Splendour In The Grass Day Three @ Woodford (31/07/2011)
Grouplove grace the Amphitheatre at midday and their upbeat tunes are the perfect cure for those suffering the effects of excess indulgence from the night before. Their happy vibe and the warm weather combine to make it seem like summer had come early as they split the set between tracks from their EPs and as yet unreleased tracks from their forthcoming debut album. Highlights are Itchin On A Photograph and new track Spun but set closer Colours has all the kids jumping around and screaming the lyrics back at frontman Christian Zucconi.
French disco act Yelle bring the good vibes to the Mix-Up Tent where frontwoman Julie Budet showed that sexy accents and red bodysuits are a winning combination. Although the lyrics are in French, the crowd try extra hard to sing every word and recent hit Safari Disco Club have the whole tent grooving. A crowd pleasing set by a group on the rise.
The Vaccines are one of the year’s hype acts and while they have an easily likable sound, they’ve got some work to do on their live performances. Post-Breakup Sex from the band’s debut and only album, What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? is the clear favorite and the boys are duly rewarded with warm applause.
The late arvo audience at Noah & The Whale prove they still have life left in them when the set opens with an orchestral version of Bohemian Rhapsody blasting out the P.A. jeering everyone to sing along. Hands are in the air and people are cheering and dancing before the band even come on stage, and when they do, we overhear the crowd asking “Where’s the whale?” on a few occasions. The band play through a set of relaxed acoustic tunes including Tonight’s The Kinda Night, although they encounter some technical difficulties with the violin. L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N. is their big finish but the proposed singalong goes awry when it becomes apparent that after three days of partying, the crowd’s spelling skills aren’t top notch.
There were no drawn out introductions, flashy animations or over-the-top theatrics from Friendly Fires, only exciting, dance-inducing disco tunes that had the Mix-Up Tent moving from the moment the curtains opened. Frontman Ed Macfarlane in his uniform of tight pants and a Hawaiian shirt struts his way across the stage and throws himself into dance moves that nobody else could make look good. Jump In The Pool, complete with cowbell solo, has the crowd jumping in the air and yelling the lyrics back at the band. They’ve publicly announced their desire to become one of the biggest dance acts in the world and based on tonight’s performance they’re well on their way to realising that dream. The set is packed with hits from both their albums and the energy continues to grow, ending with arguably their best track Kiss Of Life.
“We’re here. It took us 30 hours, but we’re here.” The Kaiser Chiefs missed their connecting flights but still made it to rock Splendour In The Grass’s Amphitheatre on schedule. They kick off proceedings with Everyday I Love You Less And Less and pump out the hits to a three day old crowd that shows no signs of letting up. Drummer Nick Hodgson sings whilst playing and his talent threatens to steal the show from frontman Ricky Wilson, who runs back and forth across the stage creating a Mexican wave of hands across the amphitheatre. They play songs off their new album The Future Is Medieval but we also get Never Miss A Beat Modern Way, Ruby, and I Predict A Riot. The Amphitheatre is brimming with anticipating for Pulp and Coldplay as Wilson leads a capacity audience through Oh My God to wrap up their energetic live show.
In addition to the festival’s main stages and forum, we spent time lounging in beanbags at the festival cinema, getting a good dose of retail therapy at the Very Small Mall and ingesting various combinations of Jamaican chicken, Turkish gozleme and organic donuts. Splendour In The Grass 2011 made the most of the beautiful weather in its second year of temporary relocation to the sprawling Woodford grounds, but all signs point to the festival’s return home to Byron Bay at their new site of North Byron Parklands in 2012. With a ticket price and lineup considered by many to be a sideways step from the usual Splendour ethos, it remains to be seen how the festival will recapture a sell out audience in coming years.
One thing we do know is we’ll have the fun memories of Splendour In The Grass 2011 ringing in our ears for quite a while yet.
Words and information by Tom Mann, Sarah Smith, Crystle Fleper, Patrick Ryan, Max Gent, Jake Newell. Compiled by Crystle Fleper.