It was time for another round of festival goodness, or at least I thought it was. I guess this year’s Laneway was a passable showcase of “fresh” indie acts with the likes of Beach House, Battles, DIIV, Grimes and The 1975. Yes, The 1975. No hate, they’ve got catchy tunes but I didn’t expect them to replace Tobias Jesso Jr. Come on, The 1975? They should’ve just had their own concert, played more songs and both their fans and myself would be much happier.
And did I say DIIV was part of the line-up? Oh, they pulled out. At. the. last. minute. I was pissed. Sure this year’s line-up was praised to the high heavens but it looked to me as if it was going to be an electronica-fueled day (yes I know there were others like METZ and Thundercat but damn I was pissy about DIIV cancelling). The only few bands I was looking forward to were Violent Soho, DIIV, Battles, Beach House and Grimes. And DIIV cancelled, might I emphasise once more- at the last minute. It definitely dampened my mood (the blistering Singapore heat wasn’t helping either what with me fuming with rage).
But it’s okay, I tried to let that one slide since Violent Soho gave a heck of a show. This Aussie alternative rock band was my saving grace amongst the sea of electronica acts. I’m going to make a lame attempt at a meme because I don’t always curse, but when I do, it’s during a Violent Soho song. A ‘Hell Fuck Yeah!’ to you Violent Soho, your magnificently luxuriant hair brought life to the stage and jealousy to my mind (seriously, I could never wave around my long hair like you guys and not get it tangled into the guitar). ‘Saramona Said’ and ‘Covered in Chrome’ gave me a sensation to scream, shout and jump around hapzardly, as did the people in the mosh who did a wonderful job in having an awesome time (I’m no good in moshes cause I’m a right stiff).
Next in line on my personal Laneway list was Battles. But no, some bad luck there as well. Battles faced some technical problems that I’m still unsure about but am nonetheless pissed at (yo Laneway, get it together for the acts I want to see please). It’s pretty punny how people commented that we had to pick our “battles”. Haha, wow, I’m so amused that Battle’s set was cut short while The 1975’s set seemed to go forever (yes, I’m bitter, this mostly stems from DIIV’s cancellation tsk). I did however, get to hear ‘Atlas’ which was basically the main song every Battles fan wants to hear. Props to John the drummer for filling in with such tenacity when technical difficulties started, you one-handedly kept the momentum going (especially in the monstrous heat) which means your sir, are a rockstar.
Beach House was next. ‘Bloom’ and ‘Teen Dream’ are amazing albums in their own right, bringing this dreamy, hazy shoegaze sound to a whole new level making Beach House the masters of this particular sound. I could say the same for ‘Depression Cherry’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ but it seems to me that the band has gotten slightly too comfortable to move beyond and enhance what they’re already good at. Both albums feel longer than they need to be really. However, being right after The 1975, it was a delightful contrast and I sang my heart out to ’10 Mile Stereo’ and ‘Myth’ despite me sounding like a dying cat (sorry not sorry Laneway-goers who were unlucky enough to be around me).
It was almost as if I was experiencing culture shock, jumping from Beach House to Grimes. I can’t admit to being one those who thought ‘Visions’ was an absolute masterpiece (I’m sure it was, but I just couldn’t get into it for some reason) but ‘Art Angels’ was a nice change of pace for the singer-songwriter. Her second album was more commercial and easy to digest in my opinion (I know that sounds weird coming from a pretentious hipster like me). Claire is 27, but when she’s on stage, it looks like someone who’s still in their teen years, just having oodles of fun with her dancers and featuring artist, Aristophanes. Forgetting lyrics does contribute to her seemingly youth, but with her fantastic showmanship, it was a forgiveable fault (I myself can’t remember what I had for breakfast).
CHVRCHES took over quickly but I was never too interested in their music. They gave a solid and entertaining performance sure, but I was too busy looking for water (screaming along to ‘Kill V. Maim’ is no joke). A side note: it was funny to me how Lauren kept reminding us they don’t get to come to Singapore that often when this is their third time here in three years (bring some other band will ya Laneway, WHY NOT FIDLAR? They were in the Australian line-up!)
Flume tho. I was sceptical at first since I was never really big on DJs or the like (Is Flume a DJ? I’m not sure, so sorry). But Flume tho. His songs allows you to immerse in a parallel universe where there’s a constant cool breeze and club lights shimmering against your face that is lost in reverie.
Honorable mention to The Internet and Thundercat because you guys are so smooth as heck.
This was a long post, but I have my doubts for next year’s Laneway Festival. The line-up better be good, or there’ll be one less Laneway-goer (I know I won’t be missed).