Paradise’s fourth installation continued the trends that solidified its place as a treasure in Melbourne’s music scene. Featuring a lineup that shifted between pop, heavier electronic and indie acts over three music hubs, along with stunning natural surrounds and near freezing temperatures, the event continued to boast a truly individual camping experience, much to the pleasure of fans and critics alike.
The first day of Paradise always has a unique splendour to it. Once tents were set up and the gorgeous viewof Lake Mountain’s bone-white bleached trees were soaked in, there was an invigorating feeling that washed over the average camper – a comfort in knowing that they were ready to see some of Australia’s newest and finest perform in the company of good people while frolicking in one of the most stunning places in Victoria, if not the rest of the country.
Day one offered a lineup of indie rock artists spreading from the wistful to the powerful – most notably being Julia Jacklin’s stirring performance. There was a certain heat that emanated from the dusty country swing of the band and their instruments, only complemented by the faint warble of Jacklin’s sung voice, cutting through the freezing clouds that were creeping into the amphitheatre. Gabriella Cohen backed up Jacklin’s set with a folky performance, and although having two similar sounding acts playing back to back could traditionally seem like too much of the one thing, Cohen managed to successfully break things up. Hers was a much faster and more upbeat set, wrapping things up with a funky singalong on stage.
At around 10pm of day one, the doors to Paradise’s Clubland flung open to Simona Castricum pummelling the crap out of an electronic drum kit, making for an engaging and somewhat dark techno set. Back on the main stage around midnight, Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda performed a densely textured set of minimalist production, snappy drumming and electronic strings as revellers partied on into the night. However the centrepiece and overall standout came in the form of Planète’s 3am slot. The cross between developing ambience, unexpected beats and the arrival of an anticipated thud of well-produced techno was something that challenged, inspired — definitely worth staying up for.
Rolling into Paradise’s second day while trying to survive the previous 24 hours is usually a battle within itself, but for those that were up and kicking by 1.15pm, SAATSUMA’s performance was more than worth it. Paradise has always been a great showcase for both indie and electronic acts, and SAATSUMA managed to take the best of both with an exemplary performance of lush, well produced soundscapes backed by evocative song structure and sharp musicianship. The backdrop of Lake Mountain made their performance like some sort of ethereal dream, of which it was hard to wake from.
Miles Brown, dressed in cape and armed with theremin, ripped out a set soaked in spooky vibes like some sort of techno-dracula while he pumped out bangers that could have felt at home in a montage from an ‘80s film. friendships transitioned into their set with a thumper of a collaboration with Brown, before chucking out unnerving spoken word and hard techno beats for a set of songs off their new album Nullarbor 1988-1989.
It’s hard to pick the best acts on the bill, but this festival is as littered with great music as it is with great moments – one such being whispers of people slugging it out in the Vince Pham DJ room to Mu-Gen as the sun rose, bathed in sweat and determination. Either way, Paradise will always be one mountain worth the climb, and another 360 days worth the wait.
By Thomas Brand
Highlight: Planète. So dope.
Lowlight: Hi-Tec Emotions. I don’t get that band at all. Sorry mates.
Crowd Favourite: Drugs and all night benders as far as I know.