It begins! After months of planning and anticipation and arguments revolving around Kanye’s ego, the first day of Splendour had arrived. With only a day of camping passed, attendees were still eager and the layer of mud, dirt, grime and alcohol on their skin had not yet begun to weigh them down yet.
Millions at the Ampitheatre
So with that in mind, we decided to seize the day. We made the trip up to the Ampitheatre to catch the first act, Millions. To be honest, I don’t really remember much of the set, as I was rather stunned at the sheer wonderment of the Ampitheatre. But from what I do remember, Millions are very much a flavour-of-the-month style band. Their garage pop set was quite harmless, but having only been in the system a short time this could be expected.
After returning to the campsite for a quick nap, (well, nap indicates a sense of intention. I just fell asleep.) we headed back to catch Jebediah. This was the fourth time I’ve seen them since New Years Eve, so I know what to expect. But it’s probably this reason that I really wanted to see them. When looking at the Splendour lineup, Jebediah where one of the few bands to which I could have been able to have a good hard mosh. Kevin Mitchell has re-established himself as one of Australia’s best frontmen as he led the crowd through a hit-laden set, including my favourite Harpoon, which they have left out of their set in the past. Bass player Vanessa Thornton also joined in the frivolities, enjoying some casual banter with a bloke in a Fremantle jersey. They may not be the most attractive fish in the pond, but they haven’t failed me yet.
As would have been highlighted by a number of other blogs/journalists/girls-next-door/politicians, the most frustrating clash of the weekend arrived following. With The Kills hitting up the Ampitheatre, James Blake in the Mix Up and Warpaint on the GW McLennan Stage. As you could tell from my formatting of this post, I hung around for The Kills. This was probably spearheaded by my love for Alison Mosshart. She is a goddess. Speaking of goddesses, there was a large number of men in the crowd hanging out for a possible sighting of the one and only Kate Moss, who was recently wed in the REAL Royal Wedding to Kills guitarist Jamie Hince. I did have a laugh at the bloke who shouted out “I want to sleep with your wife!” as Hince took the stage. Honest, if anything. Considering Moss has such conquests like Pete Doherty, you’ve got to think that Jamie Hince is no slouch. But from the beginning of the set, you could understand Moss’ reasoning. Both Mosshart and Hince are effortlessly cool. As they churned through their blues rock, Mosshart casually strutted around stage, dressed in her black garments and in trademark style, her face was mostly covered by her flowing black hair. The setlist was dominated by new tracks, with Pots & Pans, Satellite and Heart Is A Beating Drum all crowd favourites. Going into Splendour, I was curious to see how their music would sound in the open air, but was impressed with the strength of the set.
On the completely opposite side of the coin were Glasvegas. I had images of this huge, echoing set, complete with intense lighting as the sun set. Boy, was I wrong. Despite opening with a few of my favourite tracks from their new album, lead singer James Allan barely acknowledged the crowd, preferring to croon into the microphone while rolling around on the floor. Now, I wouldn’t have minded this that much, if he’d just TURNED UP THE FUCKING VOCALS! A number of shouts came from the crowd stating this fact, but to no avail. I couldn’t stand it and left just after It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry.
But at the end of the day, it was the night-time everyone was waiting for and in hindsight, it contained two of my favourite sets of the festival. Modest Mouse have for years been a cult favourite for many, but from the beginning of the set you could see that they’re exactly that. As the crowd began to fill, it became clear that the majority of punters were just trying to find a good spot for Kanye. I’ve had a bitch about bad crowd behaviour before, but on the night I just decided I was having a good time whether they liked it or not. Opening with one of my favourite tracks Dance Hall, me and a few mates attempted to start our own dance hall in the middle of the mosh. It didn’t work. Nor did it work during Dashboard and it appeared nothing would get the crowd moving. In what was the beginning of the theme for the weekend, there was little respect for the older, revolutionary bands. It’s hard to see bands like Foster the People and Grouplove being where they are today without the groundwork of Modest Mouse. In a similar way to Coldplay and Pulp. We thought it was necessary to pay our dues, dancing our way through the likes of Bukowski and, of course Float On. At the time, our three-man mosh pit to the latter seemed a little ridiculous, but as I write this now, there is no moment I would want to relive more from this glorious weekend.
“Who here is Hives virgins? I know that the first time can sometimes be painful, but you will be glad you do it and come back for more.”
Having seen The Hives three days earlier at their Melbourne sideshow, we were ready for some more Howlin’ Pelle brilliance. As more and more fans of Mr West flooded the ampitheatre, it was interesting to watch the banter between the crowd and the band. Boos only spurred Pelle on. In fact they made him stronger, and by the end, you could not hide from The Hives brilliance. In the days that followed, the majority of people would say “I didn’t listen to them before, but they’ve been the best so far” I’m keeping this part short, because we wrote a gig review of their sideshow a few days ago, and I don’t want to repeat myself. Just read that. I’ll even post a link for you. Click here.
By the end of The Hives, we found ourselves in the very front and centre of the mosh. Surrounded by Kanye’s minions, I found it hugely challenging to get out of the crowd and head over to the GW McLennan stage for Mogwai. Most people did not seem to understand the fact that I was leaving Kanye, and acted like a rabbit in headlights when someone tried to push against their forward momentum. But I got there eventually, and I’m glad I did. While I was a bit out of it, Mogwai’s post-rock was not only extremely well crafted, but their banter with the small crowd who had fought off the Kanye urge was extremely witty and intelligent. “I hear he’s coming on stage in a coffin. We’ll fucking leave the stage in a coffin. Beat that!”
But with Mogwai finished we decided to make our way to the upper reaches of the Ampitheatre to watch what remained of Kanye‘s set. The signs were ominous from the outset, people were streaming out with one particular member saying to us “Don’t do it!” as we climbed the slope. And I soon knew what they mean because Kanye was fairly poor. I’m not a big fan in the first place, but the man can’t sing. Without his entourage of celebrity friends, he resorted to recordings of all the vocal parts and auto-tuned himself to such an extremity he could have been confused for a hormonal cat. Yet, having said all this, I am incredibly glad that I watched him. Such is his celebrity, every person in the crowd was fixated on him. He might have saved his set by playing his only decent song Runaway late in the set.
After a late night conversation on the ridiculous topic, “What would happen if Animals became intelligent and tried to fight the humans?” we hit the hay, ready for a big day 2.