Good Vibrations @ Parklands, Gold Coast (19/02/2011)

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In the midst of talk of festival fatigue, the Good Vibrations roadshow reached its final destination here on the sunny Gold Coast. With stops already in Sydney and Melbourne welcomed by surprisingly sparse crowds, the Jam Music crew cut ticket prices in half and offered a ‘bring a friend for free’ deal for existing ticketholders.

Arriving at one-pm, already in a pool of sweat thanks to the face-melting heat, it appears wearing a shirt was the true fashion statement of the day. This also included women, but I am not complaining about that, nor ever will. It’s hard to not notice though that Generation Y is currently overrun by tattoos. Ink and cursive font was everywhere I looked.

A quick glance around the grounds saw the stages all within eyesight, and brilliantly positioned so no sound could interfere with other acts throughout the day. And who would want the soulful sounds of Aloe Blacc to be interrupted? Enlivening the already lethargic crowd, Aloe Blacc jumped through a set of hip-hobbling tunes, thanking the kings like Stevie Wonder and Al Green along the way. Not even the mid-set surprise vocals of Maya Jupiter or an immaculate delivery of Michael Jackson’s Thriller could beat the toe-tapping, swing-fused track I Need A Dollar. By the end of this set, Aloe surely earned more than a dollar from us.

Hidden deep inside the Chinese Laundry dance tent, punters tripled during Kill The Noise’s final beats in anticipation for two of the day’s biggest acts. Originally one half of the British hip hop band The Wiseguys, Fake Blood has been well overdue on the Gold Coast. The man otherwise known as Theo Keating blissfully scratched his way around several of his own tunes, remixes and biggest tracks of today. Sampling Little Boots, Green Velvet and even Star Wars, the biggest floor-fillers were original party anthems I Like It and Mars.

Up next, the mo-hawked hyper child known as Rusko welcomed the Gold Coast with that cheeky grin of his. With one and a half hours to work with, the set is this reviewer’s pick for most exciting of the day. With songs fluidly morphing from one to the next, nearly every few minutes would be happily interrupted by the overly enthusiastic Rusko. Almost halfway through most songs, the dubstep hero screamed through the speakers “it’s remix time”, which then understandably saw a filthy track become something highly illegal.

In the thick of it for the entire set, bangers such as Ghetto Blaster, Miami 2 Ibiza, California Love, Take Me To The Hospital and crowd favourites Woo Boost and Hold On were just a sample of the cuts Rusko used to violate everyone in attendance. Easily one of the most entertaining DJs to watch, and sweat to, the set was practically flawless. If you missed this, or simply wish to relive the greatness, he assured us several times that the wobble will return in time for Christmas. Stereosonic perhaps?

On the opposite side of the grounds, thousands of hands were simultaneously thrown into the air under the Roots tent. Nas and Damien Marley stormed the stage with their fist-pumping anthem As We Enter blasting through the speakers. Vehemently spurring the crowd into fits of rage, several chants go up, ranging from song names to Bob Marley chants. Breezing over collaborations and solo singles Na Mean, Road To Zion, Hip Hop is Dead and If I Ruled The World, it was the tribal cover of Marley senior’s infamous tune Could You Be Loved that enhanced the entire performance and bought it to that euphoric finale.

Frightening their large crowd from the get-go, engulfed in smoke and hidden behind silver masks, Swedish-via-New York band Miike Snow were welcomed by one of the loudest roars. Blistering through a set list from their debut self titled album, it was the incredibly haunting rendition of Vampire Weekend’s The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance and equally disturbing rendition of Animal that truly stood out.

Thankfully lasting this long without any hiccups, the inevitable headliner clash was something no one was looking forward to. The toss-up between long time electronic legends Faithless and indie dancers Phoenix may just be one of the hardest decisions in Australian festival history.

Over at Phoenix, he Faithless visual light show, continuous claps and incredible stage presence could be seen from a distance. Hits like God Is a DJ, Insomnia and closing track We Come One echoed over Phoenix’s tracks with ease late in the evening. Thankfully, with a mind-blowing light show, along with tunes Too Young, 1901 and Rome, Phoenix delivered a rousing closer.

While it may have been struck with problems early, with Cee Lo Green and Janelle Monae jumping on the Grammys wagon, all was forgiven within a heartbeat. Faith is firmly with Jam to do it all over again in 2012. It would be safe to trust Brian Wilson right now, when he so famously sung, “I’m picking up good vibrations”.