Splendour In The Grass 2008 – Part 1


It’s a leisurely start to the weekend at Splendour. Have some breakfast, Adam turns up at the hotel, we check, double-check, tripled-check that we all have everything we need for the day’s photographing and Adam drives us up to the site. Then we wave my media pass at various people working on the gate and completely blag our way onto the site and into the car park.

I get in early before the gates open with my pass and hang about at the entrance for Adam and Kylie to get their passes and get onto the site (although they end up having to come in as punters as the pass they were using over the weekend is waiting to be picked up from the VIP tent). I thought I’d get some photos of people coming through the gate, although somewhat sensibly security only let in small groups of people at a time. It then became a bit awkward taking photos of the crowd coming in, as the police and their sniffer dogs keep busting people in frame…

I have to pick up the numbered orange fluoro vest that all the photographers have to wear to get into the photo pit from the VIP tent and then just I hang out there waiting for the bands to start. I did post on TOMB when the line-up was announced that there was no way it was a $200 line-up and wondered where the money had been spent. I think the answer is the VIP tent, and it wasn’t even the real VIP area (with its chandeliers), located just behind the main stage.

The first band I photograph for the weekend is the much-hyped Galvatrons. Somehow they’ve managed to get some really high profile gigs in the UK, including Download and supporting The Police at Hyde Park (albeit on the second stage – they didn’t mention that in the PR…), plus they’re supporting Def Leppard and Cheap Trick later in the year in Australia. First mistake of the day is going to the wrong stage and missing the start of their set. The second mistake is having a can of V whilst waiting in the VIP tent as it makes my hands shake really badly during their set… I guess the third mistake is not wearing earplugs during their set… Despite the fact that most reviews seem to compare them to Van Halen you get the feeling that it’s purely lazy music journalism from people who only know one Van Halen song, as they seemed to use the ‘Jump’ synth sound on all their songs. Entertaining to photograph though, pulling out some photogenic rock moves, but don’t they and whoever signed them realise that The Darkness are soooo 2004.

The Galvatrons

Next band up are recent Dew Process signings, Tokyo Police Club. Dew Process have a strange roster of bands and watching them play you can’t help but think why Dew Process signed them when there are so many better bands on their own patch in Brisbane. They are not very exciting musically, a bog standard nu-post punk band, somewhere between Buzzcocks and Bloc Party, as if we haven’t had enough of those in the last few years. Not particularly inspiring to photograph either.

Tokyo Police Club

My plan for the day has me photographing The Delta Spirit next. However, much to my infinite regret I go and see Bluejuice instead, who I’d been told were really good to photograph. I am a bit disappointed with them, although I’m guessing they probably are more animated when one of their two singers doesn’t have a broken leg and and one of his arms strapped up. To be fair he still does give a really good go, although I manage to miss him jumping every time by not paying enough attention, but musically they just aren’t my thing.


After the three Bluejuice songs I head over the GW McLennan stage where Lightspeed Champion is the next band I have on my list to photograph. However, I catch the last couple of minutes of The Delta Spirit’s set and am bowled over by it, completely amazing. Have just enough time to take a few photos. As is typical, they played in Brisbane on the Sunday of Splendour (supporting Cold War Kids at The Tivoli), so I’ll have to wait until next time they come to Australia to catch them.

The Delta Spirit

I then have security issues, with them saying that I don’t have the right pass (the one that says ‘Photographer’ in big letters) to be allowed into the photo pit. I ask the guy to check and he says no. I asked him very, very nicely and he radios someone who OKs it and so he then lets me into the pit.

Lightspeed Champion was good, with his songs having a very English acoustic-based Brit-Pop sound. Nice shorts/hat combo. I saw in NME (I think) recently where he was bigging up Calenture by The Triffids so he must be alright…

Lightspeed Champion

After a few songs it’s time to go and photograph Hadouken! over in the Mix Up tent. They are late coming on due to a long soundcheck but when they do start playing they are just a very poor man’s Pop Will Eat Itself for Generation Y. But without the humour… And probably without the extensive band merch selection… 

They have the sound – indie/grime/rave, a bit like a lightweight Enter Shikari– and the look – umm, chav – that no one over the age of about 18 is really going to get excited about. I wonder if they bumped into The Fratellis backstage…



2 Responses to “Splendour In The Grass 2008 – Part 1”

  1. That whole Galvatrons review thing kills me as a Van Halen fan…

  2. Justin says:

    Me too. More reviewers who consider they sound like them need to go listen to Van Halen 1.

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