Laneway 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 31.01.2014: Part 1


In an ever-diminishing festival season, Laneway is once again the best looking festival.  Once again they’ve managed to put together the most interesting and exciting line-up and mostly managed to avoid booking the same old, same old that the competition book year in, year out.  In fact, the way that the other festivals have been booking Laneway alumni over the last few years, it has become tomorrow’s festival today and for about a third of the price.

The Creases are this year’s triple j Unearthed competition winners despite having released a single on Rough Trade.  Sadly they’re fairly landfill.

After catching a couple songs from MT Warning in passing between stages, I head to Cass McCombs on the Car Park stage, who is playing a ridiculously early lunchtime set.  As a recent convert via his new Big Wheel and Others album, I’m looking forward to seeing him, even if it is in the bright sun and heat of the early afternoon.  Based on my limited one album knowledge, he plays it far too straight though.  Big Wheel and Others has a lot a variety, sounding like a cross between Ryan Adams, Elliott Smith, Badly Drawn Boy but today he just really concentrates on the alt-country sounding songs.  It’s a gentle lunchtime set but he’s also capable of a whole lot more interesting things.

I got sent The Growl album from their PR people last year and gave it a couple of listens but didn’t really think much of it.  They’re better live but still a very derivative sounding band.  Cam Avery’s voice sounds really good but none of the songs really goes anywhere.  There’s communal handclapping in every song; could this be the new floor tom?

Next up Drenge provide further evidence that the DFA1979-inspired guitars and drums two piece has really been done to death and needs to go away for a bit.

I really enjoy King Krule and stay to watch almost all of his set.  Everyone I know at Laneway and chat to tells me it’s terrible but they really love the album.  I still haven’t heard the album but probably should check it out sometime.

Having recently interviewed Adalita, I was really keen to go and photograph her but find it a really frustrating experience as she never opens her eyes.  I prefer the photos I took of her on film during the third song.

Like a lot of people, Calendar Days was one of my favourite albums of 2013, even though I think the whole Dolewave sound is rapidly approaching its sell by date (if that point hasn’t already passed).  Still, Dick Diver do it better than anyone which might explain why it sounds so tired when other bands do it.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen them and arrange my timetable to make sure that I get to see most of their set but it just sounds terrible – like a transistor radio set to an AM station inside a biscuit tin.  Although many bands I’ve seen play in this cattle shed space over the years have struggled, it’s hard to think of anyone that sounded this bad, which is a real shame as it detracts so much from being able to enjoy the songs.

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