Splendour In The Grass returned to the North Byron Parklands in 2014 with perhaps their best lineup yet!
After unofficially opening on Thursday evening, Splendour got off to a great start with DJs playing throughout the night in both the Red Bull bar and the Smirnoff bar.
The festival officially kicked off on Friday with Tkay Maidza ripping through a blistering set of hip-hop bangers early up on the Mix-Up stage. The young lady from Adelaide whipped the crowd into a frenzy with her hit ‘Brontosaurus’ that had everyone stomping their feet like said dinosaur.
Other highlights on the Mix-Up stage included a captivating set from The Acid. Comprised of producer Adam Freeland, Australia’s own Ry X (aka Ry Cummings) and producer Steve Nalepa, the group hypnotised the audience with their weird indie-dance. The Kite String Tangle was an early crowd favourite until Peking Duk came on stage and took it to another level with the addition of flamethrowers.
The Strypes rocked the GW McLennan tent followed by a beautiful set from Icelandic singer-songwriter, Ásgeir. Ásgeir played most of the tracks off his amazing album, ‘In The Silence’, and a harrowing version of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’.
Performing a thumping set of classics over in the main Amphitheatre, The Presets were a welcome substitute for London Grammar. Their set included an intelligible version of their hit, ‘I Go Hard I Go Home’, that had the crowd scratching their heads wondering what track it was.
Interpol opened with the incredible ‘Say Hello To The Angels’ before pulling out hits like ‘Evil’, ‘Narc’, ‘C’mere’, ‘Slow Hands’ and the new single, ‘All The Rage Back Home’. Unfortunately they seemed to be merely filling time before headliners, Outkast.
Once Outkast hit the stage, all bets were off! From the countdown into opener, ‘B.O.B’ and then straight into ‘Gasoline Dreams’, Outkast showed us why they are one of the greatest hip hop acts of all time. After taking us from the old school spanning their 20-year history to their mega hit ‘Ms Jackson’, the pair split up and it was Big Boi’s turn to do his solo thing with ‘GhettoMusick’ and ‘The Way You Move’.
Andre 3000 definitely got the bigger response of the two with his future RnB tunes, ‘She Lives In My Lap’ and ‘Prototype’, after which he conceded, “if you can’t get none tonight, I tried.” Andre then brought out a bunch of girls and launched into their most famous song, ‘Hey Ya’, demanding the crowd “shake it!”
On Saturday, indie-reggae act Sticky Fingers showed the main stage why they’re a band to watch in 2014. They demanded the crowd sing along to Hottest 100 favourites, ‘Australian Street’ and ‘Caress Your Soul’, and new tunes, ‘Gold Snafu’, and ‘Just For You’.
The 1975 wooed the girls but were lost on me. LDRU and Yahtzel, Touch Sensitive and Hot Dub Time Machine all got the Mix-Up stage jumping. The latter taking the crowd on a journey through time with classic tracks from the 50s to now.
Late additions, Foals, killed it on the main stage after being slotted in following Two Door Cinema Club’s absence. These guys are a must-see live!
On Sunday we partook in some of the experiential activities Splendour has to offer. We stumbled upon Buddhist chants in the Global Village, which later played host to a mass Yoga class. We checked out the Tipi Forrest, The Electric Garden silent disco, and Lionel Richie’s head (seriously), all of which added to the atmosphere of the event.
New York surf-punkers, Skaters, played into the sun on the main stage, Jungle took us through their cool funk-infused jams, new triple J DJ, KLP, showed us why she got the new job on the station’s Mix-Up show, and Golden Features took us into some deep house territory.
There had been much hype about Sam Smith’s performance before he’d even jumped on stage. Backed by an amazing band, Sam’s smooth falsetto and catchy tunes received an overwhelming response. You could see he was completely dumbstruck by the Splendour crowd. ‘Restart’, ‘Money On My Mind’, and a cover of Arctic Monkey’s ‘Do I Wanna Know’, were all particular highlights.
The worst set of the weekend unfortunately went to Danny Brown. His incomprehensible raps sounding somewhere in between Beaker from The Muppets and a car alarm, leaving many fans disappointed.
To close out the main Amphitheatre and the festival we had shock-pop queen Lily Allen. Armed with baby bottles and twerkers, Lily was a colourful end to an amazing festival. The drum n bass breakdown in ‘Smile’ was very much a highlight, as too was Lily’s usual cheekiness.
Splendour In the Grass was held at North Byron Parklands from July 24-27.
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