2011 Meredith Music Festival Review

While I was not originally intending to write about Meredith, since every man and his blog seem to do it, I thought I’d add my contribution anyway. Keep in mind that I was intoxicated and didn’t make gig notes, but you’ll get the general idea.

You know it’s a bad time for festivals when even the Big Day Out is struggling, but none of this seems to be a problem for the organisers of the Meredith Music Festival, who continued their tradition of delivering one of Australia’s best festivals for the twenty-first year.

After leaving for Meredith at 7am, my camp decided that the best way to celebrate the beginning of the festival and ward off lack of sleep would be to drink everything in sight. And seeing that the festival has such an amazing BYO policy, Friday was quite a blur.

King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard kicked off Meredith with a lot of noise and a cover of I Want To Be Your Dog.The set went down well with the newly arrived punters and it was a great way to start the festival. While Cash Savage played moody country that while decent, failed to set the amphitheatre alight.

Kurt Vile and the Violators were once of my most anticipated acts, especially after hearing wonderful things about their sideshows. Unfortunately muddy sound dampened things a little, however all was redeemed by hearing  Baby’s Arms live.

On paper Barbarion seemed like an odd choice for the festival, given the fact that they’re a medieval hair metal band. But the over the top guitar riffs, costumes (including what appeared to be bondage gear) and ridiculous lyrics were just what the festival needed and were an unexpected highlight. The pyrotechnics added another level of awesome to the set with giant flaming axes and flames whenever appropriate, which is always, of course. Their songs ranged from cocaine wenches, to favourite wives, shouting Barbarion repeatedly and axes. It was hard not to spent the rest of the weekend randomly shouting “Put down your sack/ Pick up your axe.”

From our spot in Top Camp Explosions In The Sky sounded great and I heard reports that they got a well deserved booting. My attempts to stay awake for Future of the Left thwarted by falling asleep in a camping chair, but the first few tracks sounded great.

I kicked my Saturday off with a bacon and egg sandwich and the sounds of Oscar +  Martin. The 11am Saturday slot is often regarded as a showcase of the next big things and judging by the eager crowd at the front of the ampitheatre, it seems the organiers chose wisely.

The Rechords bought retro rockabilly to the festival. With just two guitars and a double bass they caused some serious dancing. While it was nothing new, it was highly entertaining.

Deciding to skip Adalita,  Off! and Joelistics after a quick judgement from top camp, we ended up at a cocktail party in Bush Camp. We weren’t sure who was sponsoring it, but watching a guy in a wheelchair hitting a playboy model shaped piñata was one of the more surreal moments of the festival. Luckily he wasn’t hurt when he inevitably fell out.

The dark rock country sounds of Graveyard Train came complete with  members playing the ball and chain and the washboard, a clear sign of how country a band really is. Having wowed audiences at Golden Plains it was great to see them higher on the bill, and it was clear most people felt the same and dozens of boots made their way into the air. It’s a mean feat for a band to sound sinister in the bright afternoon sun, but they pulled it off perfectly.

Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears would probably have received he boot if Graveyard Train didn’t get in early. Every year Aunty adds relatively unknown bands to the line-up and this time she picked a winner. Described as a rock band with horns, they were exactly that and at 6:30 on a Saturday, who could ask for any more.

Icehouse are a strange choice of nostalgia act. Sitting in that awkward space between being legends and completely daggy they seemed to leave a large amount of the crowd underwhelmed. That’s not to say that their set was sub-standard, as hit likes We Can Get Together and Great Southern Land could have easily have come from a slightly cheesy album recorded this year. But coming before Cut Copy, it meant that most of crowd just weren’t in the mood. However it sounded good from the Meredith Eye, so that’s a plus.

There’s no denying Cut Copy are a great festival act, and now with three albums of crowd pleasers under their belt they were sounding better than ever. So Haunted and Need You Now got great responses but it was Lights and Music that really got things going with the threatening rain finally reaching the festival, seeming to encourage even crazier behaviour among the animal costumes and genral debauchery.

Nick Cave is a hero for many and even seeing him in the flesh was enough for most people in the amphitheatre. Little did we know at the time we were witnessing what could possibly be  Grinderman’s last ever show. With a silver curtain, red carpet and a million stage lights the band completely owned the stage. Nick Cave looked like a creepy sex-depraved uncle and crawled all over the barrier engaging everyone in the crowd. I sincerely hope nobody was having a bad trip during Kitchenette as the sight of him screeching “I JUST WANT TO RELAX” was frightening enough. No Pussy Blues went off as expected, and Worm Tamer was sufficiently sleazy. And a special mention must be made of Warren Ellis’ majestic beard. Leaving the stage with the words “that’s it for Grinderman, see you all in 10 years when we’ll be older and even uglier” it was hard to know if Cave was joking. Reports suggest he wasn’t.

The lunar eclipse was hidden by cloud but that didn’t stop Angus Sampson from getting up in a cherry picker and causing a mass sing-a-long to the national anthem of the moon, Total Eclipse of the Heart, before showering everyone in confetti.

The Juan Pablo Family Hour just turned out to be Yacht Club. Lame.

Big Freedia on the other hand was something else completely. Specialising in New Orleans bounce music, he/she gathered 10 or so scantily clad ladies to shake their asses on stage. It was a sight to behold at 2am and it seemed we all shared a look of confusion and amazement. Musically, there wasn’t a lot going on, but it’s hard not to get tracks like Azz Everywhere stuck in your head.

Silence Wedge were awesome.

Sunday started out with Master Song’s Tai Chi. Joining the other hungover bodies (as well as some bodies drinking goon at 9am) we stumbled our way through the exercises and tried not to laugh when the soundtrack gave out.

Eagle and The Worm sounded fantastic, especially after all of the reports from my friends of how terrible they are live. Catchy pop with horns was almost enough to make us forgot about the impending drive home and that Meredith weekend is a sometimes weekend.

We couldn’t see much of the gift but Denis Commeti’s commentary was spot on as he showed massive favouritism, encouraged a fight between naked girls and was just the right amount of sleazy.

The best thing about Meredith wasn’t just the carefully crafted line-up or the egg and bacon Sandwiches. It’s that the organisers have created a festival that encourages new and random traditions, and attracts the kind of people that are happy to see men dressed as dogs do beer bongs at 9am, yet frown upon dick heads. There’s less pretension, friendlier security and more couches than any other festival I’ve been to. Which is exactly why it has lived on to its 21st year. Bring on Golden Plains!

Hottest Australian albums of all time

The Hottest 100 has gone from being a  yearly countdown to something Triple J do whenever they want to feel relevent again. The next countdown will be the Hottest 100 Australian albums of all time may not make good radio but everyone loves a good list.  I thought I’d share my top 10 Australian albums. I’ve opted to vote for my most formative albums.I’m just glad Sister2Sister aren’t Australian, otherwise I might have exposed my shameful pop past. You can vote for your own albums and go in the running for Triple J’s Green and Gold Ticket here.

 

10.Boys Next Door, The – Door, Door

The Boys Next Door were Nick Cave’s first band and this album was the first time I heard his music. While the band dismissed Door, Door
as too poppy, it was the exact reason why I liked this album so much. I’m sure all of you would be familiar with Shivers however the other tracks on the album also hint at Nick Cave’s flair for songwriting.

9. The Basics – Keep Your Friends Close

I probably should have included Stand Out/ Fit In as my Basics album of choice, however musically I’m a bigger fan of Keep Your Friends Close because it finally felt like the band had found their own sounds, rather than simply copying their 1960s heroes. The Basics were one of the first ‘local’ bands I discovered and provided the soundtrack to year 9, despite the fact I was also listening to a lot of horrible emo.  The Basics are on Hiatus because of Wally DeBacker’s Gotye commitments.

8. Darren Hanlon – Fingertips and Mountaintops

It’s no secret that I love Darren Hanlon and this is probably his best work. Whether it’s the tale of brushing elbows with a celebrity, letting us know happiness is just a chemical or couch surfing advice, each song tells a perfect story that complements Hanlon’s country twang.

7. The Lucksmiths  – Why That Doesn’t Surprise Me

Because sometimes music you can dance to is the last thing that you need. This album got me hooked on Darren Hanlon, Bell and Sebastian and The Smiths. God I miss the Lucksmiths.

6. AC/DC – Back in Black

I couldn’t write about Australian albums without AC/DC. I took a while to really like this album, sometimes you just need to shout along with Acca Dacca and unleash your inner bogan. I got to see them live last year, which was awesome until I had a 45-year-old man continually asking me to flash my tits during The Jack. Classy.

5.Gotye – Like Drawing Blood

This is one of the more recent albums on my list but it is already regarded as a classic. The first time Ito  really listened this album I was on a family holiday in Echuca, and while the house was old and all kinds of amazing, there’s only so much foxtel a girl can watch. So in typical style, I turned to my iPod for entertainment.  The intricate rhythms and dream like pop perfectly suited the house and Like Drawing Blood is still on high rotation today.

4. You Am I – Hourly, Daily

Boroondara Library Services have a lot to answer for. I spent a lot of my tween years borrowing random albums and while most of them were terrible I also discovered a lot of my favourite bands. This was one of those albums, and probably one of the most Australian records ever released. While I have trouble relating to Arcade Fire’s image of the suburbs, I feel like Hourly Daily perfectly describes Australian suburbia and lifestyle without being  pretentious.

3. Sunnyboys – Sunnyboys

When I was younger I used to think that all old music was ‘bad.’ This is party because my dad insists on listening to nothing but Santana, who I still cannot stand, and the fact that a lot of it sounded dated. That was until my mum got me to listen to The Sunnyboys. Even to this day their debut album sounds fresh and the lyrics of a then teenage Jeremy Oxley perfectly capture the awkwardness of your first relationships. While Alone With You still gets the odd bit of radio play, the rest of their singles seem forgotten, which is a massive shame. The band went on to release two more albums, before disbanding when Jeremy Oxley’s schizophrenia became a concern. If you like your power pop tight and danceable,  highly recommend you buy this album.

2.The Whitlams – Eternal Nightcap

The Whitlams caused quite a divide amongst my household. Despite the fact they’re my mum’s favourite band, My dad and little sister, cannot stand them. When I first told my mum I liked The Whitlams she was so excited that she burnt me their albums and made a point of playing them when we were in the car together. I still think this album is one of the best Australian albums ever released and began my obsession with sad bastard music. This album was released after the death of original member Stevie Plunder and whether it’s the melancholy No Aphrodisiac, the playful Louis Burdette (which I did not get to hear for quite some time due to the all swearing) or the haunting Charlie trilogy, it’s the sound of a band who have been through a lot.

1. Living End, The – The Living End

I know The Living End are no longer relevant, or even all that good anymore, but their debut album changed my life. I borrowed this album from the library and from the opening bars of Prisoner of Society I was hooked.  The rebellious lyrics, insane guitar solos and Scott Owen’s frantic double bass playing completely blew my 11-year-old mind. This was the album that prompted me to see The Living End for my first gig when I was twelve, helped me discover Triple J and inspired me to learn the double bass. If it wasn’t for The Living End, I’m 90% sure I’d still be listening to Fox.fm, wearing too fake tan and this blog wouldn’t exist.

What are your top 10 albums? Share them in the comments. Also apologies for any terrible grammar, I had my wisdom teeth out yesterday and am still not quite functioning properly.

Tuesday Covers 14/06/2011

 

To say it’s been awhile since my last covers post is something of an understatement. But I’ll make it up to you. I promise.

The only Splendor Sideshow I’m going to this year will be Pulp. And there’s a 99% chance I’ll turn into a screaming fangirl at the mere sight of Jarvis Cocker. Seeing it’s the first time the band have come to Australia is almost 15 years, I thought I’d share a Nick Cave cover. It’s a little bit sleazy and a whole lot of amazing.

Nick Cave- Disco 2000 (Pulp cover).mp3

How good is the new Bon Iver album? Not that you need to me to tell you, because no doubt you’ve already heard it and swooned to your heart’s content. He’s also released some damn good covers over the years, including a version of Vashti Bunyan’s Train Song, which Feist and Ben Gibbard covered for Dark Was The Night. but really, I just have a soft spot for indie musicians who like cats.

Bon Iver-Train Song (Vashti Bunyan Cover).mp3