Splendour Day Two: Bloc Party, Lana Del Rey and more
Something glorious happened on Day Two of Splendour in the Grass with the ‘homecoming’ show from Bloc Party and a stunning performance from Lana Del Rey. Last Dinosaurs and Friends delivered clear pop while Mudhoney, Tame Impala and Dirty Three added an extra laver dirt (and psychedelics) to the festival fields. And over in the forum tent the ever quotable Billy Corgan held court to discuss everything from The Simpsons and wrestling to the pornography of pop music
Photos by Leah Robertson and Elleni Toumpas.
Words by Darren Levin, Sarah Smith, Tom Mann and Tim Duggan.
Additional information by, Jade Davis, Jake Newell and Max Gent
Cast of Cheers, The Super Top
The Moment: Family goes berserk with super tight guitar dualing. Call it their ‘Foals’ moment.
Crowd: As the afternoon begins the infectious energy and danceable tunes provide the perfect hair of the dog moment for reluctant Splendour benders. For a new band to half fill the Supertop so early on day two is a huge achievement.
Banter: Human Elevator introduced with a genuinely shocked: “Were you guys really here yesterday? You all look so fresh!”
The Vibe: Recharged.
Jinja Safari, GW McLennan
Opened with: Hiccups and set forth on a 45 minute odyssey of bongos, floor toms and confetti cannons.
The Moment: Pepa Knight scrambles onto the giant speaker stacks to ‘ugly-dance’ through Moonchild with a timely word of warning “Be safe. Drugs can be fun, but they can also be terrifying”.
The Banter: “Who likes Marcus’ new hat? He looks more and more like Justin Beiber everyday!”
The Vibe: Uninhibited.
The Moment: An ‘it’ band with one big hit, trying their hardest to live up to the expectations of a crowd not familiar with more than a handful of songs. A ‘sexy’ rendition of His Girls had the fans writhing and gyrating.
The Crowd: Young with huge expectations but short attention spans, many of them began to wander off mid set.
The Banter: After clambering down into the pit and taking a long drag on a fans ‘cigarette’: “Thanks for the J, now I’m feeling the love!”
The Vibe: Underwhelming
Last Dinosaurs, The Super Top
The Moment: “We’re gonna do a couple covers now,” exclaimed quiffed singer Sean Caskey before launching into Modjo’s Lady (Hear Me Tonight), which then segued seamlessly into Spiller’s Groovejet. “What the fuck is this!?” said a guy on the outskirts of the Super Top. Within 30 seconds, him and his mates were dancing (ironically, perhaps?) inside the now heaving tent. It was an inspired cover choice, which paved the way for well-known singles: Andy and Honolulu. The latter’s “heys” were sung back to the band in perfect unison.
The Banter: “Can I ask a favour?” The sense of the occasion and the size of the crowd (surely the biggest in the short career?) prompted Caskey to pull out his phone and asked festival-goers to pose for a shot.
The Crowd: Beautiful and 19.
Vibe: Fresh and clean.
Shihad, The Super Top
The Moment: With a 35-track retrospective (and corresponding national tour) on the horizons, Shihad busted out hit after hit after hit to a three-quarters full Super Top. The General Electric, Pacifier, Home Again, My Mind’s Sedate, Comfort Me – you sometimes forget just how many they’ve had over the course of their 22-year career. Comfort Me – released originally as Pacifier during that strange Triple M crossover phase – drew the obligatory bogan one-finger salute, while the band delved even further into their back catalogue than most expected, playing Factory off 1993’s Churn. “This song was written before you were born motherfuckers,” said evergreen singer Jon Toogood. He must’ve been thinking about a different crowd. Set of the afternoon by a long shot.
The Banter: After introducing the band, Toogood took a moment to introduce himself. “My name’s Jon. I’m a skinny fucker – but not as skinny as I used to be.” He still looked damn good for a guy who just turned 40.
The Crowd: “Hands up anyone under 21?” asked Toogood. Four people raised their hands. “You look about 44,” he jokes, signalling out one poor guy. Just about sums it up.
Vibe: “Fucking rocking,” as Toogood put it towards the end of the set.
Ladyhawke, The Super Top
The Moment: Black White & Blue, the lead single from the new Ladyhawke record, is laced with pop hooks but with band standing in the shadows and the star of the show ambling through the motions it simply doesn’t connect. Surely it’s only a matter of time before Pip Brown joins fellow Aussie Sia on the pop writing sidelines; to be heard but not seen.
Crowd: The punters are there with Ladyhawke and urge her onwards but sadly she doesn’t seem to notice that they’re there.
The Banter: You’re expecting banter at a Ladyhawke show?!
The Vibe: Absent.
Mudhoney, GW McLennan
Opened with: No One Has dragging the punters back through the mud to the band’s earliest days.
The Moment: Just three songs in and with Touch Me I’m Sick already dispatched the band ventures out into long stoner jams. The older diehards grin and nod heads in awe (arms still folded across chests of course).
The Crowd: Picture Lara Bingle at her most confused and you can see the what the girls waiting patiently for the arrival of Lana Del Rey looked like.
The Banter: “So this is a festival; I want y’all to clap along in time with the beat” as the crowd struggles to find the rhythm – anything beyond 4/4 is a bit of a challenge on day two of a festival.
The Vibe: Sludge.
Tame Impala, The Super Top
Opened With: The one-two burst of Solitude And Bliss and Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind? set up a dreamy set that drifted by like the scent of a certain-narcotic-substance-that-we-really-didn’t-want-to-mention-in-the-context-of-this-review wafting over the crowd. A few more cuts from Innerspeaker including Desire Be, Desire Go made new material from the forthcoming Lonerism blend in seamlessly. (After all, you don’t just tell your friends all the abstract new concepts you’ve been thinking about
recently until you’ve gotten properly stoned.)
The Moment: While Tame Impala’s new single Elephant received a warm response, it was Apocalypse Dreams (another Lonerism teaser) that really stood out. Anchored by a loping Nick Allbrook groove, the track shape-shifted so much – from Beatles-y verses to half-time interludes to psychedelic breakdowns – that a casual observer may’ve thought they were airing the entire album from start to end. Having both Tame Impala and sister band Pond on the same festival bill really illustrated how both are really two heads of the same wildly creative beast: Pond, the glammy and slightly loose counterpoint to Tame Impala’s hazy textures and well-honed groove.
The Banter: This is a Tame Impala review. If you want banter, go directly to The Dirty Three. Do not pass go.
The Vibe: Groovy, man. Groovy.