The best of the bunch award:
Without a doubt this has to go to the mesmerising Father John Misty. J. Tillman, formerly of Fleet Foxes, blew me away with his captivating performance of his hilariously honest songs. The indie style ballads translated brilliantly on stage, I was compelled from start to finish. Although Tillman barely uttered a word to his crowd, he was engaging and hard to take your eyes off. His voice was faultless, and had an incredible strength and tone. Backed by a wonderful band, it was hard not to love this set as he played songs like I Love You, Honeybear, Chateau Lobby #4 and Nancy From Now On.
The ultimate groover award:
London rapper Loyle Carner’s set was fun in every way. The Brit seemed quite impressed he had so many people there to see him and his humble and friendly conversation with the crowd was so endearing. Add to that the fact that his slow style, jazz influenced rap music is fresh, funky and a bloody good time to groove to – how could this set not be a favourite of the day!
The dud stage award:
My groups gripe of the day was the terrible sound quality at every set we saw on the Rotunda stage. How could they not sort it out !? It was so frustrating, at every act we checked out there during the festival we were immensely disappointed. All of the artists I was most excited to see played this stage – and they all put on great shows – the problem wasn’t them, the problem was that we just couldn’t hear them.
Laneway organisers needed to recognise they had an issue early in the day and fix it, instead we felt angry as we couldn’t enjoy the acts we came to see. I am pissed off that half of Billie Eilish’s vocals went unheard (not to mention that she was 20 minutes late on stage as they did sound tests), the Internet were inaudible, so much so that I found myself talking the whole way through their gig, and as for Anderson .Paak – today I’m feeling truly gutted. This was the act I was immensely excited to see, the act who is famed for his live performances, the act who easily had the biggest crowd of the festival – and I walked away halfway through the set because I couldn’t hear it. How much of a bummer is that? Hope organisers sort this before next year!! (And hope he comes back to NZ to play a solo show.)
The up and comer award:
This without a doubt goes to Australian modern rocker D.D Dumbo. His snazzy and contagious guitar riffs, clever use of percussion and epic vocals are something else! We started the day at his set and were bloody glad we’d made the call to venture into the glaring sunshine so early in the day. Oliver Hugh Perry and band were charismatic in their flawless performance and Perry involved the crowd with funny anecdotes including a swipe at himself for choosing the name D.D Dumbo – “we all make mistakes”. With a voice which regularly reminds me of Sting, paired up with a fresh indie sound, this guy has a winning combo and I highly recommend you check him out.
The sass award:
Despite sound issues doing their best to completely ruin Billie Eilish’s set, the talented US teen was still a show stopper. She raunchily danced around the stage, encouraged the crowd to shout out obscenities and then asked her Mum who was watching side of stage to take a picture of the crowd. It was hilarious and sassy in every way. But most importantly her vocals were spot on and she had the crowd dancing away in the direct sun – not an easy feat considering most people spent the day trying to find shade, shade and more shade. A ukulele style cover of Drakes Hotline Bling went down a treat and seamlessly transformed it into Party Favor which was an epic singalong. Pretty bloody good for a 16-year-old!
The voice award:
Amelia Meath of Sylvan Esso – wow what a voice! I have always thought she sounded amazing on record, but live she was just epic! The British electronic pop pair were a compelling act. After some intense time in the sun we decided to sit in the shade to listen to their set – of course that didn’t last, we were compelled to venture back into the heat and dance away to the magical sound.
The best boogie award:
Canadian indie legend Mac DeMarco had me dancing like a mad thing. His groovy tunes and hilarious chatter made for a delightful early evening set. I twisted my feet and hips in slow grooves and sang my heart out to bangers old and new like Salad Days, On the Level, This Old Dog and many many more. Shit it was a good time!
Overall, it was a bloody good festival wth great music as always – bring on 2019!