Harvest Rock is back in the heart of Adelaide nestled in Rymill Park, over Bartels Road and sprawling through to King George Park. The good news is that we didn’t have the rain like last year or had to trudge through mud and as far as the weather goes on Day One you could not ask for any better. Festival time is always great in Adelaide and I think the vibe at Harvest Rock all round was upbeat and fun. Bring on the music.
No doubt the debate each time a festival rolls around is the relative merits of the line up and that it didn’t have this band or that band with many speculating for months what this festival will yield. Some might argue that the line up could have had a few more internationals but there was plenty of upside seeing some bands and artists that wouldn’t ordinarily venture to Adelaide with most playing longer sets which meant you could see more of everything.
My day started at the Harvest Stage seeing Adelaide’s very own Bad//Dreems in full flight. These guys are seriously good and each time I see them they really do up the ante. Plenty of great songs full of fire and brimstone and it seems as if Midnight Oil have passed on the baton to these guys. Set highlights included Mansfield 6.0, Gutful, Cuffed & Collared and Jack. Ducking over to the Vines Stage to catch the first part of Ladyhawke who has finally made it back to Adelaide. It seems as if it has been ages. I had enough time to hear Magic, Dusk Till Dawn and Back Of The Van.
I had a big asterisk next to the Rolling Stones Revue featuring Tim Rogers, Tex Perkins and Adalita. The heat was really starting to peak and feeling a bit parched was well worth it. Starting in fine form with Tim Rogers belting out Brown Sugar. If The Rolling Stones needed to sub in a replacement singer this is their guy. Adalita was splendid on Tumbling Dice. Kudos to Tex Perkins for sporting a Boston band t-shirt with his first number being Paint It Black. Tex and Adalita on Wild Horses followed by Timmy on Midnight Rambler were right up there as some of the highlights of the set. Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Gimme Shelter and (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction got the crowd up and about, dancing and singing loud.
There was no way I was missing out on seeing Warpaint with enough time to checkout Stars, Champion, Hips and Bees before dashing back to the main stage. Bernard Fanning pulled a massive crowd and he was happy to be back in the “Kingdom” commenting on the glorious Adelaide sunshine saying “who could ask for more”. Opening with Hope & Validation followed by hands clapping in Songbird. Isn’t It A Pity is from an album “nobody has heard” followed by Wasting Times and Change Of Pace. Having toured for two weekends earlier in the year Barnard kept this elaborate lie at each show that it was Steve Miller’s birthday. Which Way Home? morphed in to the Steve Miller cover Fly Like An Eagle. Bernard pointed out that there was one thing missing being a ukulele song which featured in Yesterdays Gone. A stripped back version of Powderfinger classic These Days, it was suggested it was more of a night time song, was dedicated to people “drowning in violence in the Middle East” was followed by a band “he used to be in” Sunsets was well received finishing on Wish You Well.
Festival favourites Ocean Alley played a really slick one hour set. They’re are well drilled and gig hardened playing a classy set. Not a whole lot of talking letting all the music do the talking kicking off with Touch Back Down, Tombstone, Knees and Simple Pleasures. Double Vision proved popular with highlights for me being Drinks And Cigars, Yellow Mellow and Holiday. The chilled vibes of Ocean Alley against the setting sun was one of the Harvest Rock picturesque moments. Bringing out some of their big guns to finish their set on Confidence, Player cover Baby Come Back and Happy Sad.
Nile Rodgers & CHIC’s performance was elite. It really did seem as if the entire Harvest Festival crowd was at the main stage transforming this space in to a massive dance floor. No doubt a tough assignment coming on after this group. One hour didn’t seem to do justice to the entire Nil Rodgers back catalogue and all the number one hits he has been associated with. It was a turbo charged opener with Le Freak with the great man Nile Rodgers saying that they wouldn’t be fucking around tonight and that they come to party and dance. It was back to back hits right from Everybody Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah), I Want Your Love, I’m Coming Out / Upside Down to He’s the Greatest Dancer / We Are Family. The lineage and influence is incredible from Madonna, Bowie, Daft Punk, Beyonce and there still wasn’t time to cover INXS and Duran Duran in the set this time. It was maximum funkosity once Let’s Dance and Good Times/ Rapper’s Delight rolled around to finish their. Nile Rodgers said that they had been overwhelmed by how much Aussie audiences have supported this tour and this night was a testament to that. Fingers crossed they are back soon.
Day One was about to come to an end with big headline act and festival exclusive Jamiroquai. Last here in 2005 there was a bit of time to make up for and he did not disappoint playing all the hits starting with Main Vein and Little L. Main man Jay Kay looked and sounded great and was full of beans covering all corners of the stage. Interesting how some people near me thought his traditional headpiece maybe a tad controversial but that seemed to be balanced with him acknowledging country. Jay Kay did concede and asked whose idea was it for him to come after Nile Rodgers & CHIC. There were some big moments in the set with Space Cowboy, Travelling Without Moving and big singles Cosmic Girl, Canned Heat, Love Foolosophy and Virtual Insanity. After a full day it was time to drag these weary bones home to do it all over again on Sunday. And that was Day One…
Live Review By Rob Lyon