Hands up who’s seen The Castle? You know, the most Australian movie ever. Apart from …
Festival season used to be a small palmful of events that required the price of a house on the East Coast to attend, but nowadays it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of over-saturation on the festival market.
Thankfully, the crew over at Laneway Festival maintain the DIY, gritty summer ethos of booking the best live acts on the international scene (whilst keeping home roots nice and strong) to come and slog it out on a simple stage that is both affordable for punters and enjoyable for the bands themselves to attend.
With the line-up that dropped yesterday, it’s wildly unfair that the likes of Falls, FOMO, Field Day and Festival Of The Sun should get all the glory.
Not so much of a hidden gem as more of an overlooked diamond at the end of a long, sweaty summer, here’s five reasons why getting along to the laneways of backstreet Melbourne is better than trekking it down to Lorne for a festival fix.
Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals
The Stewie McGill of the neo-soul revival (Bruno Mars is Shane Warne in this metaphor folks), Anderson may have arrived on the later side of a still raging party, but that ‘peak’ hasn’t prevented the charismatic performer from becoming a must see on the world stage. The past year alone has seen Paak collaborate with the likes of Marcus Miller, Rhapsody and KAYTRANADA, in addition to dropping a collection of filthy grooves in the form of his Malibu LP. A worthy headliner and absolute must-see.
Similarly, to our previous entry, the Canadian instrumental jazz quartet have lent their chops to more than their fair share of big name recently. With the likes of Odd Future, River Tiber and a house band gig alongside Ghostface Killah under their belt, it’s clear that these lads are a cut above the standard touring soul act. Alongside contemporaries Snarky Puppy and Robert Glasper, BBNG are bringing jazz firmly back into the public eye. The musicianship will leave you spellbound.
Rounding out the soul/ hip-hop entries on this list is Syd The Kid and her band of merry men, The Internet. With last year’s Ego Death catapulting them from underground groove masters to R&B Grammy nominees, the meteoric rise of this band hasn’t been without good reason. The mix of Syd’s smoky, husky vocals with the tasty grooves of an incredible rhythm section result in a narcotic fuelled, late-night jam that is as captivating as is dangerous.
It’s ok, organisers haven’t completely forgotten the power of a distortion pedal and good grunge hook. UK punks Wolf Alice might not be the next Nirvana, but they sure as shit hold a candle to the 90’s icons. Creating simply pop songs and then tearing them apart with a hurricane of guitars and shrieks courtesy of frontwoman Ellie Roswell, the outfit has been steadily amassing a horde of disgruntled millennials to their standard. Having torn the iconic Glastonbury Festival stage a new one, if you like rock and miss these guys, you have no excuse.
City Calm Down
Indie rock might be pretentious, especially when the people producing it don leather jackets and slicked back hair, ala Arctic Monkeys, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still really friggn’ cool when done well. Channelling the likes of The National and The Killers with their new wave synth rock, Sydneysiders City Calm Down made a massive splash internationally with their acclaimed 2016 debut In A Restless House, and developed a stunning live soundscape to back it up. Fingers crossed they pull out this cover at the festival next year.
Laneway Festival will take in all Australian capital cities this Feb. All details regarding tickets and the full lineup can be found here.