REVIEW: Paradise Music Festival 2014

Paradise – the transplant of the Melbourne urban music scene into a picturesque destination.

Playing host the festival for it’s sophomore year, Lake Mountain – and it’s long days, cold nights and scarily high UV rays, turned it on for the thousand or so individuals who made the trip up the hills.

Day one got off to a later start – with two members of the opening band Urban Problems not making it to the mountain in time. This didn’t turn out to be an issue in the end – with the band hosting a pop up gig at sunset on the Saturday.

Before too long, Rara took to the stage with unique blend o’ hip hop – followed by chill crew Rat & Co. Who, due to technical difficulties, kicked off their set half an hour later than planned. It was all worth it though – with their downtempo tunes providing the perfect soundtrack to sunset.

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Crooked Colours, a band that had received a fair bit of praise and attention in the lead up to the festival played a solid set. Revered tracks such as ‘Come Down’ and ‘In Your Bones’ carried well live, and had the masses grooving.

Bringing one hell of crowd, Oscar Key Sung cemented his reputation as one of the most exciting electronic come soul acts out of the Melbourne scene. Followed by party starters (and ultimate bromance) Young Franco and UV boi, stage Paradise came to a ground shaking, bass heavy close that Friday night.

At no stage was the night over though – not with Clubland only just kicking off with unique beatsmiths, Null and Planete.

Word around the festival was to stay awake for  Friendships’ 2AM DJ set at the Clubland stage – So we did. And It was awesome.

What really struck about the set, was the varying dynamics that you don’t see in DJ sets very often, which made each beat drop extra fierce sending the frenzied crowd into a good vibey trance.

The second day of Paradise was initially pretty difficult. Everyone had thoroughly enjoyed their first night of the festival – for me, it actually felt a bit like ‘Bush Revs.’

We slowly emerged from our tent-caves just in time to eat some festival food, which was pretty impressive. Kudos to Paradise for the above average foods.

Kicking off our Saturday was Foreign/National, who boogied their way through a lively set that ended far too soon. There was fairly decent group braving the hot sun to check them out – It felt like they had a fair bit of hype surrounding them.

After the driving power of Foreign/National came Lanks, whose swirling melodies brought a slight pop vibe to the stage area. He’d been someone you’d been hearing about around town for a few months now, so there were many particularly keen to check him out.

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Day 2 definitely seemed to be more about bands than producers. While predominantly an electronic festival, Paradise did put on a few acts early in the day who did not fit the general vibe of the weekend, but it worked – and the variety was appreciated.

Apart From This were a heavy rock act gracing the stage, followed by The Sinking Teeth – a band on a similar sonic wavelength. It is quite possible they scared some of the electro-focused crowd, but were nonetheless excellent.

With perhaps the greatest hype surrounding any band at the festival this weekend, Klo – who have been steadily gaining a following around Melbourne, took to the stage.  This pair of cousins managed to captivate a large crowd late in the afternoon with their chilled, catchy beats. Having only played a handful of shows together, Klo look as if they’ve been doing this together for years.

‘False Calls’ was the hyped track everyone was keen to hear. As soon as the opening notes came in, there was a bit of a rumble around Paradise’s natural amphitheatre.

Sharing a common member with Klo, I’lls were back at Paradise for the second year in a row. There was quite a decent crowd waiting for them when they begun their own set, as the sun set. It wasn’t a a particularly dance-y crowd, with the audience more so standing mesmerised, watching every move from the three members. I’lls took everyone on a journey from soundscape to soundscape, mixed with some pretty heavy beats in between.

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from festival headliner, Kirin J Callinan. Having seen Kirin & Co bantering away a few hours earlier, I knew we were in for something rowdy and special – which is exactly what we got. Although the crowd was initially divided on his abstract sound, he won over many with his acapella rendition of song ‘The Toddler’, in which he highlighted the perils of grade one ‘cougars’ and the daily struggles of life in a nappy.

Total Giovanni were the standout act for the night – possibly even for the whole festival. With matching white suits and powerful disco beats, this band were both old school and fresh, like some kind of nostalgic salad. Similar to locals, The Vaudeville Smash, but with a distinct electro vibe and a constant solid backbeat.

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Back over at Clubland, Jahnne powered through his set and kept the Saturday night crowd in the party mindset. It was a bit different from his other work under the alias Flash Forest, which I’d listened to quite a bit before. It was a sick set from one of Melbourne’s best up and coming producers.

Overall, Paradise was one of the better festivals of the year – and a great way to kick off summer. It had a club vibe, the friendliness and openness of a bush doof – but a unique group of artists from a rapidly growing homegrown scene.

A few days later, you’ll still be in the process of trawling through SoundCloud, looking for all the crazy jams heard on the weekend. A word of advice though – if you’re heading next year, bring a keg of sunscreen. But that’s a whole different story all together.

Keep up to date with our Paradise coverage here.

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