Splendour Sideshows

Splendour in the Grass sold out in 42 minutes this year. And while most of the exciting bands (well, pretty much all of them really) were only playing the festival, some of the bands further down the poster announced sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne.

My personal picks for sideshows are The Shins (tickets went on sale today), former Fleet Fox Father John Misty and Youth Lagoon who was here only a few months ago.

All tickets are on sale at 9am on May 4.

The Afghan Whigs Splendour sideshows:
Wednesday July 25th – The Hi-Fi, Melbourne
Thursday July 26th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Band Of Skulls Splendour sideshows:
Thursday July 26th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Friday July 27th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney

Michael Kiwanuka Splendour sideshows with Ben Howard:
Tuesday July 24th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday July 25th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Django Django Splendour sideshows with The Cast Of Cheers:
Tuesday July 31st – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Wednesday August 1st – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Howler Splendour sideshows with Zulu Winter:
Tuesday July 24th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Wednesday July 25th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Friends Splendour sideshows:
Wednesday July 25th – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Thursday July 26th – The Standard, Sydney

Electric Guest SPlendour sideshows:
Tuesday July 31st – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Wednesday August 1st – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne

Father John Misty Splendour sideshows:
Friday July 27th – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Saturday July 28th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Youth Lagoon Splendour sideshows:
Saturday July 28th – The Factory Theatre, Sydney
Sunday July 29th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

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Pulp @ Festival Hall 29/07/11

While we didn’t get to meet up in the year 2000, Pulp’s reunion show at Festival Hall was well worth the wait.

Bells Will Ring knew all too well who everyone was there to see and seemed apologetic they were up on stage. While there jangly indie was pleasant it was also largely forgettable. In a smaller venue, in different circumstances they could be fantastic, but it felt like they weren’t trying hard enough to keep the audience’s attention.

This, however was not a problem Pulp had. In fact the moment roadies started to set up, anticipation had began to build within the almost capacity crowd. A sheer curtain did very little to hide the giant neon sign on stage, nor the screen made to look like a fireplace. Green laser writing which varied from the predictable “Hello Melbourne” to the ridiculous and brilliant swimming dolphin was the first sign that we were going to be in for a hell of a show.

From the opening notes of Do You Remember The First Time it was clear this was no ordinary reunion show. The band played as if they had to win the crowd over all over again and there was no sign of the mediocrity we’ve come to associate with this type of tour.

Jarvis Cocker is every bit the unlikely sex symbol he was 13 years ago, with every hip thrust causing the kind of swooning you’d be likely to see at the height of Beatlemania. With the rest of the band hovering towards the back of the stage, he threw chocolate to the audience, passed around champagne and danced like the world’s coolest creepy uncle. Joyriders and Bad Cover Version started things off well but it wasn’t until Disco 2000 provided a mid-set sing along that crowd really got moving. Sorted For Es and Wizz was the perfect comedown song, even if the rave culture it was inspired by was left in nineties.

Pulp have always been the thinking-person’s Britpop band and tracks such as This Is Hardcore and the highly underrated Sunrise hold up as well at they did over a decade ago. The Different Class heavy set still sounded relevant even though most of the crowd were no longer young and poor.

I Spy is still as sinister as it was 13 years ago and we were more than happy to relive the first time Jarvis Cocker encounter a walk-in-wardrobe with Babies. The arrival of Common People signaled the end of the nearly two-hour set and Bridezilla’s Daisy Tully joined the band to play Russel Senior’s violin part (he was the only member not to make the Australian leg of the tour). It felt surreal to hear such an iconic song live and as predicted, it went off.

After a very short break, the band came back on stage to play what could be their final three songs in Melbourne. Party Hard got the crowd moving again and it was great to see This Is Hardcore era tracks get an airing in a Different Class heavy set. The rarely played Like A Friend was a surprise inclusion and pleased many of the die-hard Pulp fans. The moment we all knew had come arrived with Mis-shapes, the perfect closer to a near perfect set.

I can honestly saw it was one of the best, if not the best gig I have ever been to. Although the sound was too bass-heavy and the venue was more of a barn than anything ( Festival Hall really need to get their shit together), Pulp put on the kind of show that puts most young bands to shame. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another 13 years for them to come back.

Noah and the Whale Interview

Noah and the Whale are coming to Australia this month for the Splendour in the Grass Festival and will be playing sideshows in both Sydney and Melbourne. I was lucky enough to talk to the band’s lead singer Charlie Fink about their latest album The Last Night on Earth, Filmmaking and a possible upcoming tour.

This interview was brought to you from a shitty Sydney hostel, $8 an hour wi-fi and a ridiculous amount of swooning.

You guys are coming here for Splendour in the Grass. What can we expect from your Australian shows?

Charlie Fink: I think you’re getting us at a very good time, actually. We’ve just been on the road for 16 weeks so we’re a pretty well oiled machine now.

Will we get to hear stuff from your back catalogue as well as your new album?

CF: We try and play a pretty diverse set from all albums. I guess the old songs get re-imagined to sound more like the new record.

 Your new album sounds quite different to your previous work. Did you consciously decided to create a different sounding album, or did it just happen?

CF: I wanted to make a record that tested us as a band. I didn’t want to rely on what I’d previously done and try and discover new ground.

The Last Night On Earth sounds like a complete album, something that is beginning to get lost in the age of mp3s. Was it a conscious decision?

CF: With all of our records I try and make the record coherent where the songs are improved by being together. You know, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I think that’s really important. Pop songs have a lot more weight in that context.

I know you’re a big fan of film and even named your band after one (Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale). You also made a short film for The First Day of Spring. Do you have any plans for more  filmmaking?

CF: Yeah, I really want to do more film. I’m actually writing a short film at the moment that I’m hopefully going to shoot next summer. But yeah, I’d really love to do more film.

Bit of a random question, but how come you’re only doing shows in Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, rather than in other states?

CF: We’re going to come back in February to do more shows because we’ve got the Fuji Rock Festival a few days before Splendour and then we’ve got to do Lollapalooza in Chicago the week after so we’ve got a limited time. But we’re planning to come back.

Do you ever freak out about the big names you play with at festivals? At Splendour alone you’ve got bands like Pulp and Coldplay.

CF: You just have to focus on the time that you’ve got, you’re 40 minutes or whatever the best that you can. I always make a list of all the bands I want to see at the festivals we’re playing at and I never end up going to any of them. Lollapalooza has one of the best line-ups.

Are there any bands you’re hoping to catch at Splendour?

CF: Well, there’s an English band that we’re friends with called The Vaccines and if we’re not playing when they are I’d like to go and watch them.

You guys seem to tour a lot. Do you ever feel like you need a break?

CF: I guess so at some point. But right now I’m enjoying the shows.

Is there anything you’re looking forward to doing in Australia?

We have a new drummer who’s from Australia, near Griffith and he’s always telling everyone that Australia’s the best place in the world. So Australia’s got a lot to live up to. So I’m quite excited.

Do you think your next album is going to be a different sound altogether from The Last Night On Earth?

CF: Um, I don’t know really. I’m not against trying new things but I generally just go with my gut.

Thanks so much for talking to me.

CF: No worries. Take care.

Noah and the Whale are playing:

Tuesday 2nd August – Factory Theatre, Sydney
Wednesday 3rd August – Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Splendour 2011 Line-up

I’ma let you finish but Splendour in the Grass had the best line up of ALL TIME!

Ahem.

After months of speculation the official Splendour line-up has been released and looks a bit like this:

KANYE WEST (Only Australian show)
JANE’S ADDICTION
THE HIVES
PULP
THE LIVING END
THE MARS VOLTA
REGINA SPEKTOR (Only show for 2011)
BLISS N ESO
PNAU
MOGWAI (Only Australian show)
DJ SHADOW
GLASVEGAS
THE GRATES
DEVENDRA BANHART
MODEST MOUSE
THE MIDDLE EAST
KAISER CHIEFS
JAMES BLAKE
KELE
THE VINES
ELBOW
ESKIMO JOE
NOAH AND THE WHALE
CHILDREN COLLIDE
THIEVERY CORPORATION
CUT COPY
ISOBEL CAMPBELL AND MARK LANEGAN
BLUEJUICE
THE KILLS
BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS (featuring THE RELATIVES)
ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
THE PANICS
FRIENDLY FIRES
JEBEDIAH
THE VACCINES
GOMEZ
BOY AND BEAR
GOTYE
DOES IT OFFEND YOU YEAH?
CLOUD CONTROL
MONA
SPARKADIA
WARPAINT
MUSCLES (Live)
FITZ AND THE TANTRUMS
THE JEZEBELS
DRAPHT
BRITISH SEA POWER
TIM & JEAN
LEADER CHEETAH
GROUPLOVE
SEEKER LOVER KEEPER (Holly Throsby, Sally Seltmann, Sarah Blasko)
YELLE
KIMBRA
PHRASE
OH MERCY
DANANANANAYKROYD
THE BLACK SEEDS
MARQUES TOLIVER
THE HOLIDAYS
GHOUL
LIAM FINN
THE HERD
YOUNG THE GIANT
GUINEAFOWL
HUNGRY KIDS OF HUNGARY
JINJA SAFARI
WILD BEASTS
ILLY
CUT OFF YOUR HANDS
GARETH LIDDIARD
ALPINE
WORLD’S END PRESS
MOSMAN ALDER
LANIE LANE

Plus DJ sets

ASTON SHUFFLE
FLIGHT FACILITIES
D-CUP (WE NO SPEAK AMERICANO)
AJAX (MEGA JAM SET)
HOODRAT & DANGEROUS DAN
LIGHT YEAR
HOOPS
CASSIAN
WAX MOTIF
KATO
TONI TONI LEE
CHARLIE CHUX
TRANTER

Pretty good, right? Kanye would be mental, Regina Spektor would be lovely and Coldplay would magically cure insomnia.

I have one little gripe though: the price. I know running a festival is expensive. And I think it’s great that they include so many Australian bands as well as internationals. But $510 is a lot of money especially when a) you’re a uni student, b) there’s going to be a ton of horrible clashes and c) none of the bands made me squeal with excitement like a 15-year-old (If Guillemots were on this list, then yes, that’s exactly what would have happened).

For those of you who like what you see the tickets go on sale May 5.