Good Vibrations Festival @ Claremont Showgrounds, Perth (20/02/2011)
Wed 23rd Feb, 2011 Event Reviews 140 viewsin
The over-saturation of music festivals (four in five weeks!) in Perth at the moment is clearly one of the main reasons that punters aren’t dishing out the coin to go to an overcrowded festival when they may or may not see their favourite acts play. Heading into Good Vibrations, after the promoters had slashed tickets by half (hell, even VIP was under $100), was something I was looking forward to – Claremont Showgrounds at half capacity.
Anyway…onto the tunes. The Roots stage had a very attractive bill on it, with Erykah Badu, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Damian Marley & Nas and Ludacris. Although not knowing a huge amount about Erykah Badu, I was absolutely amazed at the charm and coolness that this lady and her band gave off. It was Badu’s first time in Australia, exclaiming “We’ve gotta lot of catching up to do!” and after a couple of soundcheck issues during the first three tracks, Badu was in full swing, with a trio of dancers behind her. Apple Tree, Didn’t Cha Know and Soldier were the standouts, with Badu reminiscing a story about the exchange between soldiers and the people during a stand-off on the Mexican border may have had this reviewer a small tear in his eye. She was simply amazing.
Heading out to explore the rest of the showgrounds was something done very smoothly and easy comparative to the last time I was there for Big Day Out two weeks earlier. It almost seemed there were about half the punters around – no lines, easy to get around – although this may be attributed to the lack of drinking sections being an 18+ event…and lack of ticket sales, of course. What Jam did do right though, is no drink tickets – a breath of festival-laced fresh air.
The Ting Tings were up on the main stage – after getting a beverage I was about five minutes late into their set, however still managed to get a spot basically on the front barrier without pushing through everyone – the competition for this timeslot meant Fat Freddy’s were the crowds choice. Katie White’s high energy despite a small crowd meant that those there were treated to a great show, starting with hits Great DJ, Fruit Machine and Shut Up and Let Me Go.
Quickly shuffling my way to catch the last few tracks of Fat Freddy’s Drop, one thing instantly noticeable is that I will never be as cool as frontman Joe Dukie. Wearing Wayfarers and checks, he had the crowd jumping on command as the horn section, with some interesting choices of outfits, provided the perfect backdrop to the sun setting at the showgrounds. Trombonist Joe Lindsay provided the comedy value, not quite fitting into his short shorts and wifebeater singlet, danced the closing riffs away.
February 20th, 2011
On the same stage, Damian Marley and Nas’ reggae and rap combination had as large a following as Marley’s dreadlocks. The Roots stage was heaving as the two worked perfectly with each other even though only playing basically tracks from their new collaborative album, Distant Relatives. Watching Bob Marley’s son playing Could You Be Loved was incredible. Meanwhile, does anyone know why there’s always a flag bearer on stage during reggae gigs? He must have the strongest shoulders.
Miike Snow was the penultimate performer of the evening on the Mr. J. stage. The crowd had started to build significantly and for good reason. With LED lit up vests, this Swedish indie/pop band had lead singer Christian Karlsson placed in the middle of the stage, practically on the ground on his piano, belting out their self titled EP released in 2009. With the melodic riffs and melodies, the passionate fans and those-waiting-for-Phoenix alike were treated to mesmerising renditions of Burial, Sylvia, Plastic Jungle and of course Animal.
The choice between Phoenix or Faithless was always going to be a tricky decision for a lot of punters. I chose Phoenix and was really glad I did. These French rockers opened up with Lisztomania, throwing the crowd into a mass frenzy, followed up by Lasso. The energy from their first two tracks didn’t translate as well with the rest of their set heading into slower BPM territory, and was quite reminiscent of their set last time they came to Perth – playing Girlfriend, Armistice and a 10-minute version of Love Like a Sunset.
As Phoenix do so well though, they finished very strong with Thomas Mars jumping off the stage and climbing up to the side of the wall, mic in hand, to finish Rome, and then crowd surfing for the final track 1901. Hysteria ensued, culminating in Mars bewilderingly staring out into the crowd, assumingly in shock with the response these boys always get from the Australian crowd…and then in true rock style, his last move of the Good Vibrations tour 2011 was smashing his microphone repeatedly into the foldback speaker, and throwing it into the crowd.
Albeit a bad day financially perhaps for the promoters, it was one of the best Good Vibrations I’ve ever been to, and in my top five Australian festivals. Whether it was lack of people or just a solid line-up to finish the day, this reviewer went home very impressed.