Groovin’ The Moo @ Adelaide Showgrounds, Wayville SA 21/4/2023

After a couple of Covid affected years it is so good to finally have Groovin’ The Moo (GTM) back in South Australia. The weather was absolutely spectacular and couldn’t be any better for this time of year. The sun was out and so to was all the festival fashion and splendour that goes with it. Festival line ups are always the conversation of strong debate and discussion and this one was no different. Could of have this and should of had that! On reflection it was a solid line up with some killer performances right throughout the entire day.

If any band typified and captured the festival spirit it would have been Slowly Slowly who in my opinion should of had higher billing. They got the Cattle Yard stage going. Playing a healthy slew of tunes from Daisy Chain the highlights for me came at the end of their set in Nothing On and Blueprint. BBNO$ kicked up the party vibe and it really didn’t take much to get the crowd going to be honest who had the same intentions – ‘get the party started’. Party anthems got things going before they tore through their own tunes playing the likes C’est La Vie and Bad Girl fighting it out for the coveted cookbook for whoever was able to go the hardest.

Sunshine Coast larrikins The Chats brought their unique brand of Aussie “shed” rock to the main stage playing all the tunes one would expect. Packed full of Aussie idioms it is interesting hearing their social commentary on inflation (The Price Of Smokes), the challenges of public transport (Ticket Inspector), anxiety (Panic Attack). Set staples Pub Feed, Smoko and Identity Theft proved popular as well.

Surprise packet LOLA, Adelaide’s very own, were playing a scaled back acoustic performance as a trio on the Hilltown stage which for the most part was for DJ’s. Great opportunity for them to play and hopefully one day they can play main stage but it was great hearing some of their songs played acoustically. Game On was great as well The Who’s Kids Alright which was the tops. New song Daddy’s Money was great as was Miss Depressed, Drying Out and Black Lung to finish the set.

We’ve been waiting a while for Nothing But Thieves to return to Australia and their set was pure class. Thirty five minutes was way to short for a band of this calibre. There was no filler in their set which was full of absolute bangers including Futureproof, Is Everybody Going Crazy?, Sorry and Forever and Ever More. Conor Mason thanked triple j for over playing Welcome to the DCC and they topped off an awesome set with Impossible and Amsterdam. I could have left at that point feeling quite satisfied.

Surfer rock trio Skeggs whipped a frenzy on the triple j stage and this would be the last run of shows with bassist Toby Cregan. A turbo charged set packed full of highlights including the likes of L.S.D., Save It For The Weekend, Spring Has Sprung, New Your California and Valhalla. As the sun started to set it definitely started to cool off making the idea of seeking out some hot chips a good one. Ocean Alley played a stellar set, almost the same as Heaps Good earlier this year, bringing the chilled vibes to Wayville. After constant touring their set is well drilled with back to back awesomeness which included Tombstone, Home, Double Vision, Yellow Mellow, Confidence, Player cover Baby Come Back finishing on Touch Back Down. Fingers crossed they announce their own tour soon.

It is a tough choice at any festival about what to see and what not to see so it was fleeting glances of Amy Shark and festival favourite Genesis Owusu, who I’ve already seen this year, while trying to navigate the limited options to grab tea and get back to the main stage for the rest of the action there. Whilst not my cup of tea American rapper Denzel Curry upped the ante on the Cattle Yard stage with a large contingent of fans there to see him promising Adelaide that this would be the show everyone would be talking about and the one that you would be telling your kids about. Dog Food was huge as was set closer Blood On My Nikes with Denzel promising to be back when the new album is finished.

It wouldn’t be a festival without festival specialists Ball Park Music. How could anyone not like Ball Park Music? Every time I see them they bring this energy like a kindred spirit to their performance and were a top fit for Groovin’ The Moo. Catching the first twenty minutes it was an absolute treat hearing Hands Off My Body, Head Like A Sieve, Stars In My Eye, Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You and Exactly How You Are before heading off to see Alt-J.

OMG! Alt-J were incredible and worth the asking price alone. Having been disappointed when they cancelled their scheduled Adelaide show they more than made up for it at Groovin’ The Moo. Definitely not the same as the own headline show but still grateful they played in Adelaide. I’m still in awe of their performance and will be for quite some time. Emerging from the darkness they definitely enhanced the mystique with the onstage lighting and not actually being able to see their faces. Their tour is mostly focused on celebrating the tenth anniversary of An Awesome Wave. So many great moments from The Actor, In Cold Blood to Matilda and Something Good. I was seriously couldn’t contain my excitement. The three songs back to back from An Awesome Wave in Taro, Dissolve Me and Fitzpleasure was so good. One would have though that their performance couldn’t get any grander finishing on Left Hand Free, Hard Drive Gold and Breezeblocks. I really needed a sit down after that!

Whilst the sounds of Fat Boy Slim was alluring I more than had my fill of awesome music rounding out what was a solid Groovin’ The Moo and can’t wait to do it all over again in 2024.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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