It’s Splendour time again, and if you haven’t been able to secure a ticket this year (it sold out in 30 minutes) then don’t worry, cause there’s plenty of sideshows to check out. Sadly, The Strokes, The Avalanches, Sigur Ros and James Vincent McMorrow are all restricted to the three days of glory in Byron, however if you’re not going to slog it out in a tent for the July weekend, don’t despair – cause plenty of the acts are coming to major cities. Here are our most anticipated Splendour sideshows of 2016, while here are our 12 most anticipated moments of the festival.
1. Band of Horses Supported by Gareth Liddiard (The Drones)
The Seattle lads released their fifth studio album, Why Are You OK on June 10th of this year to a plethora of hungry followers. While it tends to stem away from what we identify as the Band of Horses sound, it’s a breath of fresh air for both fans and the band who will be itching to play the new tracks in a live setting. Hitting the Opera House in Sydney and the Forum in Melbourne make the perfect setting for the anthem filled group. Recently we chatted with frontman Ben Bridwell about the record and working with acclaimed producer, Rick Rubin. Not to mention, the show will be supported by The Drones’ frontman, Gareth Liddiard. The solo act is a completely rearranged and reimagined, retrospective look at The Drones’ catalogue.
2. James Blake supported by Mark Pritchard
Also touring on the back of a wildly successful third album, British singer and songwriter James Blake is returning to Australia for a multi-city tour on top of his appearance at the festival. The Colour in Anything, released spontaneously in May, has been a critical and commercial success. Likewise, Blake’s international profile has risen greatly since he last graced our island – having now worked with RZA (who gives an amazing verse on ‘Take A Fall for Me’ from Overgrown), Chance The Rapper, and most prominently, Beyoncé. This will be Blake’s third time at the festival, on the back of appearances in 2011 and 2013. With all this hype, it’s safe to say we’re pretty excited to welcome him back to our shores.
3. The Kills supported by BAD/DREEMS
English indie rockers and Arctic Monkeys label-mates The Kills come to Australia in July, having just dropped their fifth album, Ash & Ice, which made its way on to the UK Top 20 Album Chart (and 21 on the ARIA charts) after being released early in June. The Kills are a dash of old mixed in with the new, obviously inspired by acts like Fugazi and The Clash, all the while carving their own path. The Kills are definitely a ‘live’ band – meaning they’ll bring an energy and ferocity to their shows that you might not get from their studio recorded stuff. It’s their first visit in five years, since the 2011 tour of Blood Pressures. Unfortunately, the duo are only playing two sideshows, one at The Forum in Melbourne and another at The Metro in Sydney, so if you’re keen on seeing them, move quick, otherwise watch their full show filmed by yours truly, here.
4. The 1975
Hugely popular alternative rock outfit The 1975 come back to Australia pretty soon after their last visit, having done a series of sold-out shows in January. Touring their uniquely titled sophomore album I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, the four-piece are playing arena shows in Sydney and Melbourne. According to Spin Magazine, The 1975 are “…bigger than you think” having slipped somewhat under the radar of the mainstream and adult audiences for a long time, securing a strong fan base among teens. The four-piece are undoubtedly unique, equal parts The Strokes and M83, while front man Matt Healy seems to take a leaf from Robert Smith, mixed with a little bit of Harry Styles for good measure.
5. At The Drive-In
The Texan post-hardcore group At The Drive-In have been around since 1993, and last played the festival in 2012, though you could’ve caught Omar Rodriguez’s other group, The Mars Volta, the year prior. While there seems have to been some turmoil, mainly the departure of guitarist and vocalist Jim Ward, the five-piece seem to be on firm footing, having announced a world tour and new music – not having released an album since 2000. Unfortunately, like many acts on this list, they’re only playing Sydney and Melbourne shows, still, they’re a unique group that proves that even more so as a live act. They play hard and fast and dance like maniacs – seriously, YouTube their 2001 Big Day Out performance. This is one you don’t want to miss.
6. The Cure
Probably the most anticipated and hyped announcement of this year’s lineup; New Wave and Post-punk act The Cure return to Australian shores for their first full length tour since 2007. Having a reputation for playing shows that push the three-hour mark, and not afraid to dip into old classics to keep the crowd pleased, the Gothic-rockers are playing sideshows in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth. Turning 40 this year, and still led by the wild haired and enigmatic Robert Smith, they haven’t released new music since 2008’s 4:13 Dream. Nonetheless, with 13 studio albums under their belt, there’s plenty of material to choose from. Definitely the most influential of the acts on the bill this year, even influencing plenty of the acts on the bill this year (The Strokes, DMA’s, and many more), you’d think they could rest on their laurels. However, they’ve turned this notion on its head, producing new and inspired music consistently into their older years. The show which they’re bringing to Australia will, according to the press release, bring “37 years of Cure songs, mixing hits, rarities, favourites, and as yet unreleased tracks in a brand new stage production.” Can’t wait.