songs.

    Opening song:  A rollicking version of ‘Battleships’.

    Special guests:  Byron local Renee Simone stepped up on 3-4 numbers to add some soul to the band’s sound.

    Song selection:  Mainly songs from Bernard’s latest album Departures, with a few Tea & Sympathy hits including ‘The Thrill Is Gone’ and ‘Songbird’.

    Biggest reaction: The closing number ‘Wish You Well’ still gets the whole crowd singing.

    The verdict: Bernard proves he’s still got the moves and the voice that made Powderfinger so beloved.  This big rock performance shows he’s not ready for adult contemporary retirement just yet.

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    10 things you need to know: Splendour Day 2

    Thank the Lorde

    It was early Saturday morning when we learnt Lorde would be our saviour on Sunday night. The NZ songwriter got the call up from the Splendour team late on Friday asking whether she would be happy replacing Frank Ocean on the bill. Her flights were booked not long after.

    The reshuffled schedule will now see Of Monsters and Men step up to headline on Sunday night. Lorde will play at 5.30pm

    MS MR might not ever leave

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    You couldn’t have found a happier band in the world than MS MR on Saturday evening. Wearing a feather coat and a tank top with the words ‘awesome’ aptly scribbled across the front, lead lady Lizzy Plapinger was beaming the entire set. The crowd in the Mix Up tent has never been louder.

    "I have to be honest, I know we write a lot of moody pop songs. But I can’t keep this smile off my f**king face. You are hands down the best crowd we have ever played for. Thank you so much."

    "This is the show you dream about playing when you start a band."

    Villagers’ new album is inspired by the “hot babes” of Gold Coast

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    "I’ve been writing new material and I’ve been recording it on my computer," Conor told Zan Rowe backstage in the triple j tent.

    "Actually yesterday I wrote a bunch of stuff at the hotel on the Gold Coast."

    "So is it about theme parks, beaches and hot babes?" Zan queried.

    "Well I think the next album is going to be called ‘Hot Babes’. That’s the title track." Conor quipped.

    Pat Rafter’s here

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    It’s been slim pickings for celeb spotters at Splendour this year. Unlike Kate Moss’ appearance a few years back in support of husband Jamie Hince from The Kills, neither Marcus Mumford’s wife Carey Mulligan or Keira Knightly – who recently married Klaxons main man James Righton – have been spotted backstage.

    The handsome guy from Packed to the Rafters and Chris Lilley are here though. And at least Rafter’s appearance has allowed for some puns.

    "What a set!"

    Sarah Blasko: coming to a screen near you?

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    Blasko's captivating performance in her recent clip for 'All of Me' mightn't be the last time we see her on screen.

    Chatting to Richard Kingsmill before her set at the GW McLennan, Blasko said she isn’t ruling out a career change.

    "There’s a part of me that is very interested in acting. But I’ve got a few friends that are actors and when I talk to them… somewhere deep inside them they dream of being a musician. They think it’s really exciting and I feel that way about what they do."

    "So I’ve never done any acting but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t fascinate me in some way."

    Chet Faker accidently took a sleeping pill instead of a flu tablet

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    The bearded one made the confession to Zan Rowe just a few minutes after self medicating.

    In an attempt to counteract the drowsiness, he was throwing back a potent raspberry and cola cordial throughout the interview.

    It made for a very relaxed, yet exciting conversation with triple j; which is maybe why he was so forthcoming when asked about his long-awaited debut album.

    "It’s pretty close to being finished. It’s a progression. Not everything is slow. I wouldn’t say it’s all chilled out to be honest. Some of them are a bit more upbeat, almost housey a few of them. I’m from Melbourne and there is a really good deep house scene there, guys like Tornado Wallace, and I see those guys out and about."

    Jake Bugg might be the most dedicated 19-year-old at the festival

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    Less than 12 months since the release of his breakthrough self-titled debut, UK songwriter Jake Bugg has almost finished his second record.

    Showing no signs of slowing down, Bugg told triple j he’s working on the new album with legendary producer Rick Rubin.

    “‘Broken’ is the last song I want to put out before I put the album to sleep,” Bugg said of his latest single.

    "It’s been a great experience in the sunshine making music again. I’ve just got to go home and re-record them. I’d like to put it out this year so it’s just a year gap [from the debut] and keep it coming."

    The bands miss Frank too

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    It’s not just the punters that have been left with a Frank Ocean-sized whole in their heart. Shaking his head over Ocean’s decision, Drapht asked how his crowd were coping with the withdrawals late on Saturday and was greeted with a ‘F**k Frank Ocean’ chant.

    Birds of Tokyo were feeling it too. A few songs before dropping their epic sing-a-long ‘Lanterns’, Birds tried their hand at his track ‘Lost’ before losing the lyrics, and a bit of interest, after the chorus.

    Empire of the Sun would win any Rock Eisteddfod in the world

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    Androgynous dancers, excessive eye shadow and elaborate headdresses – the Empire of the Sun live show is a sight to behold. Backed by a band that looked like they raided the wardrobe of the Genie from Aladdin, Luke Steele had the crowd at his mercy. The only distraction from the futuristic and dazzling stage production was his guitar work. Shredding the whole way through the set, Steele gave the most rock n roll moment of the weekend when he smashed his white Strat on the ground before walking off for their encore. He ascended back onto the stage a few minutes later with a shiny new 6-string to punch out the new crowd fav ‘Alive’.

    Splendour punters really, really love new music

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    Overwhelmingly, the biggest (and loudest) crowds at Splendour have been found in front of the newest acts on the line up. Despite their debut only being two months old, MS MR were greeted with deafening cheers after every single song they played. Vocalist Lizzy Plapinger described it as the gig of their career.

    While over at the GW McLennan tent, you couldn’t have fit anyone else into see Melbourne solo artist Vance Joy if you tried. His first visit to the festival comes after just one EP, which features the track ‘Riptide’. By a few songs in, the only vantage point was clambering onto your boyfriend’s shoulders outside the tent.