After a stellar first day, Harvest Rock 2022 returned to Rymill/ Muriawirrapurka and King Rodney/ Ityamai-Itpina Parks for a second day of festivities.
The weather had taken its toll on the site overnight. But organisers did their best to alleviate accumulating mud pits in heavy foot traffic areas. Alas, with the sheer number of people and quantity of rain that hit throughout Sunday, it was just a band-aid fix. It didn’t matter. Punters came for the food, drinks, and music. A little (actually a lot) rain and mud didn’t stop us from enjoying that to the fullest.
Local talent Slowmango opened the day with a musical blend of influences from across the globe that created a sweet and savoury buffet of international grooves. Another Adelaide/ Tarntanya act, pop-punk duo Towns, plus Ruby Fields, and Alex Cameron followed in an incredible onslaught of Australian talent in the early afternoon.
The first international act for the day, Atlanta’s Cat Power, offered an unassuming forty-five-minute set bristling with talent on the Harvest stage. While her unique brand of indie-folk-rock was high in sentimentality, it was also stirring. Songs such as Bad Religion, Metal Heart, and The Greatest were captivating and moreish. Highlights included the funkier Manhattan plus a sublime rendition of He Was A Friend of Mine/ Shivers.
With one of Australia’s newest sensations, Genesis Owusu, due to appear shortly after, choices had to be made as the day’s clashes began. The choice became Holy Holy.
A short walk away on the Vine stage, Holy Holy brought the energy up a notch. Their carefree positivity was infectious. We sang and danced to Believe Anything, How You Been, Maybe You Know, Faces, Sentimental Monday, You Cannot Call for Love Like a Dog, The Afterglow (with special guests Clews), Teach Me About Dying, Green Light, and True Lovers. Classic songs pulled from over a decade together highlighted an enormous breadth of talent.
Next up on the Vine stage was Aussie legends The Living End. With them came the rain. But as Chris Cheney wisely stated, “Shit’s gonna get fucking crazy today, and we’re going to embrace it. You can’t do anything about the weather or taxes”. Can’t argue with that.
Embrace it they did, and lap it up we did.
Opening with Second Solution, it was apparent this set was to be a highlight of the day. It was. We heard Roll On, End of the World, Tainted Love, All Torn Down, E Boogie, Bloody Mary, Uncle Harry, and Prisoner of Society. The latter had me and others literally dancing on tables. West End Riot, Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire, and White Noise wrapped the show up leaving us wanting more.
As the clashing schedule pulled people in multiple directions, Angus & Julia Stone tackled the Harvest stage. While The Teskey Brothers brought their smooth blues and soul flavour to the Vine stage. The Teskey Brothers’ songs Carry You, Say You’ll Do, I Get Up and Hold Me, among others, may have been slow in pace, but they were rich in essence and emotion.
For something a little more upbeat, The Avalanches slayed on the Harvest stage in another festival highlight. As a sample of The End (The Doors) welcomed us, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi took to the stage to guide us through their musical stylings. What ensued was a clossal feel-good dance party that lifted spirits and filled hearts.
For an hour, we listened to a mix created from their three studio albums—Since I Left You (2000), Wildflower (2016), and We Will Always Love You (2020). We heard Because I’m Me, Pure Imagination, We Go On, Interstellar Love, Subways, and Oh The Sunn!, among many others. As visuals were projected upon a giant screen accompanying the music, it was difficult to ignore that this set was better suited to an after-dark slot. This would enable the full effect to be felt. Nevertheless, the joy experienced from the Australian EDM mainstay was parallel to none. In particular, the final ten minutes lifted us higher than the weed contact high already experienced. Since I Left You, Running Red Lights and We Will Always Love You were the peak of excellence. They left us beaming from ear to ear.
As the words We Will Always Love You appeared on the screen concluding the set, our applause and cheers reciprocated the sentiment.
A quick dash back to the Vine stage saw Hot Chip already in action. The dance party continued as the English synthpop outfit enthusiastically performed an eleven-song, hour-long set. We heard Down, Flutes, Eleanor, Freakout/ Release, Hungry Child, Ready for the Floor, Straight to the Morning, Melody of Love, Over and Over, Huarache Lights, and I Feel Better. For a band with a career spanning twenty-seven years, their performance showed no ill signs of age. In fact, many of their younger counterparts could learn a lesson from the veterans about longevity in the music industry.
Khruangbin and Sam Fender each held the ‘after dinner’ slots but generated steadfast crowds at their respective stages. Fender had the misfortune of clashing with headliners Crowded House resulting in an exodus of patrons mid-set. Those who stayed were treated to a solid set from the English singer-songwriter-musician that included Will We Talk?, Getting Started, Dead Boys, and Mantra.
The final performance of Harvest Rock 2022 was a special one. Australian icons Crowded House performed a mix of old and new songs that had the massive crowd all consumed with excitement. From the opening song, Distant Sun, we were in full voice singing along like a choir. We sounded good, Neil Finn said so. And we didn’t stop.
In a set consisting of seventeen songs, we were spoilt for choice. There was something for everyone, and really, everything was for everyone. World Where You Live continued with the nostalgia before the new song To the Island from 2021s Dreamers Are Waiting. In a show of understanding and appreciation for their fan base minimal new songs were included. Whatever You Want was the only other appearance from the current album later in the show. We wanted to hear the classics. That is what Crowded House delivered.
Pineapple Head, When You Come, Private Universe, Sister Madly, It’s Only Natural, and Mean to Me were a delight. Finn was cheerful, chatting with the band and the crowd alike. In fact, everyone in the band was. There was an electric and infectious vibe. From playing the wrong songs, creating impromptu songs for audience members, and incorporating lyrics from The Sound of Music into songs, it was an exuberant evening of entertainment.
Songs such as Fall at Your Feet, Four Seasons in One Day, and Don’t Dream It’s Over saw everyone singing in unison. Encouraged by Finn’s call and response requests, we complied, sharing an exceptional experience.
Something So Strong blended into I Don’t Know Why Sometimes I Get Frightened (Split Enz), and the skies opened up for a final time. It didn’t just rain. It poured. As we sang, “can I have another piece of Chocolate Cake?” the self-professed ‘weather band’ got to work to rectify things. Weather With You did the job. It allowed us to enjoy and embrace the wonder of Better Be Home Soon rain-free and to bid farewell to Harvest Rock 2022.
Echoing previous sentiments from Hi Fi Way, weather aside, Harvest Rock 2022 was all we thought it would be and more. Here’s hoping it will be back in 2023.
Live Review By Anita Kertes