Sleep was scarce, alcohol was plentiful, and more beards than a Santa Claus convention. And there was music too. That was pretty much Meredith Music Festival to the untrained eye. But for those in the know, it’s an experience you will never forget. It’s no wonder that patrons have made the annual pilgrimage to The Supernatural Amphitheatre for up to 20 years. It was only my second Meredith and my third trip to The Sup, but I’m becoming to feel a part of the Meredith life.
Part of this is organisation. For the first time, our car got out on time. 7am departure led to an easy ride down past the Geelong and to the town of Meredith. A good 30 minutes ahead of the rest of our convoy. Flying down the Princes Highway without the use of a rearview mirror due to a car full of Eskis, tents, gazebos and beer is quite a harrowing experience, so lane changing was kept to a minimum. It was quite exciting seeing cars with couches dangerously on their roofs fly past. With our convoy finally assembled and new friends made, entering the campsite was typically easy.
“Do you have any glass?”
“Can I look in the back?”
“Ahh, don’t bother.”
The unfurling of our campsite flags, the union of the ‘Treehead’, ‘Whale’ and ‘Penguin’ sigils, and the first listen of our unofficial anthem for the weekend, The Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird took place as Cars filtered in through the gates. Our campsite in our now customary South Pines was slowly surrounded by soon-to-be friends and people took the first afternoon to explore The Sup’s newest offerings, my personal favourite being the newest food truck Gumbo Kitchen.
But come 4pm and the countdown clock hit zero. Although often mentioned as the younger brother of Tame Impala, Pond have a strong claim in their own right. Slightly less recognisable than the former, Pond were played a strong set on such a daunting stage. I felt they were slightly better than Tame Impala were later that night, but we’ll come to that. Fantastic Explosion of Time was a huge highlight for mine.
The remainder of the afternoon was for bonding. Meeting our new neighbours and the people who would be our whole lives for the next 48 hours. Eventually, though we were due in The Sup for the gorgeous Grimes. A highly anticipated set for many attendees, the Canadian did not disappoint. With dark hair and black mascara around her eyes, Grimes looked like a Panda, perhaps acceptable because of the Panda-monium (sorry) she caused. It was the first real party set of Meredith 2012. Oblivion was ended with a dubstep outro, as other Visions tracks Be A Body and Genesis got a great reaction from the crowd.
I was pretty excited for The Sunnyboys. This year they were playing the classic Aussie rock set, which has been filled by Icehouse and The Hoodoo gurus in recent years. Unfortunately, I did not particularly enjoy their set. While their music is still enjoyable, the band seemed very dated in their performance, which was not helped by the throng of youth that were descending on the stage for Tame Impala in a few hours.
Despite the unfamiliarity of a number of punters in the crowd, Spiritualized truly were the first mind-blowing set of the festival, and drew a number of boots into the air, mine included. The quickfire start of Hey Jane, was quickly settle any nerves, while Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was the most beautiful song of the whole festival. Tears where shed by many.
By the time Tame Impala hit the stage, the anticipation was too much. The group have most of the world at their feet at the moment, and to be gracing the Amphitheatre was quite an accomplishment by Aunty Meredith. IT was an interesting set though. As brilliant as their music is, I felt standing at the barrier the band sounded a bit off. After I repositioned myself, I enjoyed their set a lot more. Their was a pretty even spread for the reactions to various songs. Of course, Lonerism singles Elephant and Feels Like We Only Go Backwards garnered the biggest applause but I personally enjoyed their earlier work better. The 10-minute-long edition of early song Half Full Glass Of Wine to close the set showed their true range of psychedelic variation, while Solitude Is Bliss and Desire Be Desire Go reminded people that they have been making good music for years.
It’s usually at this point in the night where I retreat to the upper reaches of the The Sup for a well deserved rest and feed, but not this year. I’d only just found a spot to sit when I became entranced in the magic of Omar Souleyman. The Syrian wedding-singer-cum-dance-extravaganza put on one of the weirdest, yet infatuating sets of the weekend. Dressed in a turban with dark sunglasses, Omar spent his hour walking around stage, shouting in Arabic clapping and generally raising the roof. It’s really hard to explain why this was enjoyable, especially without the use of any party-enhancing substances, but it was definitely worth it. The extra energy I’d consumed meant I missed Four Tet up next, but I don’t regret my actions.
I’ll to get the rest of the review up tomorrow.