There's one time a year when the population of Port Adelaide grows from locals doing their fruit and veg shopping at Farmer Joes to thousands of music fans hungry to see their favourite bands at Laneway. In its third year at the Harts Mill, the festival provided a tasty lineup of artists hailing from our own backyard and abroad, and as always punters flocked from across SA to have a slice of the action.
The day kicked off with Adelaide’s own The Hard Aches - landing themselves a spot on our city’s leg of the festival thanks to triple j Unearthed – they must have been relieved to see a steady trickle of their hometown crowd literally run through the gates at 11.30am. The duo crushed their short set, treating it no different to a humble Sunday sesh at The Exeter.
Banoffee was up next on the Red Bull Future Classic Stage - the Melbourne songstress was fresh to my ears, but I quickly became a fan; reminding me a little of Adelaide’s Hunt. Nailing her synth, while throwing down angelic vocals - she was very natural in connecting with the crowd - laughing while she sang and telling her back up "band", fellow electronic producer Oscar Key Sung to "put the drums up."
New Zealand lad, Silicon aka Kody Neilson, broke the barrier between stage and audience - coming out into the small crowd before laying on the hot pavement, then proceeding to jump on a boat docked at the harbour while he continued to sing. His unpredictable behavior resulted in his set being cut short, after he “kissed a cop’s gun” and was kicked out the festival! This guy pushes the limits, but has now been booted from the remainder of the tour.
If there was one word to describe FIDLAR’s set, it would be HECTIC. The LA skater-rock outfit didn't hold back and neither did the crowd. An empty round oval formed in the mosh pit where revelers took turns shoving each other and somehow not losing an eye. Youth anthems ‘40oz. on Repeat’ and ‘Why Generation’ took the crowd into overdrive and led to wrestle matches, while those who wanted to keep their limbs in tact watched from a distance. Lead singer Zac Carper knows how to work a crowd, convincing everyone to sit down mid set and all jump up when the band indicated. Very impressive.
One band that surprised the hell out of me, was Melbourne’s High Tension – while their style isn’t my usual cup of tea I was blown away by frontwoman, Karina Utomo. She may be small in stature, but there is a demon inside of her that unleashes from within when she opens her vocals cords – she really has to be seen to be believed.
There was one trio I couldn’t miss, Sydney lads DMA’s who melted everyone’s hearts with ‘Delete’, the song has well and truly become a staple in their live sets. Let’s hope they’re back in Adelaide soon with the release of their debut album at the end of this month.
It wasn’t all about the music though, pop up shops and food stalls from Closet Mod, Mischief Brew and Low & Slow, meant we could feast on some delicious food and drink while shopping for some fresh threads. Fans were also lucky enough to get up close and personal with Methyl Ethel, The Internet, Hermitude and Chvrches who took time out to sign some vinyl at the Crackle & Pop Records stall.
Strolling around the festival it was no wonder why Laneway continues to be held in Port Adelaide – even those without tickets paddled as close as possible in their kayaks, while enjoying a cheeky carton of cheap beer in the Port River.
Smith Street Band killed it as always, The Internet oozed swagger and Violent Soho, well what can I say- they are mental. As the sun started to set, the boys from Brizzy said, “this one is for everyone that voted [in the hottest 100]” before laying down ‘Like Soda’ followed by crowd-pleaser ‘Covered In Chrome’ and brand spanking new track ‘Viceroy’ that had every skull in the vicinity head-banging like a bobble head stuck to a tractor. All I can say is… hell fuck yeah!
As the moon replaced the sun, Vince Staples annihilated his set, preaching one love between black and white, revealing his hate for authority and bringing a bit of Long Beach to the Lefevre Peninsula.
But the man that everyone had been holding on for was Flume. The stage was set, as a silhouette of an always clean cut Harley Streten appeared, the crowd filled with fans, hungry to hear new material from the Aria award winner. Before this though, Streten bent over the decks and hit us with mega hits from his debut, ‘Holdin On’, ‘Sleepless’ and ‘On Top’, to name a few.
I was in awe to see one of our biggest electronic exports in the flesh, however when I realised I could have a conversation with the guy standing next to me, it was clear that the speakers were down too low. I wanted to feel bass hit me like a tonne of bricks, but it just wasn’t loud enough for my liking.
Still, the special guest appearances of Kai on fresh tracks ‘Never Be Like You’ and Vince Staples on ‘Smoke & Retribution’ took the performance to the next level.
I must say I was surprised to see people leaving before Flume wrapped up his performance– some punters were a pile of dust from the day’s antics, but most seemed to be heading to Fat Controller for an after party with Hudson Mohawke.
While it was impossible to see every act, the clashes didn’t upset me too much. With lineups like this one, Laneway is sure to have longevity as a world class music festival. Let’s do it all again next year.