Behold! With the powers of simple addition, we’re going to score yesterday’s Sydney’s Laneway Festival out of 30.
It was a first for Sydney, with Laneway being moved from Rozelle’s Sydney College of the Arts to the CBD’s Domain. This meant more punters (ticket sale$), but at what cost?
Lineup aside, the Rozelle location was always the MVP for festival spots. The nooks and crannies of the college layout meant the name was upheld, as goers would shuffle down laneways to find tucked away stages and often secretive spots. The journey was as fun as the destination as stalls and food would often pop up around hidden corners.
This year couldn’t have been any more different. Shifted to the Domain meant the map resembled an AFL field, and like the sport we could all run wild in the open space. It definitely felt more chaotic, and though there were efforts for standalone ‘chill out spaces’ or ‘dancefloors’ it was all a little messy.
Laneway has a knack for booking artists that if you don’t love already, you will in six months once that album their touring gets even more love. This year was no different with a bunch of international acts on the cusp of going from underground to… ground.
The earliest bill to fit this description was Californian, Oliver Tree. Beautiful bowl cut and all, Mr Tree tore through a very crowd involved set that demanded attention. New track ‘Cash Machine’ had already down the rounds enough to spur some singalongs, but nothing like hit single, ‘Alien Boy’. It’s hit up to 100M plays on Spotify, so the 1:45pm slot may have been a little early, but again if you don’t know him about him yet I’m sure you will.
Middle of the arvo stand out acts also included Tones and I, DMA’s and Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. The later are an interesting group, whose name might throw a few people off. A silly name suggests a silly, raucous sound but that’s not the case. The Perth five-piece, as loose and psychedelic as they are, had a controlled sound that again goes against everything their name suggests. Check out new album And Now For The Whatchamacallit, or even better a live show and you’ll understand this rant better.
Headliners The 1975 made a conscience effort to put on a show that fans would remember, because a day earlier fans missed out with their Brisbane set being cancelled. The reason? “Matty was hospitalised following a bout of serious sickness and unfortunately after a medical examination at 5.30pm today the doctor has advised that Matty is too weak to play.” Though still slow and careful on stage, Healy’s vocals can save what was a more stagnant performance on his part, but credit to the Manchester act for pulling it together.
Genre wise Laneway offered it all with rapper and songwriter Earl Sweatshirt the other headliner hitting the Future Classic Stage. His late 2018 album, Some Rap Songs is still thriving in the hip hop scene and his live show goes to prove it. Sprinkled with singles and new tracks throughout, the set was mostly filled with the songs that made SRS one of the highest rated releases of the decade.
Now this review may be somewhat hampered by the lack of food I could indulge in. A rookie error / misheard order meant I started the day with fries with nachos like toppings.
Full. For. Days.
But in saying that the options were aplenty, which has become an expected staple for the festival. Vegan wings and messina ice cream were later additions to the stomach which all went down a treat. To top this all off the lines for drinks were not once, long. Whether it was day or night the longest we waited was three minutes.
As we can see this year’s Sydney Laneway leg has ended with a score of 22/30. A diverse, fun filled line up was the highlight as it should be, but the new space may not have been loved by all. Nevertheless food comes to save the day and balance out us out with B- minus score.
Until next time…
Words: Jake Burkett
All Images by Maria Boyadgis