It was a scorcher of a day again in Adelaide for Laneway festival, But site upgrades and layout changes went a long way to top the 2014 event. With the port acting as the perfect backdrop, we headed along to soak up the tasty selection of national and international acts..
Words by Lewis Brideson
St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival once again partnered with 5/4 Entertainment to bring the dynamic festival to Port Adelaide’s industrial waterfront. This time around the Harts Mill enjoyed a revamp that gave us punters more shade, grass, food and street art – not to mention a few Roller Derby stars. Youngins of the 16 plus variety were also invited along to see an eclectic mix of artists and genres from home and abroad.
Adelaide’s Triple J Unearthed winners Sparkspitter kicked things off, treating a growing crowd to their unique ‘math-infected instrumental art-pop’. Their endless looping, intricate instrumentation and collaboration with the girls from Swimming became the perfect means to open the festival. The only way they could have topped this would be with a night slot full of lights and visuals to accompany their thrillingly complex harmonies.
Also flying the Adelaide flag at the festival were favourites Jesse Davidson and Tkay Maidza, who held their own alongside the big international acts. The ‘18-year-old wunderkind’ that is Jesse Davidson brought a supergroup to the stage, with members from Papa vs Pretty, Brokers and Timberwolf. The five-piece turned Davidson’s down-tempo pop into something else, completing his live set up for his best performance to date. But the party really got started when Tkay Maidza took to the stage joined by Elk (her DJ) and cloaked fans armed with water pistols. The 18-year-old Radelaide hip-hopper’s energy was infectious. Maidza’s verses were on point and the local crowd adored her, she even gave us a sneak peak of a new track dropping later this week.
Adelaide also managed to showcase the best local DJs and producers, turning the Waterside Worker’s Hall into the ultimate vibe-out zone. With the Vitalstatistix stage curated by locals Untzz Twelve Inch and the space designed by Celeste Aldahn, the dark hall transformed into a streetscape of fluro lanterns and retro TV’s. Acts including Sleezy Jesus, Freddie Norwood, Carter Bros, HVCK, 12” Phildo and Rip It Up’s hot pick Strict Face pumped the space full of house and grime for the length of the festival.
THOSE BIG ACTS
Laneway’s line-up was an assorted serve of flavours welcomed by audiences alongside the Port River. The Mistletone stage saw the likes of Dune Rats explore the bigger issues in life (religious icons, nutritious fruits, psychoactive drugs). Pond took us on a journey through convoluted Aussie psych rock, taking their new album to new places with brilliant tape echo. Courtney Barnett gave us a healthy dose of new and old material, broken strings and fans doing the Macarena.
While Future Islands have got a fair share of hype due to their front man over the past year, seeing him live did not cease to amaze. No one else will ever be able to combine a body roll and death growl with such passion. Raury on the other hand should maybe limit his bedroom-rehearsed Steven Tyler moves. While God’s Whisper gets the crowd stomping, he might not need other mid-song discussions where he lets us be, as he says, his ‘personal therapist’.
The man on everyone’s lips this festival has been Mac Demarco, who’s front and back-stage antics have led him to a cult following. Adelaide fans were not only treated to hits off Salad Days, but the Legionnaire Hat wearing Canadian goofball also unhooked an overall brace for a casual nip-slip, amongst other things. UK duo Jungle expanded to become a seven-piece, redefining the meaning of funk and delivering velvety falsettos from behind their pop-filters. Vic Mensa had everyone singing to Cocoa Butter Kisses and getting down to Down on My Luck. However, it was the two together that stood out. Following Vic Mensa and Flight Facilities spontaneous collaboration Down to Earth/Down on My Luck in Sydney, Mensa burst onto the stage freestylin’ over Jungle’s silky smooth dance tune Busy Earning – ‘ya can’t get enough’.
After an utterly mesmeric performance from FKA Twigs, the likes of St. Vincent and Flying Lotus saw the night out in style, as well as incredible live electronic performances from Jon Hopkins and Caribou who captivated crowds with their thumping beats. Flight Facilities closed the festival by flying through their brand of house music with the full first class experience, mixing their set into a true spectacle. A particular highlight was the hypnotically warped-down whistling of Stand Still, which slowly sped up into its Wave Racer remix, whilst the alluring Owl Eyes sang Major Lazer’s Get Free above it all. As we were brought back down to earth it was clear that Laneway Festival seems to only get bigger and better each year, all credit goes to the artists and organisers – you’ve set yourselves a challenge for 2016.