Monday, December 12, 2011

Meredith Music Festival.

'Lo all.

Once again, before we get to business, not a lot to report this week other than hitting the pub with Bernice, Annie and Macca in Hawthorn. My god I cannot stand The Hawthorn. Nevs was good though.

Anyway. So Wednesday night I got a text from Bennett saying he couldn't give me a lift any more, so after some frantic texts Bec found me a car seat. Life is good. Picked up supplies the next morning after signing the paperwork for my place next year (OMG EXCITING), then asked Angus for a lift to Bec's with all my stuff. We went via KewBar, where Wells was preparing his cache, then we took the freeway to a place in Carlton, Boxy complaining the entire way there about needing a piss and being extra paranoid about where. They dropped me off at Bec's without too much trouble though, if maybe too much honking on the horn (cheers Box).

Couple of familiar faces inside, getting keen to start cooking some muffins. We ended up watching some Coupling while waiting for the butter to work, not a bad show at all.

Up painfully early the next morning, Bec and I were out of the house by 7 when Sarah Jane arrived, we rocked out to the Avalanches all the way up. The best part about this arrangement, however, was that both Sarah and her sister were volunteering at the festival, so they got to use the special staff lane. This meant that we were parked at the reception bit at 9am when it opened, and not waiting in line for five hours to drive in. Drove straight past Wells and Bennett chilling on their boot, which was hilarious since I know they left two hours earlier than we did.

So we went in, had a look around, waited for the rest of the crew to get in. The Supernatural Amphitheatre is amazing, lanterns and stuff strung up everywhere and heaps of couches on the hill, and so green. Stage seemed kinda small but this didn't really matter. The rest of the campgrounds were nice as well, there seemed to be a lot of room. And there was a ferris wheel.

Once Ellen's car got in, we set up camp in some gum trees about ten minutes from the stage, and right next to a water tank, toilets, and a giant flag, which ended up being incredibly useful. The campsite was pretty cramped, as some of us brought tents that were far too big (in my defence, I stole my one off Lobo (THANKS HEAPS MAN!!!)). A gigantic baby blue double decker bus rolled past once we'd set up, which was incredible, I would like one for christmas to go to festivals in. Bec and I headed down to the International Food Court (makes it sound so much more fancy) for some delicious kofta balls, then caught up with the rest before the first band. Bought a couple of coconuts to drink out of, very novel idea, especially since they hack it open with a machete in front of you.

Steven and I jumped into the crowd for the very first band, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. I was impressed at how many people were in the band (including dedicated tambourinist and harmonica guy), and the fact that they started a mosh this early in the day. They sounded like a more psychedelicy Bass Drum of Death/Black Lips, very awesome and worth further inspection.

After that, we retreated up the hill and sat under a massive tree for Cash Savage, who to be honest kinda sucked. Not my sorta thing, more country than blues. After a vodka slurpee, Bec and I headed down to the barrier for Unknown Mortal Orchestra. They weren't bad, I'm not 100% familiar with their stuff after only having listened to their album once, but they were really good, at time pretty Tame Impala-ey after stomping on a few reverb pedals. I'd see them again. Liked the singer's tattoo on his throat.

Went back to the tent for food and such after that, while Kurt Vile went on stage. I've only checked him out on youtube beforehand, so I figured I wasn't missing much. Made it to the front of the crowd before Explosions in the Sky just before sunset, and they ended up being incredible. Just really, really loud. The only problem I had was that despite their deep and meaningful lyrics (that's a joke), once people realised that there was no big singalong choruses and it was just instrumental, they just started talking. Oh well.

Not sure any of us knew what to expect from Barbarion. Found ourselves on the barrier while the roadies tested some flamethrowers (!!!). Basically, imagine Tenacious D as the most cheesy metal band ever, with as many flamethrowers and fireworks as Rammstein, all in various medieval costumes. Brilliant stuff. The drummer managed to keep his Grim Reaper hood on the entire time, and the lead guitarist (who looked oddly a lot like a celtic Beardman) kept flashing the crowd with his kilt. I'm not sure I needed to see a really fat dude in S&M leather gladiator gear either, though he had a cool helmet at the start. Really good stuff, especially the flamethrowing guitars and axes, and the crowd got into it. Some of the more devoted fans smuggled in viking helmets, axes, and kegs, and were roaring every word next to me. I think this is another band that I'd see again.

Once again we headed back and chilled at the campsite as Ladyhawke started up, then I went exploring. Ladyhawke herself was pretty meh, not very in tune. Checked out the cinema with Georgie, Jeremy and Alice, where some trippy cartoons from the seventies were playing. No idea how people find these. This was cool until they stopped and a zombie film went on, and that was just awful. Back to the campsite.

Since Bec was desperate to see them, before Gang Gang Dance's set I woke her up ("it's ok, I won't fall asleep!"), and once again we were on the barrier. Unfortunately, there was a malfunctioning keyboard that messed up their set, despite the lead singer's attempts to salvage things by crowdsurfing and pulling a random baked dude on stage. Not a bad jam band though, I'll give them that. Crashed pretty hard afterwards.

Woke up in pain the next day, it was far too hot to be in a tent. Emerged and went hunting for a coffee, missing the Ballarat Municipal Brass Band in the process (I know, I know. Still curious to see what a brass band could do at a festival, but once I heard the dadrock covers I knew it was a lost cause). Sat in the shade watching the Rechords with Bec, then back to the tent during Adalita (who apparently put on a very self indulgent set). Also saw the Pope. Had a chat to a girl at the campsite who helped run Tone Deaf, had survived Burning Man, and was seeing the guitarist from Brian Jonestown Massacre. Even if only one of those things are true that's pretty cool.

After Adalita was lunchtime, while a punk supergroup called OFF! started up. They sounded pretty awesome, to be honest. Ran into Sloane once they finished, went for a stroll past Inspiration Point with her, then the group split up and I ran straight into Wells and Bennett enjoying a smoke on the grass while a wedding occurred behind them (not even kidding). Had a good chat to them and their Kiwi mate Ryan, and watched a giant slip and slide get set up, used, and then confiscated after a dude wiped out on the gravel.

I should also say that Saturday afternoon had the coolest costumes, I saw a lot of morphsuits and a Hunter S guy (funny that) among others, but it was only looking through the proper photos that I realised how awesome it would have been to sit up on that hill and peoplewatch. Lego men and stormtroopers and Mortal Kombat guys and strippers...

Made it back to the arena for Graveyard Train, who were absolutely awesome. They got The Boot, which I believe means they were the best act the crowd had seen so far, and is a very high honour. I raised my connie as well once Kim got it off ("HOW MANY KNOTS DO YOU NEED?!?"). I am keen to see these guys again, their sound is pretty unique, and the big choruses would make fantastic drinking songs. These guys were the band I went past at the St Kilda Festival with the chain-and-hammer guy. Brilliant stuff.

Made a trip for some water with Georgie and Kim that turned into HEY LET'S GET A FREE PHOTO FROM VANESSA!, but made it back in time for the second half of Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears, who rocked. Suddenly I was on the barrier just before Mudhoney, yelling along to Rage Against the Machine getting piped over.

Mudhoney were superb, opened with Suck You Dry and kept the energy going. They played a lot of stuff from Superfuzz, massive screamalong to Touch Me I'm Sick as well. Good fun when Mark Arm threw his guitar down and just jumped around the stage. At the end of the set they pulled the lead singer from OFF! (who I just discovered was the non-Rollins frontman of Black Flag! Woah!) and did a pretty insane version of Fix Me, which me and another dude behind me were roaring.

Between sets, I looked behind us to the rest of the Amphitheatre, which was just starting to light up. Looked brilliant. Lots of crazy poles with stuff on them (ie, "meet me next to the guy holding up Kermit/the owl with hipster glasses/the bamboo stick with all the glowy things"), and way up at the back of the crowd, a giant cow thing made of what I hope was cardboard getting passed around. The security guards didn't know what to do, since I suppose it was a hazard, but that's still really awesome.

Icehouse were up next, and to be honest I thought they weren't really my thing, at least at the start when they were playing more 80s synthy stuff, but then they said something about playing stuff from "when we were punks", and that was alright, slightly slower Saints/Rifles type stuff. Big singalong to Great Southern Land at the end of it, and it was kinda cool to see one of the band member's children sitting side of stage.

Something else I should comment on, the amount of younger kids here was insane, and it was pretty cool to see them on the barrier for stuff like Barbarion. I reckon if I ever breed and find myself a cool wife I'd bring my children to a thing like this til they got old enough to be embarrassed in my presence.

Anyway. Pretty long setup for Cut/Copy, they had a lot of cowbells. They put on a very flashy set, very very 80s, as a girl behind me kept saying. Also kinda gay, lots of hugging and wrestling and awkward dancing. Still. Not bad, I suppose.

Things got properly exciting after this. It was extra good being on the barrier since it had started raining during Cut/Copy's set. Had a chat to the loud girl behind me about how awesome Grinderman was and how the Bad Seeds are/are not better, then suddenly they finished setting up the extra lights and stacks of Marshalls and then oh my god is that Jim Sclavunos OH MY GOD IT IS AND THERE'S WARREN ELLIS AND MARTIN P CASEY AND JESUS GOD THAT'S NICK CAVE WOOOOOOOO.

They put on a pretty good set, shorter than the one at BDO but way less filler (Palaces of Montezuma is filler, dammit), and way more interaction with the crowd. Unfortunately, where we were was about a metre from where St Nick jumped into the crowd, much to Bec's (and to be honest, the majority of the women in the crowd's) dismay. Opened with Mickey Mouse again and closed with Love Bomb as an encore. Crazy versions of No Pussy Blues and Get It On (in which Nick accidentally knocked over the lyrics sheet and thus messed up the first verse), and he jumped in for a couple of songs, hanging around for a lot of Kitchenette while the band jammed behind him again. As The Thousands described him, Warren was wandering around the stage like a demented pirate, just awesome, smashing hihats with maracas and thrashing his violin during Heathen Child. Brilliant, brilliant stuff, which was sobered somewhat at the end when he said "that's the end for Grinderman, that's it, see you in ten years". So I'm ridiculously glad I saw them twice this year.

There was a thing for the lunar eclipse on after this, which would have been amazing if it hadn't been cloudy, I'm sure. A comedian went up on a cherry picker to announce it all, culminating in Total Eclipse of the Heart as the Moon's national anthem (they did play Pink Floyd's Eclipse beforehand though, oh well). We stuck around since there was a rumour floating around that the Avalanches were going to do a secret DJ set (OOOOOOMMMMMMMMGGGGGG), but it could have been Midnight Juggernaughts as both members were playing percussion for Cut/Copy, but in the end it was a masked Yacht Club DJs. Oh well. They seemed to be mixing all the piped over music we'd heard that day, so I said screw it and headed back to the tent. As I'd sobered up a couple of hours back and wasn't tripping on anything, I had no desire to stay up and party hard til 7am, which was when the music stopped.

Next morning, up relatively early, hunt down my coffee with Bec, Loretta, and Alice as Abbe May rocked out, then got down to the stage with the others for Eagle and the Worm, who put on a pretty enjoyable set. Then suddenly it was time for the Meredith Gift, and after grabbing some food we found ourselves with no view of the racetrack at all. In hindsight, this might have been a good thing. So we sat on the barrier and watched a few heads sprint past as Dennis Commetti tried to commentate. Apparently there was a naked wrestling match for one of the prizes. Awkward. Harry, a mate from Puggs, had a go at it, and Sarah Jane's brother made it past the heats into the final, well done that man. I can definitely see Aiden doing this race in future (... maybe not see with my eyes... you know what I mean). The guy who'd won twice before won it again, good on him.

After all these adventures, picked up all our stuff from the campsite, say goodbye to everyone, and found Sarah Jane, then watched the last band (Matt Sonic and the High Times, would it be heretical to say Kyuss-esque?) and enjoyed some last kofta balls before jumping in the car. Took us maybe an hour to actually get to the town of Meredith, then after picking up Loretta we hit the freeway and ran straight into a thing of roadworks which delayed us for another half hour or so. This is not good when everyone in the car is tired and just wants to go home and shower. Still, got to Bec's alright, said hi to James who was losing at Mario Kart on a mysterious N64 that had popped up, then headed home to Alfred st.

Unfortunately, my plan was complicated by the fact that I had to wait twenty minutes at the tram stop with all my stuff, then another half hour at Flinders st for a train. Damn Sunday timetables, not impressed. Made it home alive, and photo damage wasn't too bad considering. Had far too much maccas and wasted way too much time in the shower trying to clean out fingernails and such. I should have had a bath.

Anyway. Meredith was awesome fun. The people I went with were awesome too. I think I'll be going again next year, and to be honest I'm really keen for Golden Plains. I can see why people say it's the best festival in the world, everything's just so laid back and cool, and there really are no dickheads (I saw three Southern Cross tattoos the entire weekend). So next year, definitely.

Today's been pretty slow. I've been burning through Breaking Bad, I'm absolutely hooked, then this afternoon Patrick and Jake dropped in. They had a chat to Angus, then I took them on a brief tour of the campus (which I almost mucked up, too tired and too long since I've had to be there) since they'll both be joining me in Hawthorn next year. We headed to the Glenferrie for parmas and Fat Yaks, then to Nevs for pool, which I trounced Patrick at, and chilled out listening to Radiohead and swapping stories about shenanigans wakeboarding.

This week I'll be visiting Sale, we have a lot of activities planned, such as egging Tom when we see him and then knocking him out and tattooing for shizzle on his eyelids. Or something. I dunno. Don't tell Tom I said that. It'll be good to catch up with the droogs again though. I'll try to post again before christmas.

Hurm de furm lurm. Durm.



1 comment:

Tone-in-Oz said...

Really glad you are carrying on a tradition, I saw the flowers start of 2nd yr before they were icehoose [or even met yr mother], well, nearly, did not quite get in, but so wot. and did my first jays later on listening to them up the hill, and watched the sunrise after. long after. great blog, keep it up!