Falls Music And Arts Festival, December 28-31, Lorne
I awoke on the first day of 2010 after five straight nights of partying (volunteer staff had to be there an extra night) and said to myself “never again”. It’s not that Falls isn’t a great festival – in fact, it’s probably the best of its kind – it’s just when such hedonism starts to involve such physical endurance, existential crises are triggered. After a year off from Falls, a stellar lineup and a three-night option overrode that self-imposed embargo from that hungover-as-hell new year morn.
Bang on 4.20pm, Easy Star All-Stars took to the stage to recreate their recreation of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. Their dub spin on the classic album is a subtle one, with the set veering precariously close to that of straight-up tribute act. The collective signed off with cuts from Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band and Radiodread. Jammin’.
Beirut took to the stage, and everything felt right. Though not exactly suited to the festival environment, the baroque pop washed over the punters, resulting in a sea of smiling faces .
There’s a lot happening in The Wonderful World Of DJ Yoda. Good music, shitty music, internet memes, Karl Stefanovic – it had it all. Though it was a crowd-pleasing tour de force, the shtick grew stale as the set approached the hour-long mark. Plus dropping some Big Freedia in the mix just made me wish Big Freedia was mandatory at every music festival.
If it is at all possible to enjoy the music of John Butler Trio, the way to do it is stoned out of your gourd at a music festival. I don’t know the names of their ‘big’ songs, but they seemed to have more than a few up their sleeve.
The mighty Regurgitator bounded onto the arena decked out in silver onesies, ironically enough opening their recreation of Unit with I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff. Though ostensibly a dance record, time has exacerbated the very much punk endoskeleton of the seminal LP. While faithful and fun, it was that slightly punk demeanour which fell short of what was expected of such a timeslot.
“Thank you Richard Kingsmill!” That’s how Grouplove signed off their barnstorming Falls appearance –what they claim was the best show they’ve ever performed. While they were the only band to explicitly acknowledge the triple j honcho’s influence, the sentiment could well be proclaimed by more than half the Falls bill. But anyway, Grouplove did in fact crush it in the biggest way possible – thanks in part to the familiarity-via-saturation from the national youth broadcaster.
Back in 2008, Fleet Foxes were shunted with a lousy timeslot at this very festival – with their acoustics drowned out by the rabble making their way onto festival grounds. Thankfully in 2011, it wasn’t the case. Backing up their subdued breakthrough single White Winter Hymnal with the soaring Ragged Wood was a masterstroke.
Though in solo acoustic mode, J Mascis still managed some damn impressive Eddie Hazel-like guitar wailing.
The main amphitheatre was taken over by Dan Deacon in solo mode, commanding and uniting a throng of hipsters and shirtless dudes in a machine-gun barrage of electronica and activities. The 20 minute teaser to his ensemble-assisted countdown set in the main tent proved to be the most arduous physical activity I’ve done all year.
Unsurprisingly, Aloe Blacc ruled the main stage, bringing the house down with an extended jam of modern insta-classic I Need A Dollar.
Back in 2009, The Grates performed what may very well be the set of their lives. Their primetime slot tonight recaptured some of that glory, thanks in great part to Pae’s Beetlejuice-inspired leggings.
While Arctic Monkeys drew the majority of punters, The Grand Theatre provided a haven of respite as Dan Deacon Ensemble welcomed us in with a faux-countdown to precede the real deal. While the timeslot and BAC levels ruled out the chance of a workout as arduous as the afternoon’s, it was still probably the most exciting way to ring in 2012.
Feeling a little uneasy in me gutty-works, I had to forego my foremost prerogative of giving Falls Karaoke a burl at The Village. Apparently while I was tucked away in bed, a mysterious punter slayed it with a rendition of The Thong Song.
Though the three-night format treated me far more kind than years previous, the two-night option may be the way to go for this old chunk of coal.
LOVED: Pitch-perfect weather.
HATED: Forgetting tent pegs, a sleeping bag and pillow. I would have thought I’d have this music festival shit on lockdown by now. Oh well.
DRANK: Gin and tonic concoctions of varying potency.
BY LACHLAN KANONIUK