Meredith Music Festival – Days Two and Three @ Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith (11-12/12/2010)
Saturday morning dawns to overcast skies, most are nursing headaches and there are lines everywhere. For the showers and toilets. For the Community Tucker Tent, and every other stall that has crowbarred some variation on eggs and bacon into their menu. But particularly, there are lines, enormous snail-paced lines, for coffee. You continue to wait, drizzle falls, and you consider getting all in a tizz until…
“Hi there. Would you like a toffee, courtesy of Aunty Meredith?” You take a toffee from the smiling volunteer, and remember that this is Meredith. All is well.
That sense of place isn’t lost on Sydney duo kyü either, who display a quiet awe and terror when taking the stage for the much vaunted 11am slot. What followed though was simply breathtaking. Starting in almost twee fashion with just a light twinkling of Alyx Dennison’s xylophone and hushed harmonies, things quickly move into something far more powerful, far more profound. Wailing vocals are looped and distorted, a kick drum is thudded and upper chests are used as percussive instruments; repeatedly slapped close to the microphone to the point they glow red.
Their self-titled debut is an excellent and assured release, but there is a quivering beauty and sense of earnestness to kyü onstage which is truly arresting. The Bjork comparisons ring true, and there are touches of the euphoria found in Jonsi’s body of work. Yet it is the restraint, the ability to pare things back, which makes the moments of emphasis all the more affecting. Sistar builds beautifully, while Sunny In Splodges sees the two at their best; simultaneously pounding a centre drum over a delicate series of looped chimes. Tame Impala, Eddy Current and Kid Sam may have previously occupied this ‘next big thing’ time slot, but there is no reason why kyü won’t reach similar or even greater heights.
Some puns are just too easy. Suffice to say, the unfortunately named Washed Out began their set amid a significant downpour of rain. Those who stayed present and endured the wet in the Amphitheatre were eventually rewarded though with bursts of sunshine and a warm and woozy set of chillwave and synth-pop.
Between his old time croon, fantastical tales and onstage ramblings, it’s hard not to like C.W. Stoneking. He may have toured roughly the same show for almost two years, but his talented Primitive Horn Orchestra ensure things never grow too stale. The slow swoon of Jungle Lullaby was offset by big swinging horns on Brave Son of America, and though Stoneking’s guitar broke down midway through Talkin Lion Blues– “this mother fuckin thing’s so fuckin out of tune” – he quickly recovered with the help of his band. Offering his first new song for some time, Chinese Man Blues picks up roughly where Jungle Blues left off, although the brass-heavy, low-lying tuba arrangements were sped up and given more of a free-form jazz feel. Set closer The Love Me Or Die sparked some vigorous swaying within the crowd, with C.W.’s place on the line-up more than justified.