Homebake 08 @ The Domain, Sydney (06/12/08)

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The 76 arrests that various news organisations have reported might suggest that this year’s Homebake festival, which sported the tagline ‘Peace in the Park,’ wasn’t quite as peaceful as the event organisers had planned. However this reviewer’s day consisted of nothing but sunshine, meeting a few interesting randoms and of course, some amazing live music… that equates to a pretty good festival in my opinion. Homebake 08 began very much like any other festival, with massive lines to get in that were being patrolled by the law and their trusty K9s. I hope the dogs got their biscuits at the end of the day (no pun intended), because judging by the amount of arrests it sounds like they earned them. In spite of the lines being long (again no pun intended) they did seem to move reasonably quickly and we weren’t kept waiting too long to get inside. So far so good!

First up on my list of things to see was Melbourne based MC and Obese Records head Pegz. Beats were provided by DJ Bones while Patto gave Pegz a hand with the MC duties. The majority of the songs he played came from his last two albums Axis and Burn City of which he played all the favourites, and also the new jam he’s done with Patto called Radioactive. As it was the middle of the day when he was playing, inside the tent was getting extremely hot, at one point prompting Pegz to say to the crowd, “It’s so hot up here I have to do this with bare feet…I feel like such a bogan,” getting a good laugh from the crowd. Now you know you’re at an Australian music festival when you’ve heard the word ‘bogan’ from the stage during the first set, so let’s get this party started.

After a killer set from Pegz it was time to hit the main stage for Bluejuice. The local Sydney act come with a reputation for a great live show, often involving a lot of climbing on various lighting rigs and even some partial nudity, or if you’re lucky… both those things. The boys didn’t disappoint what was actually a very large crowd for that early in the day. While Stav managed to remain fully clothed and on the actual stage for the length of the set, Jake got half naked and climbed a speaker stack whilst swinging his microphone by the lead; that’s not a double entendre, just in case anyone reading this is suddenly disappointed they missed out. Towards the end of the set they were joined by singer Elena Stone. She wasn’t on stage long, but hearing her absolutely let go into the microphone with that hugely powerful voice was one of the highlights of my day.

With the sun and heat in full effect, Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan were the next act to perform on the main stage. They played a blistering set which was a fair bit heavier than I had anticipated after listening to the album. I must also give special mention to the band for their dedication to the fashion, and rockin’ skinny leg jeans for the whole set. In that heat, it must have been boiling. Well done, you’re braver than I!

Due to the heat it was time for a well needed break, so some time was taken to wander around and of course encounter a couple of randoms, as one seems to do at these things. The most notable person that took it upon himself to stop and talk to us (we dubbed him ‘Fleuro Guy’), let’s just say he wasn’t exactly walking the straightest line when we first encountered him. Nonetheless, at the end of the night I witnessed him school a whole group of people in an impromptu break dance battle, and on the grass no less! Again, no pun intended. Smooth moves Fleuro Guy.

Back in the Big Top, Perth-based MC Drapht warmed up the crowd with a quick half-hour set before Potbelleez played and got a huge response, not surprisingly the biggest reaction from the dancefloor came when the crowd heard the opening bars to their massive single Don’t Hold Back. Drapht then came back out to finish his set with all his biggest tracks Jimmy Recard, Drink Drank Drunk and the new single Falling. He was helped out by Triple J drive presenter Scott Dools. This was only the second time Scott had performed as an MC in this manner, but from where I was dancing it was seamless. Maybe a chance for some moonlighting Dools!

The hip hop friendly lineup continued with hometown duo Bliss N Eso hitting the stage straight after Drapht. As I’m one of those Kiwis that now calls Australia home, at the start of my the day I was most excited about seeing Crowded House, but Bliss N Eso ended up stealing the show with what turned out to be my favourite set of the night. They brought down the tent with a massive sound. You would have been forgiven for thinking you were listening to a rock band at times, especially when DJ Izm dropped Rage Against The Machine during his DJ break in the middle. It was clear to see the professionalism Bliss N Eso now have after many years of playing live. My favourite songs of the set were Happy in My Hoodie, Bullet and A Target and Up Jumped the Boogie_. It was relentless from the start to the finish, by the end of it I think they may have broken me, I wasn’t left with much energy at all which is a sure sign of a great set.

The final act of the night on the main stage was Crowded House. There isn’t many better ways I have finished a festival than lying in the grass and letting the soft sounds of Neil Finn and co wash over my ears. Although I believe Neil’s line “Black clouds hanging over the domain,” from the song Four seasons in one day, wasn’t actually written about Sydney, never has it been more apt as the clouds had formed in the black sky above making it very atmospheric. Crowded House played a full hour and a half set which included all their greatest hits, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Now We’re Getting Somewhere and Private Universe just to name a few. As expected there was plenty of crowd participation, I have never seen such a large arm in arm sing-a-long session before, it was the perfect way to get the Peace in the park message across. “Hey now, hey now…Don’t dream it’s over…”


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Comment Added

gracearcasm said on the 10th Dec, 2008

The magic of that Crowded House set could never be captured in words, but that came pretty close.. It was a fantastic day.

Little Blondie

Little Blondie said on the 12th Dec, 2008

Probably the best Homebake ive been too. beautiful weather, great company and a fab lineup. Pity I didnt get to enjoy the arm in arm sing-a-long during Crowded House cause I was lost by myself, although I did find the time to wrap my arms around myself an