Splendour In The Grass

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Splendour In The Grass


 Splendour In The Grass, from the bottom of my heart, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. With such a ridiculously awesome line-up who wouldn’t say thanks.

Splendour In The Grass, from the bottom of my heart, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you.


I’m gonna start this with the annoying stuff, just to get it out of the way. In fact, it is so minimal I’m going to do it in list form:


Bad thing #1: The fuzz and their hounds.

Bad thing #2: The security guards and their buzz-killing ability.

Bad thing #3: Whoever’s idea it was to eat those mushrooms on Day One.

Bad thing #4: Queensland’s ridiculous mid-strength drinking laws.


Right, now all that’s out of the way, let’s talk Splendour. For everyone in Melbourne, we’re talking summer in July, shorts and a singlet and the biggest lineup Australia has surely ever seen. Good times appeared imminent. And that they were.


For anyone that caught Violent Soho’s Melbourne show and were perhaps a little put off, like myself, boy oh boy did they turns things ’round in the amphitheatre on Day One. Really good stuff. Although, Point Break called and they want their hair back. If Muscle Junkie doesn’t make you wanna go break something, nothing will. A ripping set.


British India did their thing, and would have probably left a more lasting impression had their Beastie Boys cover not been plagued with technical problems, nonetheless it was a good show. Then it was on to Alberta Cross who played during one of the few big clashes of the festival. They were flawless, however.


They’re about one more vintage guitar away from overdosing on charisma. Leave Us And Forgive Us was massive. After a huge Day One, I was very excited for some Benny H (Ben Harper for those not paying attention) and his Relentless 7 to kick the party up another gear, only to find Ben arrive on stage with a string quartet and an acoustic guitar. What followed was a near mass-suicide of everyone in the amphitheatre. Damn, he can write a heavy song. Amazing experience, could not have been at a worse time.


Day Two again looked like a test of stamina, but after Band Of Skulls played around lunch time, I was pretty satisfied. With barely an amp on stage they fucking rocked. They certainly got the party started a lot earlier than expected. They also sparked quite the epiphany. First rule of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band, get yourself some locks. Long hair = essential.


Paul Kelly was at his "greatest hits" best with help from Vika and Linda Bull. The a capella Everything’s Turning To White was certainly memorable. Band Of Horses were my Splendour surprise, I’ve always appreciated their music, but live, it was captivating. And frontman Ben Bridwell told us he almost fingered a kangaroo. To further solidify his point, he told us twice more.


Day Three looked like it was going to be a test, both mentally and physically. Sentences were hard to form and even harder to say and money was scarce. Not to mention how debilitating it was to step out of your tent and step barefoot on some form of fruit with every second step, like dodging land mines. Although not deadly land mines, just really annoying ones.


In a similar vein to Band Of Skulls, The Mess Hall made it impossible to even consider a quiet one. They are cool dudes, big-ups for the addition of occasional keys. I was tres interested to see how their new album would translate live – they dun good. Dun real good.


However nothing could prepare me for what was on the horizon. The Vines. A band that I had never previously seen live. Sure I’d seen videos, I’d seen photos. But they are back, baby. They were phenomenal. Craig kept his shit together and sung normally the whole way, which has got to be some kind of first, and the two or three new tracks sounded very much dope. Oh yeah, and he threw his guitar around at the end which is always entertaining, although he came very close to decapitating Hamish on drums. That would have been awkward.


Passion Pit were another surprise for me and Mumford And Suns were sublime, again, with the new songs sounding like well-worn-in classics. The Pixies did what every marquee headliner does, rip through about 15 songs, of which the overwhelming majority of the crowd knew five-odd. Hey, Gigantic and Where Is My Mind were, of course, amazing though… I just get the feeling when these bands come down it’s just bumping up the superannuation fund.


After The Pixies, one friend turned to another and said ‘Well, that was Splendour’. And Splendour it was, although not before some serious stomping in the Tipi Forest. To the few that were involved: PARTY AND TIPI AND PARTY AND TIPI.