EVENT: St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, Sydney VENUE: Sydney College of the Arts, Rozelle DATE: 4th February, 2017 Hordes of crowds are descending upon the Sydney College of the Arts in Rozelle; the sniffer dogs are out in full force, there’s glitter in my lungs – this can only mean one thing! Yes, it’s time once again for the annual St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival, and today it’s Sydney’s turn to host the scorching hot lineup of local and international acts. Laneway Fest has come a long way since its initial inception in 2005, and this year Sydney is the second-last stop. Spread across four stages and twelve hours (and with a heaving 34 artists) it was always destined to be a pretty epic event. And sure enough, the day is full of absolute knockouts. Kicking off with some stellar locals including Jess Kent and Camp Cope, soon enough everyone’s favourite bogans Dune Rats appear and lure a huge crowd down, belting out some tunes from their latest release “The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit”, as well as a pretty spot-on cover of the Violent Femmes classic “Blister in the Sun”. This set gives way to the stage next door where psych-lords King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard wield their weird and wild fuzz over a mammoth crowd - there’s inflatable eyeballs bouncing across the crowd, and we also get a look at Stu Mackenzie’s custom microtonal guitar that inspired their upcoming album.
Amongst some brilliant moments from Car Seat Headrest and Sampa the Great, Sydney faves Gang of Youths take to the Garden Stage. By now the brutal summer sun is out in full swing, and lead singer Dave Le'aupepe is clad is his signature head-to-toe black which gifts us the sight of him showering himself in water onstage mid song. It’s a stunning way to pass the afternoon, including crowd favourites “Magnolia” and “Strange Diseases”, but perhaps the best way to sum-up the crowd’s froth level is a picture of a dude’s bare ass as he sits on someone’s shoulders facing the stage. Magic.
Gang of Youths
The line-up starts to get tricky as ambient kings Tycho are pitted against D.D Dumbo, but luckily there’s enough time for most to traipse back and forth. And just as the absolutely flawless tones of Tash Sultana are ripping through the crowd, a pretty special moment is taking place at the Spinning Top Stage with a fist-pumping set from A.B Original. Featuring a rotating roster of guests, Trials and Briggs deliver an absolute rager complete with Indigenous dancers, a crazy-good throwdown by DJ Total Eclipse – and just a whole lotta awesome. These dudes aren’t just here to throw a message out – they genuinely have epic hip-hop chops (and PS anyone who can work in a Fatman Scoop tune instantly has my respect).
The night works its way up to a fever pitch with Glass Animals weaving their effortless cool, while the adorable Norwegian princess Aurora blasts the crowd with pure joy – and of course some back-to-back bangers from headliners Nick Murphy (brackets, Chet Faker) and Tame Impala. If your Instagram feed blew up with confetti cannon pictures, then you’ll know how the rest of the night went: a picture perfect explosion of tunes and colourful paper to the delight of music and social media lovers everywhere. The night draws to a close with some punky goodness courtesy of Luca Brasi, while Tourist and Jagwar Ma wind everyone down with some seriously chill jams.
Amid the actual music, there was plenty of distractions on offer including Mary’s Burgers, a glitter station for the people who got confused and thought they were at Coachella, and to my personal delight a pop-up stand from vinyl legends Red Eye Records. All in all, a pretty solid way to spend a Sydney summer day – and a fantastic showcase of some of the best live acts kicking around right now.
ARTIST RUNDOWN (alphabetical): A.B Original, Aurora, Bob Moses, Camp Cope, Car Seat Headrest, Clams Casino, D.D Dumbo, DL, Dune Rats, Fascinator, Floating Points, Gang of Youths, Genesis Owusu, Glass Animals, Jagmar Wa, Jess Kent, Julia Jacklin, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Koi Child, Luca Brasi, Mick Jenkins, Mr. Carmack, Nao, Nicholas Allbrook, Nick Murphy, Roland Tings, Sampa the Great, Tame Impala, Tash Sultana, Tourist, Tycho, Welcome To Country, White Lung, Whitney
WORDS + PICS BY TIANA SPETER