Saturday, January 1, 2011


'Lo ladies and gentlemen, we're back for 2011.

This is the long haul too, got a lot of material to cover.

So, better recap, christmas at Katie and James' new place, good to catch up with everyone, game of cricket, lots of wholesome family fun. Then had to stand up on the train to the G with Beardman to watch Australia get hammered, which was disappointing. After that, visited Ocean Grove, went shopping with Katie, and packed my bags.

Next day was ever so much fun. Had to stand between to carriages all the way to Melbourne, jumped on a full Skybus and watched the awful TV, then waited in the airport for an hour to check in to open. Bloody Tiger. So, so cheap. At least the flight was uneventful.

Arrived in Hobart, got some directions from Claire, and walked over to where they were all staying, we caught up in the kitchen building. Shona and Geordie beat Jake and Shae at improvised table tennis, and there was a group of twentysomethings that had a big banner for their car with a Dazed and Confused quote painted on it (and they loved me for recognising it). That evening, Geordie and Amelia managed to make a new friend at the petrol station. I stuck around with Claire, Isobelle and Shae while Jake and James followed them, they returned all giggly. Very amusing.

Up early the next morning, Jake, Isobelle and I walked over the hill to the airport to catch a bus with everyone else. Driver was kind enough to stop for a sausage sizzle, saying that it was the cheapest food we'd get outside the festival itself. Then onto another shuttle bus to get through the gates to the bag check, where ourpacks were briefly glanced at and determined to not have alcohol. We were outraged. So much grog could have been hidden inside sleeping bags which weren't checked. Oh well.

Headed out to find a campsite, found a nice big one down a hill that was very close to two lanes and the stage itself. The girls found one that they insisted was better, we figured it must have had more guys there or something. Jake and James convinced them to come over by stealing the big communal tent, which we quickly set up. All the tents got up pretty quick, which was good.

Had a bit of a look around after that, there wasn't much going on. The first day had a couple of DJ sets but no real bands, so everyone was just exploring the place. I'm glad we got there early though, the spot we got was very good. Did a bit of people watching and making fun of the soundcheck guy, then visited The Village, which was all sideshows and stuff. We found two very drunk guys sitting in a tent that kept on playing the same riff over and over again, and telling us to hold on, as they were just the interval. They were hilarious. Much respect to Laszlo and Uncle Keith.

Next door, there was a burlesque show, but obviously this was extremely popular and crowded, so we visited another tent where Little Miss Rampage staple-gunned a ribbon to her chest, set a mousetrap off on her tongue, and put a cordless drill a few inches into her nose. Awesome. We did catch the end of the burlesque after that. Yay strippers! One poor guy got dragged on stage and humilated by a Russian dominatrix, hilarious.

Dragged Claire and Isobelle out of the tent to show them how cool The Village was, saw a very strange avant-garde hipster musical about Mary Mackillop in a shipping container which ended with Mary and a guy in a loincloth offering a communion of sakatas and goon to the audience, then we saw Mama Rosa, a batshit insane, moustachioed Italian stereotype woman. Crashed after that, not sure how.

Next morning, up very early. I dragged Shona and Isobelle out to the main stage to get a good spot on the barrier early, it was good to chill in the sun for a while though. First band up, opening the main stage, was Ben Wells and the Middle Names, a local band with a lot of friends in the audience. Not bad indie-ish rock, might have been better if Carlos the bassist's mates weren't yelling at him, but still.

Cloud Control was up after them. I'm not really a fan of this lot, a little too light for me, but every now and then it was like they flicked a switch and it was like Gareth Liddiard was leading The Drones into some heavy squealing noise. So yeah, not bad. All the triple J core kids were very appreciative.

Ran up the hill for some lunch, got talked into getting some kofta balls off the vegetarian Hare Krshna stand. They were awesome, we all got addicted to them. They tasted good, and they were really cheap. Went back down the hill out of curiousity about the Daara J Family, who were a couple of Senegalese rappers. They were so energetic and enthusiastic, we had barely any idea what they were rapping about, but they got the crowd dancing and yelling. The power went out on them with like two songs to go, which wasn't cool, but they were saved by their awesome live drummer.

Next up, the Beautiful Girls, who Shona was hanging out for. I had no idea who they were, turns out acoustic-y surfer rock. The only highlight of this set was the big last chorus of Pearl Jam's Black that they belted out. Other than that, we came under siege from the hordes of sweaty bogans who had already hit the piss. Not a fun crowd, though there was a guy being passed around sitting in a camp chair on top of everyone.

Since I was waiting for Tame Impala, I stuck around a couple of rows back in the mosh for Cold War Kids. I knew one of their songs from the radio. They seemed kind of bored and distracted, so I dunno. Not really that impressed.

Then Ladyhawke rolled onstage, pretty good stuff, but yeah, not really my kind of thing. Good mosh pit for My Delirium though. We saw Nick and Jay from Tame Impala on the side of the stage watching, which was pretty awesome. While we waited for them to set up, James introduced me to his friend Bec, who has an awesome taste in music. We sang along with the crowd to Bohemian Rhapsody as it got piped out.

So we stuck together for Tame Impala, and it was incredible, they've definitely improved since BDO. I would have liked some more from the EP, but still, got everything I wanted except Lucidity, even got the big psych out ending to Runway Houses City Clouds. And they jammed! That was really cool, they just rolled with it. Bogans in the crowd who only knew Remember Me seemed to be getting impatient though. But it was a good, chilled out set until the ending, when they stretched out Desire Be Desire Go, then thundered into Skeleton Tiger and Half Full Glass of Wine. Really good set. Grabbed a Mother from a kid who looked like he was twelve in a kiosk right next to the stage. Lucky bastard.

Once the bogans left, I encouraged James to come and watch The National with me, and we got a spot about two rows back from the fence, and some nice hipsters gave us Nodoze. They kicked absolute arse, opened with Mistaken For Strangers, and we got almost all the good stuff from High Violet. There was one drunk bogan in the crowd holding onto a beer and looking around cautiously, as if he was afraid to just join in, which made me laugh. Poor kid. Conversation 16 was awesome, as was Fake Empire. Didn't play England or Lit Up though, but still. After this, a lady came out and announced that Sleigh Bells were stuck at JFK airport in New York after a massive blizzard, and wouldn't be able to make it. I was cut.

Unfortunately, all of the bogans returned for the Rapture because they knew No Sex for Ben. I ended up all contorted and immobile about four songs in, though Pieces of the People We Love was a good opener. The lead singer kept diving off the stage, which would have been fun if the shirtless masses hadn't been yelling for No Sex for Ben.

Escaped the mosh at this point, grabbed a beer with Jake and James and found the rest on the hill for The Living End. Not a bad set, I'm glad they played Prisoner of Society. Claire was loving it, and hell, Chris Cheney riding around playing a solo on top of a double bass is pretty damn cool.

We retreated back up the hill for more food before Joan Jett came on, then found a spot about halfway down the hill towards the stage. We weren't expecting much, but the band was nuts, opened with Bad Reputation which reminded everyone who they were. Joan herself looked a bit old between two younger punks.

Sleigh Bells replacement was a hyped up band who'd played on the smaller Field Stage earlier that afternoon, Kitty Daisy and Lewis. Now, I do get that it's one hell of a tough gig replacing one of the most hyped bands at the festival. But I just don't think that a hoedown was a good swap for noisecore. Anyway. We decided to quit at that stage, after dancing around a man with a lightup umbrella that looked like a tiedyed jellyfish.

Back at the tents, we hung around for a bit until A-Trak jumped onstage, then James convinced Amelia and I to join him in the mosh. What struck me the most, apart from the insane skill that this guy has actually manipulating the music, was how calm the 90% bogan crowd was. They kinda all just did their thing and tried to pick up the closest pair of tits. Which reminded me of Ringer's, sadly, except instead of sticky floors and a crap DJ just playing a Ministry of Sound cd, you had a massive lightshow and a guy at the front who knew what he was doing. Barbra Streisand and Robot Rock were pretty awesome, and James was very impressed with a Yeah Yeah Yeahs remix.

Started heading back as Beardyman took the stage. I'm a little disappointed in myself, should have stuck around, but it was 330am. Still, we could hear it pretty clearly from inside the tent. Beatboxing.

Again, we got up pretty early the next day, and wandered over to the Field Stage where a Tasmanian band called Guthrie were warming up. Geordie and Shae grabbed a couch, which was just lying around. The band was insane, Black Keys/Clutch/White Stripes blues, soaked in Jack Daniels, with plenty of riffs and slide guitar and just stomping. So cool. I want to keep an eye on these two. Devil Went Down to Tassie indeed.

Then a fairly big crowd arrived for Boy and Bear. It was so chilled out, and the crowd was loving it. The band seemed kinda shocked that they were getting such a good reception, which the crowd adored. After their set, rushed back over with Anna for The Middle East. Unfortunately, I missed the first few songs, which probably included Lonely. Damn. But still, they made a lot of noise, and the keyboard/flute girl was incredibly hot. Their song about Vietnam was really good, and we managed to catch The Darkest Side and Blood. Still.

Refuelled after that, as Washington started up. Watched her set from the hill as Isobelle drifted off to sleep. Megan Washington really is tiny. She did a cover of I Touch Myself, which James and Shona took off for. I encouraged everyone to dive into the mosh for Children Collide, then found myself a spot one or two rows from the barrier.

They went off. Channelling a bit of Cobain with the whole thrashing around the stage. Crowd was so good too, no bogans trying to force their way forward, just a whole lot of people jumping around and getting sprayed by hoses. Would have liked Complacency No Vacancy, but hell, Across the Earth and Jellylegs made up for it. One of my favourite sets.

Met up with Bec and headed over to watch Ash Grunwald at the other stage, found the others and had a beer in the shade before joining the throng. Every song of his sounds kinda similar, but his slide solos were damn good, and I will always have respect if a band has a designated guy to just bash on scrap metal like a car door. He got the crowd singing along to John the Revelator, which was cool, but the White Stripes did it better.

Back to the main stage to catch the end of Hot Hot Heat's set, then James decided we should all go way up the front for Angus and Julia Stone. They were filling up giant hot air balloons and hanging them around the stage, then bringing out wooden clouds to surround the drum kit. Cool, I think, crowd'll be chilled, stage looks cool.

The typical bogan male is shirtless, sweaty, drunk, and bigger than just about everyone, and so uses this to it's advantage to push forward to the front, even if it doesn't know what's going on. The female bogan is almost the opposite, in that they just want their own place to dance, but that place has to be at the front. You aren't allowed to push, because she will just push you back and scream at you, and possibly bite you, as one guy near me learnt. Angus and Julia obviously have enough crossover appeal for mainstream annoying 16 year olds, so there was a lot of pressure going forwards and lots of girls jumping up on shoulders. I helped two girls who got knocked over by a bleached blonde whore, then figured bugger it, not really that good. Jumped out and got some more delicious kofta balls, then hung around looking for the others.

Public Enemy were up next, harnessing the bogan crowd by appealling to them with Flava Flav's reality stardom. I suppose their set was alright, I wasn't really paying much attention. They had two guys in full combat fatigues marching around on stage around the rappers, which would have been ever so much fun in the heat. Went back to the tent and found almost everyone chilling, which was good.

We split up after having another drink, and James and I took advantage of the bogan rush to the bar to get good spots near the front for Paul Kelly. He had a fun set, and I was surrounded by die hards who knew every single word. Before Too Long went off, but I'm still weary of Everything's Turning to White after bloody Jindabyne.

Managed to mosh my way forward for Interpol and found myself leaning over two girls on the barrier chatting to a guy who'd been waiting to see Interpol for eight years with his girlfriend. Gave Isobelle, who had been clinging onto the barrier for dear life all this time, my camera to take some good photos, and moshed. They had a pretty good set, Narc was really good and Barricade was a good screamalong. The lighting and stuff was really cool as well, very moody and dark, and I swear they replicated the Turn on the Bright Lights cover every now and then.

When they got off stage, Zan Rowe from triple J took control of the piped out music, and she played Seven Nation Army and Last Nite, which was cool. Suddenly it was 2 minutes to midnight, and Peaches appeared wearing a leotard made out of boobs with barbie doll heads on them, and almost completely missed out on the countdown. Still. Pretty funny.

Then we were in 2011, Klaxons roared onstage and launched themselves into Atlantis to Interzone. James went nuts beside me. They had an awesome set, I heard everything I wanted to hear, and hell, it just feels damn good to be a row back from the barrier, in front of twelve thousand people, watching a goddamn awesome band, at midnight on New Year's Eve. The band were into it as well, they said they didn't want to leave.

Isobelle and I literally jumped out of the mosh and gave James a spot on the barrier with Amelia when Klaxons finished, and found our way to water. There were hundreds of glowsticks in the space between the stage and the barrier. We watched some of Peaches DJ show from the hill for a bit, then realised she was just playing club songs while people in frilly outfits wandered around the stage. Meh. Went back to the tent and crashed like a motherbitch at around 3am.

This morning was so much fun, James woke me up at 615 as he had to leave with Shae to catch the early flight. Quickly demolished the tent, helped Claire pack up hers, and made it to the shuttle buses with her and Isobelle. Trip back into Hobart was pretty dull except for a paranoid copper who thought people without seats on the bus should be standing in the aisle and not sitting, which is weird. He threatened to fine the driver, who laughed it off as soon as he sped away.

Spent an hour and a half recovering over coffee and hot chocolate in the airport. We saw The Middle East checking in their luggage, which was cool, and the entire Public Enemy crew at the business class bit. Flava Flav was wearing his giant clock and was willing to have photos taken with girls. We saw Dan Sultan looking kind of haughty at the coffee place, then one of the DJs from the second day sat next to us. We thought he was the guy from Vampire Weekend, but apparently he was just a fill in. Either way, apparently we made his day when Isobelle asked him to sign her poster anyway, he was pretty cool. We saw the crowd again and said goodbye a second time, then checked in and hung around in the departure lounge. Plane trip was dull except for a bit of turbulence.

Land, find luggage, find Skybus (we followed a couple that we'd seen at every single band, they probably thought we were stalking them), find tickets home, then find food. We collapsed outside the cathedral on the grass where thousands of drunks probably pissed the night before eating an ungodly amount of maccas and subway, then went back to Flinders St and chilled. Isobelle took an early train, and Claire and I ate fancy jelly beans and bitched about music and ATAR scores the whole way home.

And here I am, checking the news websites and making sure I get all of this down before I forget it all. Next time, I'm bringing a car, either to Lorne or to Tassie again I don't know. It was cool to meet all these people who actually liked these bands, and it was cool to see some stuff I wouldn't have checked out normally. Made some new friends too, it's all good.

I'll probably post again when I know what's going on, I'm not sure if we'll get regular programming going for a while. Either way, happy new year, etc, etc.



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