Saturday is always my favourite day at Meredith. Even though the line-up changes every year; by Saturday you’ve settled in, partied with your neighbours, and woken up to the glory of the City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band. The joy the band brings to the early-birds comes from their vast area of brass covers of classic pop-songs, the highlight being an Eric Clapton medley and I Will Survive. We put a lot of work into a banner for the Meredithian stalwarts, which we kindly donated at the end of their set. They seemed to enjoy our ‘Kiss My Brass’ pun.
But it was Twerps who were the first recognisable act. Making their first appearance at Meredith, the group played a disappoint set. Although their music would be almost perfectly suit for that time and place, their set was sloppy, shown by the train-smash that was their current hit He’s In Stock, which lasted only 40 seconds before grinding to a screeching halt. It was a low-point of the set which featured predominantly tracks from their LP, many of which went off to strong applause from the small crowd that were down, with Dreamin’ getting the best reception.
I took the opportunity to relax during Chet Faker, drifting in and out of consciousness, so I’m not going to comment on the set. He does have a pretty sturdy beard though, which is a definite positive. I was particularly keen for the next act though. Royal Headache have been on the scene for a few years now, and in the process of releasing their second album. Even though I had high expectations, they did not disappoint. Lead singer Shogun showed the angst and anger expected of a 70s punk group, stopping Distant & Vague after 30 seconds because he “wasn’t feeling it” and responding to the shoe-throwers with “have fun walking around on a limp you fucking dickhead”. Their rudeness made their show, and after accidentally attempting to leave the stage 15 minutes early, they played a few tracks that will be on their next album. More than a few boots were shown during Girls, but nothing compared to what would happen next.
Unfortunately, I made the stupid decision not to watch Big Jay McNeely, and I will regret it for a long time. I have heard from a few witnesses that the 85-year-old legend descended from the clouds, threw pots of gold to the adoring fans and played the sax so well that Chris Nolan himself began to weep. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but Big Jay got the first booting of the festival, and he was eternally grateful.
The slight breeze drifting through South Pines gave us some relief from the heat during the Afternoon, as a number of visitors frequented our campsite. A bloke collecting money for charity and handing out Smile stickers dropped around. This is the third time we’d met him, the other occasions being last years’ Meredith and Falls Festival, and now know his introduction word for word.
There’s been some complaints, and you’ll have to come talk with me. Apparently you guys haven’t been partying hard enough.
With his name tag he looks pretty official, and last year it’s a little nerve-wracking with the first sentence, but for the third successive time I donated and got a third Smile sticker, all of which adorn the back of my laptop.
But we headed back down for Saskwatch. The Melbourne group had bewitched the Amphtitheatre at Golden Plains earlier this year, and had nailed down the 6pm slot this Meredith. They did not disappoint. Led singer Nkechi Anele, has some classic moves that had most of the men (and women) in the crowd in adoration. Although, they have only released the one album, it is the start of something great. Blending jazz and Funk into some incredibly catchy tunes, the set peaked during covers of Robbie Williams’ Kids and Little Red’s Coca Cola, which the band completely made their own. Their was no one in the crowd who could escape the boogie that was going down.
I hung around the Amphitheatre for both Regurgitator and Turbonegro. Sitting in the Pink Flamingo for Regurgitator, we were more focussed on conversation than enjoying the sounds of one of Australia’s older acts that are still performing. I kinda feel like Regurgitator are a bit of a novelty act that got a bit too popular. But I Will Lick Your Arsehole is always fun. I would have liked to have another shot at Turbonegro. I was unfamiliar with their work, and stayed towards the back of the Sup, preferring to talk crap with my mates. But we all had a huge singalong to Killing In The Name which was played by the DJs after their set.
The festival headliners Primal Scream took the stage to cover midnight. The British stalwarts last toured here for the 2010 Big Day Out, but this set was much more suitable for them. The perennially youthful Bobby Gillespie spent most of the time perched over the front of the stage, in what was a Screamadelica-heavy set. Movin’ On Up was played early in the set, with a slightly different intro, but the epic rendition of Come Together was the set highlight. Ever the debonair, Gillespie’s spoken words ‘Be safe, motherfuckers’ launched the crowd into a final cover version of the Stone’s Rocks leaving a number of boots in the air.
The Meredith Sky Show brought a bit of a lull to proceedings. Sure it could have been fun if you’d been on some sort of narcotics, but I’m not so excited by colourful lights and while DJ Flagrant‘s Audio Visual Show was entertaining, I feel it would have been better suited to 11pm on Tuesday at The Hawthorn. I mean, Coldplay and Adele aren’t really Meredith artists and they featured too prominently. Know your audience! I stayed through Itch-E and Scratch-E, mainly because my bodies combination of energy drinks and alcohol meant I had to be moving, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea, so I retreated back to the tent for more conversations about the upcoming apocalypse.
I made a bit of an effort to get up early and attend Master Song’s Tai Chi Masterclass. Much like the Brass Band the day before, this is an annual event at Meredith, at it was definitely worth it. Certainly made my body feel less toxic.
The only other music event for the day for me was The Murlocs. I haven’t been particularly quiet about my adoration for the upcoming coastal Victorian music scene, and The Murlocs are right at the forefront. Their mid afternoon set was well attended, helped by the upcoming Meredith Gift, but a large number were getting involved. Delusional Blues remains to be a set highlight, and their cover of The Count Five’s Psychotic Reaction got people moving. After their set, I retreated back to camp to finish packing, just as Gift participants were undressing. We elected not to hang around for the Gift, choosing to hit the road and beat the traffic.
Photo Thanks to ABC Ballarat
It takes a long time to come down from Meredith. I’m still listening pretty much solely to Meredith music. But I guess there is only four months till Golden Plains