Brisbane Laneway 2011 @ Alexandria Street, 04.02.2011 – Part 2

Les Savy Fav played. Some other bands were also present

This is where I try and remember anything about any of the other bands that played…

I guess the writing was on the wall for Laneway’s status as a boutique festival this time last year, when some canny booking meant a bill that boasted Florence & The Machine, The XX and Mumford & Sons.  The festival had expanded way beyond its Winn Street constrictions to a new home along Alexandria Street at the RNA and this year the capacity has swelled considerably from last year, with an a newly sited massive main stage and the addition of a another stage, bringing the full complement up to five stages.  Laneway, at least in Brisbane, has become just AN Other major festival, just another date on the oversaturated Australian music festival season, with increasingly little to distinguish it from all the others.

Looking at the photos from the other Laneways, it looks like Brisbane gets the raw end of the deal when it comes to its location.  Whereas, the other cities provide some nice aesthetics, through a combination of greenery, water and nice buildings, Brisbane consists of stages in two car parks, a handy gap in a road between two low level brick buildings and a tin cattle shed, more commonly used for showing animals at the Ekka.  You don’t go to Brisbane Laneway to bask in the settings.

Having missed Inland Sea’s show at the Flood Bank Fundraiser the previous night, and not been too bothered, as I knew I would be seeing them today, it’s disappointing that a last minute unscheduled trip to the other side of the city to pick up my pass means I get there only in time hear the last song being played whilst I’m in the queue to pick up the fluoro vest I’ve got to wear all day in order to get into the photo pit.

At first it’s a case of stage-wandering to find out what’s what, where’s where, working out where the entrances to the photo pits are and checking the ease in accessing them.  I catch Toy Balloon at the Inner Sanctum, Rat vs Possum on the catchily named  ‘The Car Park Stage’ and World’s End Press on the Zoo/Big Sound Stage.  With it being a roasting hot day, the audience at the Zoo/Big Sound stage are largely occupying a thin strip of shade along the side of the building, and only a few brave hipsters (including one wearing pink plastic beach sandals) venture out into the afternoon sun for some ironic dance moves.

Stornaway and Menomena come next on the festivals two largest stages before another trip back to the Zoo/Big Sound Stage for another dose of Violent Soho, having see them play at the Flood Bank benefit gig the previous evening at the Old Museum.  This time around the crowd have braved the intense sun though and there’s a good mosh pit happening.  Given just how hot it is, their willingness is impressive.  Soho stick out like a sore thumb on today’s bill but play a typical set for what I see of it.  I think seeing them twice within 20 hours and also seeing them in brilliant sunlight makes a difference and it’s not as good as the previous night.

I’m something of a Jenny Lewis fan, although more so for her solo albums than her Rilo Kiley songs.  2006’s Country-influenced Rabbit Fur Coat featuring the vocal talents of The Watson Twins and the 1970s West Coast rock of 2008’s Acid Tongue, have been on high rotation at my place over the last few years.  I’d been looking forward to a solo tour for all of these years but it’s never happened and so the closest I’m going to get for now is seeing a bit of Jenny & Johnny, the band she formed with Jonathan Rice.  It’s an ok album, some good songs, some less good songs, but I think that it’s just too polished, too perfect and would benefit by being a lot more raw to give it more depth.  I also saw the band last month at ATP’s Bowlie 2 at Minehead and I think the sets are pretty much identical, although I have to rush off to photograph elsewhere and so don’t get to see the end of their set.  They played The Next Messiah from Acid Tongue at ATP but I’m not sure if they play it today, although as I’m not there to see it, I guess that it doesn’t really matter whether they did or not.  On the plus side, you can’t complain when you get to photograph Jenny Lewis.  She was one of the people I was most looking forward to photographing today, as a fan and obviously for aesthetic reasons.  The height of the stage and her propensity to have her mouth pressed hard against her mic don’t really help in getting an ideal set of photos but given the circumstances, I’m reasonably  happy with the photos.

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