Photos and Review By Britt Andrews
Canberra’s newest boutique festival Spilt Milk was the first cab off the rank of this summer’s festivals. With a killer lineup and a parkland location, a few hiccups left some punters crying, while others loved it. Here are the ten talking points of Spilt Milk.
Despite still being in a capital city, Spilt Milk’s Canberra location was far enough away from Sydney to feel like a road trip, but not so far away that you want to kill your mates by the time you get there. Situated in Commonwealth Park, the main stages were at the bottom of a hill, so you had a pretty good view no matter whether you were up front, or hanging in the shade up the top of the hill.
— Martin Ollman (@martin_o) December 4, 2016
WHAT HAPPENED AT THE GATES?
I arrived at the festival 45 minutes after the gates were supposed to have opened, to find a long line of pissed off punters standing in the midday sun with no explanation for why the festival hadn’t opened yet. Insult was added to injury when an ill-timed post by Spilt Milk popped up on people’s Facebook feeds, telling them to stay cool and hydrated, because the forecast was set to reach mid-30s. From what I heard later on in the day, the entry situation did not improve, with reports of between one and three hour waits to get through the front gate. Considering security checks were pretty lax, the delay was a bit confusing, and I overheard one punter say “If I’m waiting that long, I want to be proper felt up!”
YOUNG MONKS ROCKED IT EARLY
The second act billed for the day, Young Monks got a little bit shafted in that their set got cut to only three songs, to make up for the gates opening late. The local boys played to a small, but energetic crowd, and their stage presence rivalled that of the higher billed bands. The first song hadn’t even finished before chants of “DO! A! SHOEY!” started, and the crowd was very vocal in their disapproval of a shortened set. These guys are a band to watch out for, and one I hope to see again in a setting where they can play for more than fifteen minutes.
Boasting food vendors like Mary’s Burgers, Messina Gelato, Rolling Schnitzel and Yalla Yalla, really the only thing missing from their food choices was the festival staple of Chip on a Stick. While the food choices were fantastic, it paid to get in early, as once it hit 5pm, the lines for food were 40 minute waits, with vendors quickly running out. It seemed to be a case of not preparing enough for the crowd expected. In stark contrast, there were about twice as many bars as food stalls, and never a very long wait for a drink.
CLIENT LIAISON HEATED UP THE STAGE AND COOLED DOWN THE CROWD
Set to be a highlight of the day, Melbourne boys Client Liaison took to the stage at the hottest part of the day, playing between two giant office water coolers. Client Liaison’s funky brand of Prince meets Liberace won the crowd over early, but just to make sure they had everyone on board, they shared a case of Fosters tinnies with the crowd. While I was slightly concerned with what RSA issues this might have raised, I was more concerned about where they got a case of Fosters tinnies from. Who even sells those?
I WANT CLIENT LIASON
As a person, I do not have many marketable skills. One of them however, is knowing every word to Savage Garden’s 1996 smash hit ‘I Want You’. This skill has only come in handy at drunk karaoke nights – until now. Technical issues caused Client Liason’s set to halt, leaving bassist Tom Tilley and vocalist Monte Morgan sitting centre stage, shirtless, having a heart to heart about each others’ love lives. This was not the first technical issue of their set – they started 30 minutes late, and this lateness continued into the night, cutting each band’s set slightly short. After what seemed like a confusing eternity, the intro to Savage Garden’s ‘I Want You’ hit, and all technical issues were forgiven. Because that song is sweet like a chic-a-cherry cola.
As much as it sucks to be that guy who ruins the day by insisting on talking about safety, I feel that I’d be overlooking a major issue if I didn’t mention this. There was a huge oversight on the main stage, where security at the front of the stage did not have any water to give to those in the mosh. Considering it was over 30 degrees, and the stage was in full sun, this caused some problems. When you have people on the barrier begging security for water, then offering them all of the money in their wallet for a bottle of water, a response of “We were supposed to have a hose, but for some reason we don’t” doesn’t cut it. Finally something clicked, and the St John’s workers arrived with coolers of water. However, this wasn’t until 5pm, and the hottest part of the day had already past.
GANG OF YOUTHS’ FIRST AUSSIE SHOW IN SIX MONTHS
Spilt Milk marked the first Gang of Youths show in Australia in around six months (for those counting, it means it’s pretty much their first Australian show since their killer Splendour in the Grass set), and the first of four festival appearances this month. Rocking some tight black jeans, frontman Dave Le’aupepe looked so hot (like a sunrise), and he knew it, strutting around the stage with the confidence of Freddie Mercury. With a hit-filled set – closing on ‘Magnolia’ – Gang of Youths left me wondering why they weren’t further up the bill.
The hit band of almost every Australian festival this year, Violent Soho looked at home on the stage, and pulled in one of the biggest crowds of the night. The beer was flowing as fast as the hits, and Soho jumped straight into it, smashing out almost every banger off ARIA award winning album, WACO. Opening vintage classic ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ with the simple phrase “This song’s for the Devil. Its about Jeebus”, and closing out their set with crowd favourite ‘Covered in Chrome’ – There’s no doubt why Violent Soho are the most sought after festival band right now.
WHAT HAPPENED TO STICKY FINGERS?
After Saturday’s Spilt Milk set, it came as no surprise to me to see Sticky Fingers announce a hiatus after the New Year. With no stage presence and a pretty average light show, the usually crowd-pleasing quintet were nowhere to be seen, and some punters headed straight for the exit, despite the promise of Flume up next. With their underwhelming set, I would have liked to have seen Sticky Fingers switched around with Young Monks!
I got started because I love live music and I love taking photos, so one day I went, “Maybe I should combine them.” I snuck my camera into Soundwave, hidden under a bag of pistachio nuts (which came in handy when Slipknot had to stop their set because the barrier broke), and I shot fromLearn more about Britt Andrews
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