The morning on day two of any festival is going to be a challenge, but with the sun shining early, it was good to see a crowd of early risers. In fact, one of the most heartening sights of this year’s Golden Plains was the number of young kids and families gathered in the ‘Sup to take in the first glimpses of the day.
The very slow start was aided by the hauntingly eerie folk sounds of The Orbweavers. Lush arrangements were perfectly suited to the floating vocals of frontwoman Marita Dyson. It was the perfect beginning to the day as many ate their breakfast and sat soaking in the organic tunes.
The stripped back country vibe from Archer was greeted warmly by many seeking shelter from the sun.
Shortly after, a huge crowd braved the heat – a feat in itself, and a credit to the next performer – for keynote speaker and renowned cartoonist, Michael Leunig. The crowd sat enthralled as the artist discussed the theme of reconnecting with the country. At times he became emotional, recounting stories that conjured up strong feelings of connecting with the land, and his engaging ten-minute or so talk was met with enourmous applause.
Melbourne’s Hiatus Kaiyote kicked the music back into gear. After such a big year, including a Grammy nomination, the local jazz/soul four-piece were absolutely incredible, almost indescribable. Playing songs from the amazing Talk Tomahawk, the crowd members were jolted and soothed by the push and pull timing from the stupidly tight band. Frontwoman Nai Palm’s voice dazzled everyone with its range and soulful tones. Needless to say, they saw the first boots of the day and remained a favourite for many.
As many revellers continued to deal with the heat by accepting aid by the GP helpers with special water sprayers, The Perch Creek Family Jugband’s old school country tunes went down sweetly. Following them, Spanish surf-rock kings Los Coronas wowed many with their matching cowboy hats and impressive energy.
Whilst most stuck around for the old favourite yob-rockers Cosmic Psychos, others occupied themselves with a dress-up party at Inspiration Point. The quality of the costumes at this year’s Golden Plains was most certainly taken to a higher level. There were sequins and glitter a plenty, as well as a (somewhat strangely) large number of men in dresses.
Leading into the late afternoon was Sydney electro outfit Seekae. The slow burning dance tracks had some heads bopping early and a saw sizable turn out, but the band seemed slightly disinterested. Some of the younger kids attending with families took to using the lull in action as a chance for an epic water fight.
The unofficial boot winner and crowd favourite of Golden Plains 8 went to the electrifying Japanese funk of Osaka Monaurail. Considering how mellow the crowd seemed to be before their set, the band did an impressive job of getting everyone to their feet and jumping in the air to a backdrop of hits form James Brown and Stevie Wonder. The group’s energy was finally matched by the crowd, and unless they were told of the tradition prior to the set, the sea of boots in the air would have no doubt been a confusing sight for the Japanese outfit.
The late Sunday afternoon vibes were perfectly captured by folk queen Neko Case. As the sun was going down, the combination of tight musicianship and smooth melodies was the perfect remedy for those reflecting on the weekend and preparing for a big night. As Case finished off her set, some revellers took to the tradition of watching the sunset at Inspiration Point, clapping off the end of the day.
Melbourne rock kings You Am I were charged with lifting the energy. Donned in an all-white suit, Tim Rogers was the charismatic frontman we’ve all come to know and love. Ripping through hits like ‘Gunslinger’ and other classics, the mosh pit got rowdy leading up to the prime performers of the evening.
There is absolutely no shortage of love for Kiwi band Fat Freddy’s Drop in Australia, exemplified by the enormous turn out in the ‘Sup. A huge roar was heard as they stepped on stage and entered into their slow, dubbed-out jams with head bopping a plenty. The party vibe kicked off and finished with an amazing rendition of ‘Shiverman’.
Clearly the act that most people were interested to see was big headliners and hip hop pioneers, Public Enemy. Playing classics like ‘Bring The Noise’ and ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’, the crowd absolutely ate it up. Flavor Flav and Chuck D were in fine form as DJ Lord went for the somewhat tired trick of playing a compilation of rock songs. It still went down smoothly, with the rap legends uniting the hyped crowd.
As if things couldn’t get any better, Melbourne’s favourite indie-electro band Cut Copy blew the place to pieces. Clearly years of touring and amazing pop tunes make for a pretty good party. It was the absolute perfect set to cap off a ridiculously fun festival. Old school hits such as ‘Hearts On Fire’, ‘Need You Now’, and ‘Lights and Music’ saw the whole crowd singing in unison and dancing like lunatics. Even new single ‘Let Me Show You Love’ from Free Your Mind received a huge reaction. They certainly were a top contender for the best act of the festival and left smiles all-round.
Despite being a renowned producer, Mark Pritchard struggled to follow and capitalise on the energy and momentum created by Cut Copy, with his slower hip hop beats taking it down a notch. Tornado Wallace picked things up to see out the festival in style in front of an early morning crowd, who clearly didn’t want the night to end.
So, once again, we thank the ever-gracious Aunty Meredith for delivering one of the world’s most amazing and well-spirited festivals.
To read the full report of Day One, click here