Festivals / Live Reviews

Festival Review: Falls Festival – Lorne Day 2 (30.12.14)

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We woke to a second day of rain showers and cold wind, however smart thinking by my Falls buddy, we had a warmish night after buying one of Falls official blankets the night before. It was definently worth the $40 we paid for it. What was also surprising was that I was counting on waking up early, because that’s what happens when sun blasts you in the face in the morning while camping right? However we comfortably slept in until 10am clearly demonstrating how exhausting our first day was. This occurred every morning and I found there was no time to relax, write and read before each day.

We found ourselves rushing to get ready to make an early performance by The Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir. Our tent friends next door were members of the choir so we made the effort to see what they were about and the rushing around to make their performance was well worth it. We took a seat on the grass under the Grand Theatre tent and listened as they sung a range of gospel and soul favourites. It was a lovely way to wake up and reenergise for another big day.

In the early afternoon, american rock outfit Black Lips took to the stage who were a lot of fun and brought with them some 70’s flare. Their setlist included a large range of songs from across their massive catalogue and the crowd really appeared to enjoy themselves.

I caught Asgeir next, who was one of the acts I was most looking forward too. The Icelandic singer-songwriter drew a massive crowd, many of which took a seat on the grass up on the hill and watched and listened quietly as the singer blew us away with his beautiful vocals and folk melodies. I found myself being overwhelmed by how great he was and the crowd agreed, bursting into massive applause after each song. It needs to be said, Asgeir is the best thing to come out of Iceland since Sigur Ros. There is something about Icelandic music that triggers raw emotions and connects deep. The only thing left to say is even though he sung beautifully and I’m sure stole many hearts, his show suits a theatre atmosphere where his vocals can bounce off the walls and so that the outside elements don’t impact the true experience.

After Asgeir, I immediately ran up the hill to the Grand Theatre to catch emcee Remi take to the stage. I first saw Remi back at Bigsound unintentionally late last year and found myself intrigued by his ability to work the crowd as well as finding myself impressed by his talent. I’m not someone who thoroughly enjoys rap music but there is something special about Remi. His performance at Falls was full of energy and once again he worked the crowd, getting them to participate which made the energy in the tent electric and it could be felt throughout, not just at the front. I may have lost a little respect for him as a person as I got the chance to really listen to his lyrics, some of which was quite vulgar which personally didn’t sit well with me, however that’s just me and it certainly doesn’t take away my respect for him as an artist whom oozes talent. It is easy to see why he won the Australia Music Prize worth $30,000 last year.

Sydney lads Jagwar Ma took to the Valley stage next infront of a smallish crowd. I had seen their incredible performance at Coachella earlier last year which had me itching to see them again but their Falls performance was disappointing. They played their songs well but they lacked energy and that ‘special’ factor that they had at Coachella. What was also missing was the crowd and their participation. At Coachella, the large crowd were in their own little world, dancing to themselves and clearly impressed by their performance however at Falls, a few of the small crowd were dancing but it wasn’t the same. It was disappointing because I know they can put on a greater live show.

The next band to play put on one of the best performances of the festival. Cloud Control are guaranteed to put on a great live show and they did once again despite the rain showers during their set. They played a big 50min set, that included a range of songs across their catalogue. They drew one of the biggest day time crowds of the festival, with the crowd singing and dancing along to each song. Sadly though, three-quarters through their performance the band announced that one of their founding members, Jeremy was leaving the band at the end of the festival tour to be with his family. After this, the set turned into a farewell/celebration of all that has been achieved by the four band members since forming back in 2007.

Before the next act, we went for a walk down to The Village, a small secluded area behind the main stage which was a perfect area to recoup before the big night ahead. We bought ourselves a delicious thin-based pizza for dinner, however we found ourselves getting a second one because we were both still starving and it was delicious. Right next to the pizza stall, there was a life-size chess board which I wish I got to see in action. In the same area, there was also a small stage that had small local bands playing throughout the day, as well as a small-craft area, which was particularly cool for the kids. There was also a bicycle carousel which I regret not giving a go.

Aussie favourites The John Butler Trio were next up on the Valley Stage and played an explosive set of fun rock that has everyone moving. In the evening, english singer La Roux started the party with her cute pop songs and she was the first artist of the festival to step up the production value of her set. It was the first time we saw the smoke machines used and the lighting was more expressive. We knew from this performance that the sets were only going to get bigger and better as the festival went on.

Nothing prepared us for the spectacle that was Empire of The Sun though. It was a massive production full of elaborate costumes, so much smoke, confetti, impressive lighting and additional dancers that had numerous costume changes, that kept the spectacle going throughout the whole performance. It was loud, it was fun and it was entertaining. Having limited views from the right hand side of stage, we walked up the hill half-way through the performance to have full view of the spectacle, and despite being so faraway from the stage, it was just as enjoyable as it would be being up close. No matter where you were, everyone was singing along at the top of their lungs.

As the second day of the festival came to a close, I was beginning to feel a little sad knowing there was only one day left. But if the second half of today was a sign of what was to come, I was also very excited as the biggest acts were yet to come out and play.

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