Harvest Rock @ Rymill & King George Parks, Adelaide 29/10/2023

In the words of Danny Glover “I’m to old for this” I drag my weary bones back for Day Two of Harvest Rock. It really doesn’t matter how festivals you have been to nothing prepares you for another taxing day at a music festival and standing for long periods. With the temperature a few degrees lower it definitely did make the day a lot more comfortable until the evening whether warmer jackets were required. The layout and configuration was a bit different this year with a greater emphasis on premium packages and viewing areas so it was more about flipping through your platinum visa cards as opposed rummaging through your gold coins and joining the masses in economy… I mean general admission.

Pick of the bunch early were The Lemon Twigs. The Lemon Twigs are an American rock band from Long Island, New York, fronted by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario and one of those bands I thought I would never see in Australia let alone Adelaide. Earlier singles I Wanna Prove to You, Tailor Made and Any Time Of Day were great. The Beach Boys cover This Whole World was a great addition also. It was a similar theory for American indie band Built To Spill. Woah! These guys are freaking great! They have some incredible albums in their back catalogue and their set was loaded with great moments right from the get go with Conventional Wisdom, Stab, Goin’ Against Your Mind, Gonna Lose and Carry The Zero.

From here it was catching bits and pieces of Julia Jacklin, Babe Rainbow and Chet Baker. It was probably unp until this point more laid back and chilled vibe with festival goers making the most of a variety of catering and drink options. Right now, it was about trying to reverse the mind games that my back and legs were not saw. Did that work? No! Not really! Vera Blue is a class act and really did shine on the Vines Stage pulling off an Enya cover in Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) and Flume’s Rushing Back.

Baker Boy tore it up on the main stage kicking things up a couple of notches. With a slight delay because of technical issue Danzal Baker came charging out of the blocks with Meditjen. Decked out in a yellow suit there was no issue in seeing him from afar. Plenty of killer songs in his set including the likes of Ride, Butterflies, Move and Funk With Us. The cover of Bernard Fanning’s Wish You Well was stellar as was the Triple J Like A Version cover of Song 2 complete with all the crowd getting behind the “woo-hoo’s”. Santigold offered something different again on the Vines Stage and I’m pretty sure the security didn’t know how to handle members of the crowd being dragged up on stage during Creator.

Back to the main stage for a brief look at Bright Eyes who have to returned to Adelaide since supporting R.E.M. in 2005. Had enough time to hear An Attempt to Tip the Scales, Gold Mine Gutted, We Are Nowhere and It’s Now and Down in a Rabbit Hole. Probably not my cup of tea to be honest but the band I was genuinely excited about was Sparks. Hot damn! This performance had everything and more. It was theatrical, quirky, energetic, emotive and captivating. Brothers Ron and Russell Mael are quite the duo and there was a massive crowd at the Vines Stage to experience this much to their surprise and amazement on their first trip to Adelaide. Staggering it has taken til now to get here considering they started their career in 1966. So May We Start got things going. Angst In My Pants was classic and Nothing Is as Good as They Say It Is was from the point of view of a twenty two hour year old child who has seen enough and wants to go back. Just about impossible to do their entire back catalogue justice with the volume of material but leaned a little more on new album The Girl Is Crying in Her Latte. Set highlights include Balls, This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us and When Do I Get to Sing ‘My Way’.

Managed to catch the tail end of Paul Kelly who played to a huge crowd playing his quintessential songs of Australia. To Her Door, Dumb Things, Deeper Water, How To Make Gravy and set closer From Little Things Big Things Grow were fantastic.

Kudos to the AUSLAN interpreters who played an important role in making this an inclusive experience for everyone. They signed and danced their way through every performance winning over and gaining a lot of appreciation from this Harvest Rock crowd.

For me Day Two was all about Beck. This was an elite performance and a top choice to headline Harvest Rock. Ninety minutes of brilliance. When you consider musical geniuses Beck is right up there. Ramping up the production with a multi-level stage and audiovisual spectacular to go with it. Devil’s Haircut was superb followed by Mixed Bizness and Qué Onda Guero. Gorillaz cover The Valley Of Pagans was fantastic and I reckon the set list was as close to a greatest hits compilation as you could get. Beck seemed to be taken by the full moon that shone over Harvest Rock saying that it had been a long time since he last played in Adelaide, far to long (1998 at Thebarton Theatre to be precise). Wow, Up All Night, Girl, Soul Of A Man and Debra were brilliant. Sea Change is a mighty fine album and it was great to hear The Golden Age and Lost Cause. So good! Dreams off the Colors album was great and the crowd found plenty of voice to sing the chorus in Loser finishing the main set on E-Pro. Returning for an encore which saw Beck start on harmonica in One Foot In The Grave and then the rarely played Gamma Ray bringing it home on Where It’s At with a promise to return again soon.

It was quite the Harvest and we look forward to start speculating about next year’s line up.

Live Review By Rob Lyon

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