Laneway Festival 2017! It was a cracking day down in the heart of Port Adelaide where the Hart’s Mill precinct was turned in to an epic music festival for the day. There is no doubt that St Jerome’s Laneway Festival continues to get better and bigger every year. From a punter perspective it was a good vibe and pleasing to see that organisers put a lot of thought in to how the open spaces can be best used to enhance the Laneway experience. Plenty of food stalls and other bits and pieces to give the event flavour made for a nice distraction when the focus wasn’t on the bands. On the flipside, however, there is never the perfect solution to solve the “I’m busting for the loo and so is everyone else at the same time dilemma, what do I do?” How many portable toilets does a festival need? It never seems enough!
Moving on! Laneway Festival represents those indie bands that are on the cusp of breaking in to the music scene with an upward trajectory that will see their career take off. Just look at bands like Mumford & Son and Florence & The Machine as recent examples to the likes of Tame Impala and Nick Murphy who are all doing great things now. My dilemma, and that hasn’t changed with going to festivals for many, many years is who to see, how long to see them for, full sets versus parts of sets and my thought process goes on and on and one.
Laneway was a first taster of seeing bands such as Julia Jacklin, Camp Cope and Tash Sultana. Having heard very little about these great Aussie acts I’ll be seeking out their music because they impressed no end. That’s what impressed about Laneway 2017 was the large Australian contingent of bands established or emerging which fills me with confidence about the future of music.
My day would not be complete without watching a full set of Car Seat Headrest. Dang! These guys are bloody good! No, better than good, brilliant! It was a tough compromise sacrificing seeing the Gang Of Youths which from all accounts played brilliantly. Their set featured some awesome tunes such as The Boys Next Door cover of Shivers and the Pixies cover Motorway To Roswell. The song for me that typified the Laneway spirit was Fill In The Blank. Their set was short but still packed full of awesomeness.
Shortly after it was the mighty King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. I have been waiting a long time to see these crazy kids. How would you describe this sonic noise? Psychedelic rock? I think they defy any labels and they were nothing short of brilliant. The Gizzard had really good stage presence and my favourites were Rattlesnake, Lord Of Lightning and Robot Stop.
The Dune Rats, oh boy! They rocked! There was a big crowd on hand to see this trio tear it up and I did lose count of the “f” and “c” bombs dropped during the set. There was cause for celebrating as the band had released their new album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit. The impromptus rendition of Violent Femmes Blister In The Sun got the crowd all riled up and the mosh pit in the full swing.
One of the big finds for Laneway was A.B. Original who were superb in the forty five minute set playing songs off their relatively new album Reclaim. There will be no stopping this band in 2017. For me I found Tycho a little underwhelming and scratching my head thinking whether or not they are a mainstage act or not especially with the likes of The Dune Rats playing to big numbers on the Spinning Top Stage. Similarly I’m still wondering what all the fuss is about with Nick Murphy (aka Chet Faker). I can’t work that one out? At this point of the evening I would be expecting a lot more from a headlining act.
Tame Impala are a class act and they are literally unstoppable. Their set was one of the true highlights and memorable moments from Laneway 2017. So many great songs opening with Nangs and the likes of Feels Like We Only Go Backwards and chuck in some big singles from Currents such as Let It Happen and The Less I Know The Better topped off by chart smash Elephant makes for some pretty excited fans. The next chapter for Tame Impala will no doubt be an exciting one as they head in to hiatus.
Regrets for the day including not seeing any of White Lung, Whitney and Gang Of Youths but I guess you can’t be everywhere and there’s only so long you can stand before it’s time to pack it in. Organisers should be happy with Adelaide’s turn out and support for Laneway 2017 and the anticipation and speculations for an even bigger festival in 2018 starts.
Review by Rob Lyon