The Winners and Losers from St Jerome's Laneway Festival Fremantle 2015

The Winners and Losers from St Jerome's Laneway Festival Fremantle 2015

Because people really don't read reviews properly anymore and like to just skim things, I've decided to format my 2015 Laneway review as a list of winners and losers. As usual, this is subjective, but here are my winners and losers from this years Fremantle leg of the Laneway Festival.

The Winners

Peter Bibby

As soon as the WA Wunderkind took stage following Triple J Unearthed winners Dianas, people flocked, seemingly undeterred by the early time slot. The direct and somewhat uncanny way Bibby introduced most of his tracks was a definite highlight, "This is a song about credit cards" (or something). I'd never seen the man live but was very impressed with his confidence and swagger.

Electronica/Experimental Electronic/Trip Hop

Caribou, Flying Lotus, Jon Hopkins and FKA Twigs came out to highlight the difference between electronica and 'EDM' (soz). Caribou's completely live set with him and his band centered around their equipment absolutely blew the crowd away, in particular the extended version of #55 in this years hottest 100 (my personal #1), 'Can't Do Without You'. FKA Twigs' rhythmic and hypnotising movement probably took the lead in her strong twilight set.

Flying Lotus and Jon Hopkins took the visual elements to the next level. Hopkins live video/laser combo added to the already breathtaking set that featured tweaks on tracks mostly taken from his 2013 album Immunity and it's follow up slow versions EP. Flying Lotus stage cleverly featured a thin sheet in front of the producer so that visuals could be cast simultaneously in front and behind to create 3D effects. The strong 1+ hour set also featured a little reveal of Captain Murphy (2015 album hype).

Loose Cunts

From the ever reliable urban dictionary, Loose cunt - "A person who is slightly out of control and doesn't really care". Referring to specifically to the members of bands including Connan Mockasin, Dune Rats, POND and Mac Demarco. Connan Mockasin's early performance featured lots of hairy, sweaty bare skin, pyjama pants and an excessive amount of grinding made me think a lot about this:

But I was completely blown away with their energy and sound, which could really only be described as 'sex'. They were later joined by Mac Demarco who jammed on a guitar using a credit card as a pick.

Dune Rats demonstrated how being self-proclaimed 'Old Mates' earns you a massive cult following, probably having the highest energy crowd of the day and commanding the attention of anyone passing. POND, as usual, had an extremely large Perth contingent who would do anything to show their love to the boys. The guys jammed out a few tracks from their newest album Man It Feels Like Space Again, before playing some older tracks for their long-time fans (Nick also recalling that one of them was originally recorded, very specifically).

As the sun set, Mac Demarco took to the stage to play some of his typical indie-jangle pop from Salad Days. He was later joined by fellow loose cunt, Jay Watson (GUM/POND/Tame Impala etc.) to jam out some loose cunt salad.

Courtney Barnett

Clearly a bona fide rock star, Courtney Barnett and her band absolutely killed it. Our surveyed reactions seemed to indicate some underwhelmed patrons, but I'm certain this set did nothing but enhance Barnett's reputation as a shining light of the Australian music scene. Oozing charisma and confidence, the set consisted mostly of songs from her 2013 release The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas.

The Losers

Benjamin Booker

Firstly, this is no knock on Booker's performance, which I only caught the back half of. And this is where the problem lies, Booker was unfortunately scheduled to begin during Courtney Barnett's set, and given the fan crossover this was big loss for the New Orleans lad. He acknowledged this himself mid-set when many of the Barnett-goers wandered over.

Having said this, the vast majority of Fremantle's Laneway was free of significant clashes, barring the similarly unfortunate Flying Lotus and Jon Hopkins closing at the same time.

Rinse Squads

They were few and far between, but they were out there. I witness quite a few packs of cookers wandering into the most EDM-sounding stage they could find waiting for the drop (that never came) so they could #rinse. I wrote last year about the issue of people going to festivals just for the sake of going to festivals, and this still happens; but this years purposeful Laneway lineup didn't leave them many places to hide.

Gate Crashers

No matter what festival you're at, people are going to jump the fence. See below:

Throughout the day I saw so many people attempting to jump the festival in large groups only to have most of them chased down almost immediately by the various security, no matter which fence they tried to jump. So kudos to the security guards on the day, who I probably should've listed as winners here.


Laneway started as small gigs in Melbourne laneways, expanding due to success to various Laneway-type areas over the country. The move to Fremantle for WA's laneway leg was a positive one, though theres only one true laneway, the Future Classic Stage. However, this year while the acts on this stage weren't bad, it was hard to leave the significantly bigger acts on the main Ferris and Mistletone stages to go down and check out the Future Classic Stage. This meant the experience of the laneway (and the founding 'cool' concept of the festival) was left to fans of more niche acts. I can't tell if this is intentional or not, and in hindsight I probably shouldn't complain because it's a serious pain trying to get out of a packed laneway anyway.

Our full gallery will up shortly!

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