Splendour In The Grass 2008 – Part 4

The alarm goes off at 6am, although feeling pretty tired and in a world of pain, much like I did when I climbed Mount Warning earlier in the year, I don’t manage to get out of bed until 6:30am. It’s straight into editing and I manage to get the ones I’m sending off for consideration for print finsihed off quickly and so start on the web photos. I upload some photos to flickr, write a quick blog, do a quick bit of music forum photo/blog whoring and it’s time to get back up to the site and photograph another day’s worth of bands.

It may be another day but they’ve still got the same Coldplay CD that they played between bands for the whole of yesterday. Someone, quite possibly Guy Hands himself, has obviously paid a lot of money to ensure that the Supertop crowd are the test subjects in some kind of musical Pavlovian experiment. It doesn’t work for me though. I end up hearing those Coldplay songs so many times over the weekend, that by the end of the Sunday, not only am I so over their new album that I have no need or desire to go and buy it, but I think that hearing it again might make me go on some Coldplay CD smashing rampage…

My plan has me photographing Newcastle band and UncharTED winners, Here Come The Birds first up, but our easy start to the day means that we don’t actually get to site until after the have played. My plan then has me photographing Little Red at the GW McLennan stage but we’re running so late that suddenly there isn’t enough time to get over there as Yves Klein Blue, starting at the same time as Little Red, have suddenyl started their set on the Supertop stage. So I end up seeing and photographing Yves Klein Blue yet again and yet again they fail to impress.

Yves Klein Blue

Yves Klein Blue

British India are next on up the Supertop. Looking and listening to them play it’s pretty obvious that they’ve been listening to a lot of AC/DC, and it’s no surprise that they have been produced by Harry Vanda. Their recent album’ ‘Thieves’ managed to get to #5 in the Aria Album chart (based on a tiny amount of sales if you believe everything you read), and whilst its an energetic performance and fun to photograph, musically it’s just the usual derivative Oz Rock that Australians can’t seem to get enough of, but which means little outside of these shores.

British India

British India

Next it’s time for the first walk of the day over to the GW McLennan stage for Even. Having seen the name before, recently seen that their debut album Less Is More was voted in at number 36 in The Age’s 2008 poll of the greatest Australian albums ever, but having never heard them I was looking forward to seeing what they were like. But they are disappointing, very pedestrian and seemingly playing largely on autopilot. It doesn’t make for the greatest photographic experience either. It’s another small crowd in the tent to see them, although I guess they are playing to a slightly bigger audience than the 5 paying punters they got recently at a show in Coolangatta.

Even

Even

Although not on my plan, as I’m in the vicinity I end up at Van She in the Mix Up tent. Next time Everett True derides the Australian music press for being too soft on Australian bands there should be a little photo of Van She. They are horrible. Despite being about to launch their debut album and despite playing a sizeable stage at a big festival, it’s a half-hearted, dull, passionless, going–through-the-motions display of a half-hearted, dull, passionless, going–through-the-motions set of songs. Having see them a few times previously when they played a mini SE Queensland tour with Mean Streaks, The Valentinos and Faker in early 2006 they haven’t progressed or improved much in the last two years, only fuelling the argument that the Australian music press constantly celebrates mediocrity.

Van She

Van She

Splendour’s love affair with mediocrity continues in the form of Vampire Weekend on the Supertop. It’s just so…so…bland…and…so…so fake. They truly have all then authenticity of a bunch of rich, privileged, white kids, who have got copies of Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’, playing African-influenced music. The fact that the band have even described their music as ‘Upper West Side Soweto’ makes we want to do very bad things to them. But the crowd go wild, and sing all the words. I expect that if, god forbid, an actual African musician, was playing over in the GW McLennan stage at the same time as Vampire Weekend, that they’d still largely be playing to an empty tent like most of the other bands playing the GW McLennan stage over the weekend. 

Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend

2 Responses to “Splendour In The Grass 2008 – Part 4”

  1. Well put…and nice shots.

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