Falls Festival Day Two
Having unfortunately experienced the sounds of the copulating occupants of the tent next door, and with the usual ‘fuck it’s hot in a tent of a morning’ taking place, it was a very warm Falls morning that greeted us on the morning of December 30. The Middle East sound pleasant enough, as does Ash Grunwald – Break Out gets its usual elated Falls response – but with scant pockets of people braving the early heat, it’s not until Children Collide that the day picks up. Their battery of tunes has gained impressive consistency with the addition of Theory Of Everything to their canon, but their stage show has matured with the past year’s touring behind them. Frontman-yelper Johnny Mackay’s hair is whipped about by a persistent wind, while the rhythm section of Ryan Caesar and Heath Crawley have evolved into a veritable powerhouse. Predictably singles Social Currency, Farewell Rocketship and My Eagle all get a hearty reception, but it’s in moments such as Mackay’s patented use of his guitar’s pickups as a stand-in microphone in Chosen Armies or the crowd almost falling over themselves in glee during Jelly Legs that it’s clear they’ve joined the upper echelon of Australian rock bands.
It’s a sentiment that Washington can also play claim to – just replace ‘rock’ with indie-pop act and away you go. Megan demands ahuge mid-afternoon crowd of souls braving the heat to bask in her sultry pop – it’s a fine set, but nothing unexpected. The Jezabels and Boy & Bear’s crowds in the grand theatre, however, are. Talented bands both, and deserving of that attention. Hot Hot Heat are fun, and while they’re a great band to witness, it seems it’s a shame it’s not 2007. Angus & Julia Stone, cement their dominance of 2010 by commanding the biggest crowd of the day, no surprise with the buzz about the festival and every second punter seeming centred on the sibling duo. They’re inoffensive enough and a generation of kids eager to read more into lyrics than is necessary are satiated.
As the sun reaches and passes it zenith, Public Enemy proceed to put the entire remainder of the lineup – and most of contemporary music – to shame. From the moment the S1Ws lead Chuck D, DJ Lord and – eventually – Flavour Flav onstage, hip hop chaos ensues. They trawl through a back catalogue of classics lifted from their seminal Fear Of A Black Planet… but not exclusively – 911 Is A Joke, Burn Hollywood Burn, Don’t Believe The Hype, Fight The Power and Bring The Noise are all barnstorming shitkickers… as is Chuck D’s a capella rap. Flavour Flav’s unsurprisingly bizarre and rambling imploration to love everyone, and the kinda boring extend-a-jam moments – really, hip hop is best served by brevity – however, make it not quite the pantheon-level performance. Merely great – you know, which is fine.
Paul Kelly is the opposite of Interpol. Down to earth, interesting and engaging. His obvious hits – To Her Door, How To Make Gravy and Dumb Things – all get an airing and the rest of his set is dark and brooding, but strangely joyous. Interpol – coming off their latest, and easily most boring album – look like they’d much rather be at a loft party in NYC, and play accordingly. The most interesting aspect of their set is Paul Banks’ haircut.
Speaking of bands beloved by those with odd haircuts, fellow 2007 refugees Klaxons round out the night… it’s easily the best shape yours truly has witnessed them playing live, but their new album is as boring as a book on tape read by Frank Walker from Walkers Tiles. So even though they’re in fine form, their old songs stand head and shoulders above their renditions of anything new. A shame.