Diversity and dedication at Meredith Thirty One

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Diversity and dedication at Meredith Thirty One

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Words by Staff Writer

Two of our favourite things about Meredith were on display all weekend for the festival's 31st birthday.

Favourite thing numero uno: the fact you get Caroline Polachek and Kraftwerk sharing a stage, or the Gesamtkunstwerk heavyweights leading directly into Sneaky Sound System, or C.O.F.F.I.N tearing us a new one before They Hate Change brought us all back together.

Not to mention, No Fixed Address followed by Pachyman, or the Gift followed by a devastating Dragnet set to a handful of people. What a delightfully unexpected combination that was to end things on a high.

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It’s the mixture of diversity and Meredith’s insistence that one stage works best that makes the festival so special.

It goes both ways. A lot of people around us seemed a little confused by Kraftwerk, if we’re being honest, but to force them all to stand there and soak in what are undoubtedly one of the most unique and interesting acts of all time is a testament to the festival’s dedication to being different in the best way.

The foursome encourage an intense listening experience – they meticulously craft their electronic sounds, utilising synthesisers, vocoders and robotic vocal effects to create a wide array of textures, tones, and futuristic effects. It’s repetitive and hypnotic, with a future-nostalgic minimalism that can become trance-like.

Very few of those words could describe Sneaky Sound System (or Milo Eastwood’s equally superb live set), yet to see the crowd explode the way they did when Connie took to the stage – who deserves her reputation as one of the best vocalists Australia has ever produced – really told the whole Sneaky story better than we can.

Caroline Polachek met an equally rapturous reception. She sounds fantastic live, her powerful, soaring vocals tie everything together regardless of whether it’s dreamy synth-pop or more complex and abstract compositions.

Special mention is reserved for C.O.F.F.I.N, one of the biggest acts in Aussie rock right now, who lived up to their reputation with aplomb and in our opinion, upstaged Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs.

The amount of energy they create with a drummer-vocalist is always a spectacle, but moreover, they just sound bloody fantastic live. Especially when they’re shredding while perched on each other’s shoulders.

Finally, hats and jocks off to everyone who competed in the Gift, despite the fact the Sup was indeep a soup: an all-encompassing sea of shin-deep mud. As usual, everyone was a delight despite the inclement weather and some very buggered tents out there. That’s where the dedication comes in.

Discover Meredith for yourself, here.