Groovin' The Moo 2013: In Review
We are a new site. Like a delinquent youth doing his first corner shift, we were finding our feet only a few months ago. So when the opportunity arose to make like Jesse Pinkman and cook meth with Heisenberg, we were excited. And by “cook meth with Heisenberg” I mean “apply for media tickets under the guise we are a media empire”. But what we lack in Rupert-Murdoch-esque phone-hacking, fear-mongering and diamond bitchez we make up for in festival experiences, hours of listening to music and an unrivalled passion for live shows. So, when we were granted VIP Industry tickets to Groovin’ the Moo Festival we were beyond excited. “Our very first thing,” we proclaimed. And so it is with great pleasure and wistful recollection that we bring you our take on Groovin’ the Moo 2013.
We decided a day trip would have to suffice, as our day jobs beckoned for our sweet worklove and – since that’s how we fund this site – it would be un-possible to say “git farked” to our boss types. We left bright and early to catch all of the musical goodness this ripper of a festival had to offer.
Picking up our tickets, I managed to talk myself into a photo pass. This allowed me to bring an SLR camera into the grounds, as well as access to the photo pit for the first few songs of an artists’ set, to get some nice pretty pictures for the site. And get up close and personal with acts such as Tame Impala, Flume and The Bronx.
Amidst some confusion at the start of the day (due largely to a quick reshuffle of the lineup due to Kadyelle being absent) we made our way to the VIP area. It was a unfamiliar but welcome festival experience; the private bar, queue-free eateries, spotless toilets and provision of numerous complimentary deodorants, hair products, insect-repellents and sunscreens exceeded our expectations and then some. But this wasn’t what we were here for, and they didn’t serve alcohol until after 12 (which I suppose is a fair enough rule), so we headed out to the main stages.
As a result of the missing-in-action Kadyelle, Triple J Unearthed victors Sisters Doll were the festival openers. Hailing from Collie, this glam rock power trio were surprisingly entertaining, and maintained a stage presence not usually found in such a young act. Armed with spandex tights and ridiculous hair, they rocked the hair metal/glam je ne sais quoi that defined 80’s rock with impressive gusto. It was an entertaining and fun set. The crowd enjoyed this throwback band, and the band enjoyed playing to a group of this size; they demanded we pay attention to their licks and bangs.
FOAM, another local act, took to the stage next and impressed our ears with their grunge’n’roll. Although a touch shoegazey at the start of their set (not a problem in itself, but a festival spot is about winning new fans), the trio quickly livened up with some impressive and energetic self-loathing grunge. Joel Martin’s vocals rasping alongside a plodding bassline (Harley Barnaby’s hand bleeding all over his bass) evoke memories of pre-fame Nirvana. Jackson Hawdon fills out a fairly loose rhythm section. The crowd lapped it up, with early punters (IN reporters) getting a little rowdy.
Following FOAM’s suite, Perth lads The Love Junkies demonstrated their love for QOTSA and punk rock with a solid set. Their live performance brings to mind Children Collide; the two stringists jumping around stage, shaking their thangs and putting on a show. Their sound – while owing a little too much to a single band – is great, and I’m sure as the band play a few bigger spots they will fit quite nicely into the stoner rock niche. Both The Love Junkies and FOAM obviously pulled a lot of willing mates down to get into their sets, which is great to see.
Soon after, Last Dinosaurs played to the ever-filling grounds, their Triple-J-friendly indie rock musings sending off great vibes into the crowd. This band has a vision of what ‘happy’ music should be, and their sound articulates perfectly into a live show at a festival like GTM.
Over in the ‘Moolin Rouge’ tent The Bronx pulled from their entire catalogue, the LA hardcore punks getting the party started in an especially brutal way. Material from their newest album went down very well – the whole crowd singing along to The Unholy Hand – while the older fans went into a frenzy for White Guilt. Meanwhile on the main stage, Allday was lucky to play a nice festival spot as replacement for Urthboy (who was otherwise engaged meeting his newborn son).
During the wait for The Amity Affliction, east-coast dance-punks DZ Deathrays played a solid but un-fantastic DJ set to get the crowd all wet. Their choice of tracks was occasionally questionable considering their audience (Amity fans aren’t known for their love of the top 40 hits of yesteryear), but it didn’t seem to matter as their stage-right DJ booth was slightly obscured from the crowd (who clearly thought the set was just Amity’s standard pre-set mix) and they – despite putting on their biggest hair – remained sadly unrecognized for their efforts.
After a while of listening to some killer nostalgia from DZ, The Amity Affliction made their way to the Moolin Rouge tent stage to an ear-fucking scengream (scene girl scream) before destroying the stage. I – a lover of most things metalcore – will be the first to say I’m not really a fan of this band due to their whiney clean vocals, but these guys put on a great live show. Relying heavily on their new album ‘Chasing Ghosts’, they chugged through a decidedly raw performance. A lot of pit action, and likely a few broken noses, ensued. Joel Birch, the band’s screamer, ran around the stage something fierce, with an intent and purpose rarely seen from frontmen at a festival such as this.
Alpine had the next slot on the headliner stage, and delivered well by playing their songs with much more urgency and energy than is present on their LP. The two lead vocalists worked the crowd and, despite some mic issues, their indie singalongs quickly had the crowd won over. Back in the tent, Yacht (a band I had never heard of in my entire life) impressed us hugely with some tight, slick, well mixed chic electropop. Seriously, you should check them out.
It was great to see Regurgitator live. Everyone remembers them as ‘that late-90s band that sang Polyester Girl’ but there’s more punk in these rockers than you might’ve thought. Their set spanned their entire discography and took us on a trip of early-childhood nostalgia, while their newer, more punk-rock songs gave the otherwise clueless crowd some new material to ponder.
And then the sun set, AND IT GOT COLD! (but there are heaters in the industry bar)
Tame Impala cemented their position as local musical icons when they drew a huge crowd from all demographics together to listen to some psychedelic rock. The group, led by demi-God Kevin Parker, played a similar set to their Coachella performance (which is sourceable on the internet). They took cuts from both albums, as well as Half Full Glass of Wine from their debut EP and their now-famous rendition of the Fremantle Dockers club song. In a moment of psychedelia-meets-AFL-meets-Inception, immediately after the song was sang the dock-dock-dockers came back from a significant deficit to beat the Pies by a huge margin. As Tame Impala come to play more and more huge festival slots, and release more and more radioplay singles, the crowd involvement in falsetto sing-alongs becomes increasingly prevalent. I must have looked ridiculous as I stood in the photo pit, taking pictures and belting out “It Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”, but we don’t get paid enough to not have fun on the job. Tame are a weird band to see live; on one hand they perform their songs with impeccable musicianship and take exciting sojourns into melodic psychedelic jams, but on the other their stage presence still lacks a certain pizzazz – enough substance but not enough energy. As their set wound up, it seemed like every man and his dog – unless that dog was a Tegan and Sara fan – were making their way to the Moolin Rouge Tent.
Flume, being one of the most anticipated acts all day, drew a huge crowd into the Moolin Rouge tent. I say ‘into’ but a more fitting preposition would be ‘around’. If you weren’t in the tent before the last act had started (which would mean missing Tame Impala on the main stage) then you weren’t likely to be in a good spot for this up-and-coming-like-he’s-fucking-in-an-elevator Australian producer. All I could think as I waited for him to enter the stage is, “Juvies, Juvies everywhere”. What must have been their first-ever festival ended horribly for numerous fans who simply couldn’t handle the extreme density of human bodies in the crowd, and the security guards worked overtime extricating these screaming (with terror) fans from the tent into No-views-ville. Unfortunately this meant the photo area was closed, and we had to move to the sound mixing platform to get a shot. Through the clammy, sweaty sea of people. I was the only one to make it to the sound stage. RIP others.
Flume’s set was heavily reliant on audience hype. The “if my fans love my album, they’ll love me to play my album” mentality. It won over the crowd, and the lighting and sound production was top-notch, but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. The first half of the set seemed to be mainly just album cuts, with a couple drum-pad-hits and bass-drops thrown in to make it seem live and organic (rather than just a DJ set). This did improve as the set went on, and eventually we did see him add a great Biggie acapella to some live-mixed beats which brought the fucking house down. The visuals for this set, as with Tame’s, were fantastic. With a huge light show and screen, his live set was aesthetically great even sans infinity prism, his usual awesome looking thing. The inclusion of a new single toward the end made sure everyone remembered the set- in fact, people where so excited and lost in a trance of music that some members of the crowd thought it would be a great idea to set off some fucking flares in the crowded pit.
With that, we had to leave. We said goodbye to the gas heaters in the VIP tent and got in the car and drove home. We have it on good authority that The Kooks showed why they are such a popular band with a set of delightful pop-rock hits, and Shockone dropped the motherfucking bass hard as we walked out.
Be sure to check out our GTM 2013 Bunbury Gallery here!
-Luke Bartlet and Tim Chapman