Groovin The Moo 2014 had some huge international acts on the lineup, but it was well and truly a festival where local acts showcased their talents. A perfect example occurred early in the day with Lurch & Chief. These Melbourne locals have gone from strength to strenth in the past year and it is obvious why. The shared male/female lead vocals are perfection and always spot on in the live setting- GTM being no different. What’s better? A large crowd rocked up early to witness it.
Andy Bull (admittedly the number one act on my list) also pulled a substantial crowd based around recent singles ‘Baby I Am Nobody Now’ and “Keep On Running’, but early hit ‘Dog’ was pulled off with guitarist Alex singing the better part of the female vocal and Lindsay McDougall (Triple J’s The Doctor) even ventured into the crowd for their cover of ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’. The Jungle Giants were always going to be popular with the clap-happy crowd with their energy and charisma, even though their set did sound a little empty.
There are some acts that excel in the festival setting, and Loon Lake is certainly one of those. The five piece just fed off the crowd’s enthusiasm and made it work. Catching the end of Illy’s set was one of the best decisions I made all day because it meant witnessing his Aus Music Month Medley in the flesh. This man knows how to work a crowd and had absolutely everyone’s arms in the air waving. It was then Australia’s sweetheart Vance Joy’s time to shine. Playing all tracks from his debut EP except ‘Snaggletooth’, as well as a couple of encouraging new tracks and a solid cover of ‘Because I Love You’ (The Masters Apprentices), and ‘Riptide’ was always going to result in a choral singalong.
New York’s Cults were by far the highlight of the day. Between their incredible basslines, killer vocals and a cover of The Motels’ ‘Total Control’ (“This song was curiously number one in Australia, but nowhere else”), they are seriously a band to keep your eye on.
Many are surely left with bumps and bruises to remember Violent Soho’s ‘Covered In Chrome’ (myself included), then the more relaxed tracks of The Kite String Tangle proved why he is selling out shows and impressing overseas. Female vocals were on display with The Naked And Famous and The Jezebels back to back, and then it became all about the electronics with What So Not, The Presets and Disclosure. Many a face looked stressed at the decision between catching the end of The Presets or heading over to see duo Disclosure. Either way, a good time was to be had from these experienced and respected electronic acts.
As at most festivals, the battle of the hipster outfits was fierce, but the cooler Bendigo weather saw the gumboots-parka-beanie combination soar in popularity. On the flipside, onesies were as popular as ever, but most GTM goers still enjoyed the condom badge no matter what their style.
The other key crowd aspect is that GTM is an all-ages festival. This proves to be something that is both brilliant and awful all at once. We at CBB are all for giving underage music lovers a place to witness live music, but all-ages crowds unfortunately get a bad rap because of a small number of punters. While many younger Aussies have a regard for others, it seems festivals such as this attract those with the opposite mentality, which ends up causing an animosity toward the yellow-wrist banded folk.
That is not to say underage festival goers were the only culprits of negative behaviour; to the guy yelling for Vance Joy to “play Riptide then fuck off” from the moment he hit the stage- you are everything that is wrong with festival crowds.
With any festival, there are going to be some logistical issues- whether minor or major, there’s always something- but the only real problem presented on the Bendigo site was some sound clashing between the incredibly close stages.
Throughout the course of the day it became more and more obvious just how much GTM is a Triple J festival, with heavy representation from Hottest 100 acts; Vance Joy, Violent Soho, Andy Bull and The Kite String Tangle, just to name a few. On the whole however, GTM does a lot of good for two under appreciated aspects of the Australian music industry- regional areas and underage crowds, and for that it must be respected.