5 of the most supernatural moments from Meredith 2016

HOLLY PEREIRA hits up the 26th Meredith Music Festival to document the moments that are proof that despite the grim state of affairs in the world, the spirit of the ‘Sup is very much alive and well. Read our full report here. Photos by STEVE BENN & CRAIG JOHNSTONE.

1. Cable Ties setting the pace

Melbourne trio Cable Ties looked as though they’d won the lottery as they walked out on stage to kick off the festival. Each member of the band was grinning from ear to ear throughout their explosive set and deservedly so, considering that the band are veteran Meredith punters who described playing the festival as a dream come true. The band are in fine form with the combination of their politically charged lyrics, Jenny McKechnie’s battle cry and the thundering backbone of their rhythm section the much-discussed for the duration of the festival. It was surprising to see that many boots in the air for the first band of the festival, with plenty going up during the short and fast track ‘Same For Me’. Closing the set with the impactful ‘Say What You Mean’ McKechnie screams “I am not a production unit, I am a human being” to rousing effect.

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2. Departed greats, remembered

When funk queen and former drummer for Prince Sheila E struts on to the stage the first thing one notices is her shirt brandishing Prince’s immediately recognisable love symbol. While Sheila E says few words about Prince’s passing it’s obvious that the entire set was a tribute to his music and legacy, playing a new song dedicated to his memory titled ‘Girl Meets Boy’, as well of covers of ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘Red Corvette’, ‘Raspberry Beret’, ‘Baby I’m A Star’, along with her contagious original tracks ‘A Love Bizarre’ and ‘A Glamourous Life’. Seamlessly moving from one of two drum kits throughout the performance and singing all the while, Sheila E proved to be an exhilarating live performer with uncontainable energy. During his twilight set on Saturday Ross Wilson reflects on passing of Daddy Cool bandmates Wayne Duncan and Ross Hannaford during year. When the time comes for the band’s iconic song ‘Eagle Rock’, Wilson backs it up by asking the crowd to sing as loud as possible a capella style so that it could reach his band mates no doubt watching from above.

The Triffids brought their classic album ‘Born Sandy Devotional’ to life with a wonderfully moving set that saw the likes of Alex Gow from Oh Mercy and Gareth Liddiard from The Drones join the band to sing lead vocals in place of the band’s late songwriter David McComb. When Robert McComb asked the crowd to “raise their boot” in memory of his younger brother, many naturally obliged, despite this going against the spirit of the spontaneity of boot, with some unable to contain the emotion conjured by the album’s powerful lyrical prose.

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3. King Gizzard prove why they’re the best live band in the country

King Gizzard have had a astronomical 2016. They delivered a mind bending set that felt longer than their 50 minutes of stage time afforded. Testament to the rowdiness their shows are renowned for, when things got crazy in the crowd there was a very real threat of the plug being pulled by concerned security guards. Thankfully the crowd eased up to allow the band to smash through the rest of their set, a selection of some of the band’s best numbers from their extensive back catalogue including ‘The River’, ‘Robot Stop’ and ‘Cellophane’. While their live show may quickly wear you out, the pay off is always worth it.

4. Peaches reigns supreme

It was no secret that Peaches would deliver a high-energy set and she certainly delivered, with the festival never seeing that much public nudity at Meredith outside of the annual Meredith Gift. Performing on a platform alongside two backing dancers who wowed with their costumes and choreography. Peaches too changed into a number of outfits, going from a shaggy red jacket to a self inflating playsuit and making it virtually impossible to tear your eyes away from her. Peaches was not afraid to get amongst the crowd, surfing first on the hands of the audience and then again inside a giant inflatable dick during ‘Dick In The Air’.

Peaches’ finest moment came when she stripped down to just a pair of underwear and nipple tassels to perform breakthrough hit ‘Fuck The Pain Away’. Never in all my years of going to gigs and festivals have I see someone so completely in command, making the performance not just one important for entertainment value but also in sending an empowering message.

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5. Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?

It’s a well known fact that ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is always guaranteed to incite mass sing-alongs but no one quite expected what happened when the song was played by interstitial DJ Fee B-Squared in between bands. A dance circle ensued complete with backflips and shoeys, the glee on everyone’s face infectious. Chaos erupted upon the crowd running into the middle of the circle as the electric section of the song kicked in, beer and limbs spilling everywhere.

2016 may have been a trying year but the magic in the Meredith air makes it impossible not to completely surrender yourself to the revelry. It’s a consolation to know that there’s always a place to return to at the end of the year to make all our troubles disappear, if for a moment.