5. High Tension
Any midday arrival punters hoping to ease into the day were given a very pleasant awakening courtesy of the Melbourne four piece. Lead singer Karina Utomo was able to draw a crowd after her bellowing screams shook the ground enough to attract stray wanderers to the Mistletone Stage. It was energy non-stop with barely enough time to catch your breath between tracks, but anyone who entered the growing mosh wasn’t looking for a break. Once the band joined the death pit, the mayhem was turned up until a climactic finish set the tone for the day.
4. Big Scary
One of the best opportunities presented by Laneway is the chance to discover, and in some cases rediscover, great local acts. The latter can definitely said for Big Scary whose performance at Laneway Festival was their first in almost 18 months. Playing material from their two acclaimed albums and previewing new tracks from their upcoming third, they truly represented Aussie indie rock at its best. The set was nicely complemented by the addition of three touring members (including a saxophone player!) who ensured that the band’s sound was big enough to justify a spot on the main stage.
We were particularly keen to see how the performance compared to Tom’s recent run of shows as #1 Dads
“Holy shit” was the general consensus being tossed around the moshpit at the end of Canadian-born multi instrumentalist/producer Grimes’ set. “I’ve got a pretty bad cold so sorry if my singing is shit and I dance less than usual,” she announced to the crowd early into the performance. If the Laneway set is anything to go by, I can’t imagine how intense a full strength set would be.
Despite the sickness, the heat, and a brief technical hiccup, Grimes raced her way through ten huge tunes, primarily from latest album Art Angels. Singles ‘Flesh Without Blood’, REALiTi’ and ‘Oblivion’ were particular highlights, with the crowd attempting their best falsetto to match Grimes’ high pitch, all whilst dancing like maniacs. Swapping between vocals, guitar, drum pads and looping consoles, Grimes truly was a sight and sound to behold.
Bonus points to the backup dancers who made everyone forget it was a hot summer’s day.
2. Violent Soho
While Laneway provided plenty of shady saloons to kickback and relax with cocktails, the Violent Soho mosh was an extreme opposite. A circle pit resembling a sharknado (substitute sharks with mortal brave souls) hit top gear come grunge anthem ‘Covered In Chrome’ and the damage was instant. Many hats, shoes and glasses were lost in the great barrage, but if you were to pick someone up seconds before being trod on, a lifelong friend was gained. The Brisbane four piece built up their set accordingly, with new tracks ‘Like Soda’ and ‘Viceroy’ evidently hitting everyone’s playlists in preparation as the crowd sang along hitting every lyric with purpose.
Of all the bands at Sydney’s Laneway Festival, CHVRCHES had the best stage presence. Singer Lauren Mayberry made time for a bit of back-and-forth between the crowd, detailing her run-ins with the treacherous Aussie wildlife, whilst still finding time to smash through 11 dance-inducing hits. It was only two years ago that the Scottish three piece played the same festival on the same stage, but a later time slot shows just how much they’ve accomplished. From an insane light show with opening track ‘Never Ending Circles’ to a massive singalong with ‘The Mother We Share’ to end, CHVRCHES easily take out our number one spot.
Artists in this post
Chvrches (pronounced as “churches”) are a Scottish synthpop band from Glasgow, formed in 2011. The group consists of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, additional synthesizers and samplers), Iain Cook (synthesizers, guitar, bass, vocals), and Martin Doherty (synthesizers, samplers, vocals). Chvrches came fifth on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 list of the most promising new music talent.
#1 Dads is the solo side-project of Big Scary's frontman Tom Iansek. Iansek rose to prominence as a solo artist in 2015, with latest album About Face being named by publications such as Sydney Morning Herald as one of the best albums of the year. The album, and corresponding live tour, features guest spots from