Homebake @ The Domain, Sydney (02/12/2006)

Whilst it’s a festival that celebrates the best of Australian music, thankfully it doesn’t

bring with it the worst of Australia’s punters. Of the twenty-odd thousand people attending

the festival there were only a handful of blokes using the Aussie flag like bogan super

heroes; the majority of them under eighteen.

This year’s Homebake was dominated by the weather like none other in the last five

years, with rain effecting many people’s choice of act. The serious down pours throughout

the afternoon caused many punters to evacuate the outdoor stages for the relative warmth

and dry of the covered stages – The Hopetoun and Big Top.

The initial plan for Homebake was to see as many acts as possible, ducking between

stages for half sets to fill out what’s been a big year of live Australian music. The rain

however, foiled those plans. Come half past Midday when the train pulled up at St James,

there was a queue that just about the reached the station. For those hoping to get in there

was nearly an hour’s wait in one line and about five minutes in the second.

Once in, the array of talent was inspiring. British India provided the background

for the beginning of the day, playing a quality set. One of the curious things about the day

was the gaps in the scheduling. At points there was up to twenty minutes without an act on

any of the stages. Whilst this allowed people to get from stage to stage, it also meant there

wasn’t the opportunity to samples tastes of act’s sets.

Little Birdy kicked off their set with Come On Come On from their latest

album Hollywood. The first half of the show was peppered with songs from both their

debut and follow up albums, and showed the band’s prowess on the big stage. The

Midnight Juggernauts, played Homebake fresh from a show in Canberra and are one

of the ‘oh so hot right now’ electro indie acts doing the rounds. Their sound, radio friendly

singles and live performance really show promise. Shadows and Raised by Wolves

really stood out, with the crowd cheering loudly as the opening bars of the former were


Curiosity and the need for a bit of a rest made Toni Collette and the Finish an

obvious choice. It was a great opportunity to chill out before the afternoon and evening. It

was at this point large drops of rain began to sporadically fall. When the storm finally broke

the music was drowned out by the sound of thunder and lightening crashing down. The

down pour sent punters scurrying like ants to get out of the rain; pulling on ponchos and

escaping to the relative dry of the trees and covered stages. It was a tad surreal seeing the

crowds part like a wave.

Close to the end of Toni Collette’s set the decision was taken to seek shelter at the

Hopetoun Stage and to check out Children Collide. Their post rock style really

impressed, along with their boundless energy on stage.

As they rain cleared and sets finished it was time to head over to the Big Top to check

out Gotye. On the way over the last of The Butterfly Effects greeted us,

and it was well worth having a listen to. Sporting freshly shaven noggins all round, the band

sounded tight and well rehearsed from their massive touring schedule this year. They even

managed to drop SOS by The Police in midway through a song.

The Gotye set was interesting as it highlighted how hard it is to get the sound

right for a festival set. After what seemed like an eternity Gotye, VJ and string quartet took

the stage, but whenever the quartet played, it was almost impossible to the hear the

nuances of their instruments over the tremendous noise within the marquee and the

deafening roar of the pouring rain outside. It rained so hard that three leaks in the roof

flowed like taps on full bore.

With the risk of getting wet looming large calm heads decided that seeing The

Vines might be a good idea, so after dealing with the pissed yobs who were hanging out

for some bangin’ dance action during Kid Kenobi’s set, The Vines hit the stage. The

early part of the set, featuring their newer material failed to impress. It was very samey

and screaming lyrics really seems to turn me off. As the set progressed the band seemed to

find their metaphoric feet, and I was duly impressed. Of note particular note was their

rendition of Outkast’s Ms Jackson, which had the entire crowd singing along.

The Vines, due to their “crank it to eleven” nature, were not plagued by the same sound

troubles as Gotye.

It was time to chill a little and check out Augie March. It was yet another fine

set by the Melbourne boys who attracted an older crowd than Eskimo Joe. As always

they were self-deprecating, almost deriding their own professionalism. One song in they

realised that only one set list was on stage, and as they began their third song Glen

Richards realised that his guitar was out of tune, at which point the rest of the band

engaged in a little improvised jamming. The highlights of their set were many, but the

stand out tracks were the ever delightful Thin Captain Crackers and One Crowded

Hour which had the crowd singing out.

It was impossible to resist seeing Silverchair close out the evening. With stage

signs that read “Young Modern,” the title of their forth-coming album, the promise of new

material was tantalising. The new material was really good, verging on the avant guard. If

there was ever an Australian band that could push boundaries like a Radiohead or

Beatles it is Silverchair. Appearing on stage with a three piece brass section and

fifth Beatle, Paul Mac, their songs came to life more than when they performed at

The Great Escape. The brass section added depth and colour to rocky numbers such

as The Door and complimented the new material well.

Rain midway through their set meant a hasty exit to the Big Top to catch Bjorn

Again doing a rendition of Wolfmother’s Joker and the Thief, which I’m

reliably informed was the highlight of their set, beating Bjorn freestyling by slimmest of

margins. With the rain not eventuating it was back to the main stage to catch Silverchair

rocking out with Freak and leaving the crowd spent, yet happy.