(Photo by Kristy Milliken)
Rocking up to someone’s 21st birthday bash, is always fun. Yet, turning up when you don’t know that person from a bar of soap, is a pretty radical move. With the Meredith Music Festival 2011, this cheeky move turned out to be one of the best decisions of my entire life. Expectations were daunting, Meredith has always been one of the most talked up events on the musical calender and for good reason. It would be impossible to recount every experience, sight and sound of Meredith 2011, so here are a few of the highlights from the show. Thanks Aunty!
(Photo by Leah Robertson)
Upon reaching the stage, it was hard not to get excited, with a giant digital countdown slowly ticking off the seconds, it was finally time for the MMF 2011 to begin. I really couldn’t have asked for more as the enigma of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard graced the stage in their usual haphazardly we-don’t-really-give-a-fuck way. Instantly KG&TLW cemented their status as one of the most prolific, sporadic bands from the country. Ambrose Kenny-Smith‘s (Son of Brodrick Smith) raucousness with a harmonica was well received as the lads romped through ‘Danger $$$’ ‘Black Tooth’ and ‘Willoughby’s Beach’. The looseness of the “woooops” and indiscriminate yelps from Stu Mackenzie were routinely matched by the remaining members of the band to create a sensational all-on-board vibe. ‘Lunch Meat’ proved that almost the entirety of the crowd hanging up front were more than familiar with the kind of participation that is expected when KG&TLW throw in all they’ve got, this maybe was the most impressive aspect of their set, they were welcomed with more than open arms, as first cab off the rank, this was a pretty major feat. The fact that this was by far their biggest crowd yet and they effortlessly nailed it, proves that 2012 is going to be a big year for the seven.
Being a huge fan of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the anticipation was high. The trio, relished in releasing themselves from the constraints of their debut album that dropped earlier in the year. More on the raw side, ‘Bicycle’ rang out with punchier guitar. Ruban Neilson, Jake Portrait and Julian Erhlich stripped back completely, giving UMO a rougher more enjoyable sound. ‘Ffunny Friends’ was by far the most appreciated by the gazing half-cut crowd, a brilliant hum sounded out across the amphitheater as the words were sang back towards Neilson.
(Photo by Melbournian1)
The sun had started to kick back a tad as Philadelphia’s Kurt Vile & The Violators made their appearance on stage. The man was one of the most talked about acts to grace MMF 2011, for good reason. Yet one who is hyped, can often lead to a tougher critique. Bypass the talk about poor sound, Vile seemed to be less engaging than some would have expected, without saying much at all to the crowd, yet his performance was on the money. ‘Runner Ups’ kicked off, while ‘Jesus Fever’ and ‘Freeway’ were the finer moments in the set, before Vile lulled everyone into one entire chorus with ‘Baby’s Arms’.
After seeing Ladyhawke more than a few times, it was apparent that her set was lacking. Pumping out hit songs from her debut seemed to usher in songs from her upcoming release, which seemed to be an entirely new ball game. Regardless Pip Brown got most of the crowd in all sorts with ‘My Delirium’ and ‘Paris Is Burning’ and her new additions seemed to be somewhat quite appealing on first listen.
Before Meredith, i had never heard much about Future Of The Left, probably because I’m not a huge fan of angst inspired rock. Yet, to my surprise, these guys may have put on one of the best sets that Meredith 2011 saw. ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You’ and ‘Lapsed Catholics’ abolished any caring feelings left within the crowd as the sea of raged fans beat the shit out of the air above them with their fists.
(Photo by Leah Robertson)
After a relaxing early morning lounging in the cool shade, Melbourne duo Oscar + Martin brought their super-alternative vibe to the stage. With a plethora of guest songbirds including Rebecca Rigby from Martin’s other project The Harpoons. Not to mention that random dude who frequently joins Oscar + Martin for a bit of good old white boy rapping. ‘Do The Right Thing’ was well received along with ‘Recognize’. Their cover of ‘Bootylicious’ was a little avant-garde for my liking, yet no doubt they pulled it off. One of the things I like about these guys is their ability to remain unpretentious when greeted with a good response from the crowd.
(Photo by Melbournian1)
Adalita‘s album ‘Adalita‘ was one of my most treasured releases from 2011. Raw, uncontrived, painstakingly emotional and mettle, it was a flawless release. Adalita brought all the same factors to her live performance. In a moving tribute, the daughters of Dean Turner (Magic Dirt) joined Adalita on stage. This gesture gave her performance a sombre yet inspiring vibe. Something I was not expecting to witness. ‘Hot Air’ was moving, the dirty notes contrasting against the image of Adalita sitting with the two girls on top of a stack of speakers. A set that will remain one of my favourites for a very, very long time.
As per Meredith tradition, the raising of ones shoe during a set is to label it as the most appreciated. Never have I seen so many shoes being held high in the air as I did when Graveyard Train unleashed an incredible ’Tall Shadow’. Huge puffs of smoke billowed into the air as most people up the front seemed to have the same idea. The scene couldn’t have seemed more bad ass-rockabilly. I was in awe of the energy that spilled from the six men, which included a chain beater just for good measure.
(Photo By Cooken)
As the sky darkened on the second eve of the Meredith Music Festival, it brought with it some more treacherous weather conditions. Cut Copy, took to the stage after an epic tour schedule almost across the entire globe. So it was only fair to expect either a worn down overdone performance, or something more on the brilliant side. Regardless of the fact that the skies opened and poured down during ‘Lights And Music’, Cut Copy went beyond their call of duty. There was a real feel that Dan Whitford was truly reveling in the elation of the crowd. ‘Hearts On Fire’ never gets old, to top off a near perfect set, Cut Copy wrapped things up with a ‘Need You Now’.
Not trying to play devils advocate, but Grinderman left me with a feeling of lackluster. Maybe it was the fact that I’m not completely acquainted with their latest release, but something seemed a little mechanic about Nick Cave‘s performance. Never the less, it was still impressive to see a bunch of middle aged dudes get up and demonstrate just why Ginderman are held in such high regard. It was the first time I’ve seen a man in a suit teetering precariously on the barricades as hundreds of hands reached up towards him. Of course, there were mixed feelings when caved announced “That’s it for Grinderman. It’s over. See you in 10 years.” And that was it, Grinderman called it a day. And that was that, Grinderman were no more.
(Photo by Kirsty Milliken)
Abbe May has always impressed me, on the Sunday morning of Meredith, she ticked all the right boxes. Burning through ‘Design Desire’ and ‘Taurus Chorus’ I was completely content to rock out in the sun. The only thing that got to me was her placing, in my opinion is was an unfortunate slot for Abbe May, i would have much preferred bob along to her sometime before dark on the Saturday afternoon. Local octet Eagle And The Worm put on a blazing show, it was hard not to start jiving around to their pop anthems laden with brilliant brass.
(Photo by Kirsty Milliken)
Meredith is known for it’s inaugural “Meredith Gift” and i guess it was a given that more lovely lad and ladies were going to strip down for good reason. The winner of the men’s took out his third gift, quite an achievement by all accounts. So that was it, a long weekend came to an end, my first Meredith experience had pulled off without major mishap. I had a brilliant time and saw some incredible performances by some of Australia’s most talented musicians. It’s a sure bet that I will be heading back to Meredith for her 22nd Birthday bash.
Thanks to Angela Henley, Danny Duck Sauce, & Wolf Jazz.