A slightly cloudier morning greeted punters as the last day of the festival rolled around. The vibe on site was chill in the best way as festival-goers milled around to get their coffee fix, or waited for bacon and egg goodness from the brekkie roll stand. That lazy atmosphere permeated GW McLennan, yet Melbourne post-punkers Gold Class certainly looked in gold form as they delivered a short but tight performance. The winning song easily went to ‘Life as a Gun’ towards the end of the set, but sadly there weren’t quite enough people for it to take off.
It was a similar vibe over at the amphitheatre, with local rockers Green Buzzard playing an on form set to an easygoing crowd that had mustered. From both an audience and promoter perspective, it was great to see the support of local acts.
An early set which absolutely dominated though was Tired Lion’s, putting the sheer calibre of frontman Sophie Hopes and raucous energy of bassist Nick Vasey on show. The hour had it all, from a damn impressive round of moshing to ‘Agoraphobia’ (a call of solidarity to anyone struggling with anxiety or depression), to guitarist Matt Tanner wielding a GoPro as Hopes motioned for the crowd get into the shot. Other set bangers included one of the group’s older tracks ‘Are You Listening… Listener?’, and the brutally honest (or just plain brutal) ‘Not My Friends’. Hopes’ banter reached its peak before the latter track as she bluntly remarked “This song is about telling those people to fuck off. Not you.”, pausing here to gesture at the huge crowd.
Making their first visit to the country were UK rockers, Blossoms. Tasked with an early afternoon set during the hottest part of the day, the crowd was somewhat lacking. Nonetheless, their talent was undeniable – the band putting on a thoroughly enjoyable set that’ll more than likely serve as a catalyst for future success in Australia.
Local act City Calm Down played a rapturous set – complete with a horns section as well as a special cover of ‘Let’s Dance’ by David Bowie. This was all to an exceptional crowd who didn’t hesitate to sing and dance along. As someone who’s caught the band in many different settings, it’s important to note that their live show has the impressive ability to fit in anywhere. It can seamlessly span between an intimate, tiny capacity club all the way to a huge festival stage like Splendour.
The crowd awaiting the relatable and no-bullshit Courtney Barnett resembled an army as she took to the Amphitheatre stage. As she kicked into the heaps catchy ‘Dead Fox’, you could see all of the Barnett’s stage moments, borderline clunky yet working just fine for the down-to-earth musician. Particularly groovy moments in the set included ‘Elevator Operator’, while the much slower ‘Kim’s Caravan’ showcased the haunting side of Barnett’s vocals, along with some classic shredding.
In between old and new cuts, A+ banter and the genuine joy of being on stage Tegan and Sara proved exactly why Australia’s love affair with the duo continues, after all these years and musical / aesthetic regenerations.
Sydney born-and-bred, indie rockers Boy & Bear never fail to put on a great show, and their stunning run at the Amphitheatre was no exception. It was refreshing to see the boys open with ‘Where’d You Go’ this time instead of ‘Limit of Love’ (although catchy as hell in its own right). From the stripped back ‘Three Headed Woman’ (a true showcase of David Hosking’s golden pipes) to a killer extended guitar solo from Killian Gavin, the show had plenty of memorable moments. However, everything shot to the next level as soon as saxophonist Andy Bickers came out to do his thing on ‘Harlequin Dream’, the massive horde gathered at the stage going nuts. This extended right into closer ‘Walk the Wire’, a predictable but nonetheless perfect end to a stellar set.
Towards the pointy end of an incredible three-day run, young English soul-stirrer Jake Bugg reeled in a hefty crowd to round out the festivities over at GW McLennan. The dynamic performance spanned well across Bugg’s three-album catalogue, and while new songs from his latest album On My One including ‘Put Out the Fire’ and the heart-wrenching ‘Love, Hope and Misery’ certainly stood out, it was tunes from his self-titled debut like ‘Trouble Town’ and last song ‘Lightning Bolt’ that really shined. Emotions were running high, guitar transitions were flawless, and there was plenty of heel clicking and bouncing to sustain the night.