Southbound 2013 @ Stewart Bovell Park, Busselton (4-5/1/2013)

Day One

Should you wake up at 6AM to battle Perth’s eager workaholics, buses and trucks? Or should you leave 24-hours early to get down south with your mates and pay the price of sleeping an extra night on the ground? These are two of the many questions posed when organising your trip to one of Western Australia’s most successful music festivals. Whatever the decision, the coastal city of Busselton was once again inundated with all manner of vehicles carrying eager revellers jumping to get rowdy at Southbound.

The finest of summer weather – on the tail of one of WA’s longest heat waves – was on display with campers hurriedly pitching their tents to afford some respite over the rising sun. Neighbours were being created and newly forged friendships were formed over ingenious methods of smuggling in alcohol, tips on the fine art of “vajazzling” and other such hard hitting topics.

With the stage entrance not opening until late morning “Bounders” had the opportunity to explore the offerings of Base Camp. Unfortunately for the stall owners, most punters were still trying to adapt to the increasing heat and trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible. Those who made the effort to turn up early were rewarded with larger shaded areas than previous years, and took full advantage, setting up couches in the shadows.

Opening up the Share Stage was Rainy Day Women who have a brand of summer rock that seemed perfectly catered for the opening day of a major festival. These lads are evidently going places with slots already lined up at other well known festivals. Local outfit, Emperors, encouraged their growing fan base to rock out hard in a circle pit, however, even with their best efforts this proved to be of limited success.

Ball Park Music have been getting rave reviews ever since they caught the attention of triple j. It’s easy to see why when you witness spirit fingers possessed lead singer Sam Cromack who managed to rile up a crowd with no more than a wave of his flighty digits and charasmatic persona. ‘Fence Sitter’ and ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’ proved to be the tracks that unleashed the most energy in the set, but it wasn’t enough for Cromack who bellowed, “Make some noise you fucking cunts!” And with that, they did.

By the time The Vaccines hit the stage many punters were nicely lubricated and ready to enjoy the sounds of the London quartet. Switching between the first and second album, fans appeared to be more enamoured with the former although recent single ‘Teenage Icon’ won a rabid crowd response. There’s a reason why Hot Chip have the following they do. Only but the hardest stone-moulded statue could resist Hot Chip’s sweet pop and you know it’s good when you have a dread-locked gentleman in drag dancing on the shoulders of his mates. With a set of dancefloor favourites the band arguably provided the highlight of Day One if not the entire festival.

There was a literal stampede when Coolio decided he needed more attention by performing ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Hundreds of kids streamed into the Share Stage from every direction as soon as they heard the opening notes of the iconic track. Unfortunately, but not unsurprisingly, Flume did not have the same effect on the masses despite performing a solid set immediately after.

Headlining the night were three very distinctive acts who were memorable for three very different reasons. The Hives were predictably arrogant, energetic and plain old fun. Complete with ninja roadies, The Hives still know how to rock’n’roll. They were followed by SBTRKT who revealed why he is considered one of the premier electronic/dub-step artists in the world right now.

Finishing the night on Sunny Stage was The Flaming Lips, and as good as they are, their music did not translate live so well with an ever-diminishing crowd. Despite producing a set full of colour, props, big bangs and fantastic musicians, The Flaming Lips lost the crowd early with their slow and deliberate approach, which couldn’t hold the crowd’s waning attention span.

Click to page two for Day Two review.

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