Parklife - Saturday September 24, Sidney Myer Music Bowl
When the Victorian police warned Melbournians that they would be out in force at Parklife this year they were not exaggerating. I watched friends publicly undress as they have their pockets and shoes searched before entering the festival, only to be greeted by the sight of more patrolling police once inside the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
In an attempt to block out the humiliation of allowing police officers to view your tampon stash and combat the typically temperamental Melbourne weather, we grabbed drinks and headed over to the Atoll stage to see Little Dragon. They aren't the most engaging act of the festival but the sight of Yukimi Nagano bashing a makeup compact-inspired sample pad and the ethereal sounds emitted are worth having to re-roll your skinny leg jeans.
Passing by The Cave on our way to check out the Streetparty DJs, Tensnake reminded us of the delights which awaited later in the day via The Magicians remix of Lykke Li's I Follow Rivers. The Yarra River and welcome rays of sunshine provide the perfect backdrop for the reliable Streetparty crew who, alongside Smoking Toddlers, show their appreciation for the small crowd who had gathered with spirited arse slapping and barrier dry humping.
Back on the main stage, a suited-up, cigarette smoking Mylo looked as though he'd be more at home on the set of a James Bond film than behind a turntable at the Bowl. As he seamlessly mixes Rolling in the Deep with When Doves Cry and Theme to S-Express with Drop the Pressure, he ensured everybody on the hill was shaken, not stirred (I have no shame).
A very large, very enthusiastic crowd signalled that we'd made it to the Kakadu stage in time to see the end of Example's set. The Englishman's years as a stand-up comedian had certainly held him in good stead to own an audience: he was asking the near-hysterical mosh pit for more energy as they jump along to Kickstart and Changed The Way You Kiss Me but I'm not sure it was possible.
Part concert, part pantomime; Santigold provided one of the performances of the day. It's lucky that her music is so damn good because her Harajuku princess outfit and back-up dancers nearly steal the show. And that's before the two-person horse costume hit the stage. Blitzing through costume changes and hits L.E.S Artistes and Say Aha, Santigold even managed to fit in a rendition of Creator accompanied by members of the front row before farewelling the swelling crowd.
As the temperature dropped and hungry punters braved the lengthy queues for a feed, Digitalism were fighting a losing battle to maintain a crowd at the Sahara stage. Their mix of tracks from Idealism and I Love You Dude was hindered by average sound as the wind picked up, but the glowing beams surrounding Jens and Isi ensure it was still a pretty sight. Singing and dancing along to finale Pogo with a complete stranger, I felt vindicated for sticking around.
Lykke Li was truly bewitching as she emerged in a mist of smoke and draped in black cloth, setting the tone for an intense set. Moving theatrically around the stage, Li is a complex character, switching from damaged and vulnerable for Little Bit to sexy as all get out for Get Some and the audience remained transfixed throughout. Emerging from the Bowl, the police presence is still noticeable but post-Parklife, they felt more like allies. One officer dutifully high fived punters as they exit, knowing that this probably won't be the last time he does so this summer. After all, the festival season is just beginning.
LOVED: Watching groups of under-dressed PYTs huddling together for warmth once the sun went down.
HATED: Hearing them complain. The rest of us don't deserve to suffer because a jacket doesn't go with your outfit.
DRANK: In an environmentally friendly fashion apparently after paying the $1 'recycling surcharge'.