FALLS FESTIVAL | DAY 4
It was time for the annual Falls Music and Arts festival to come to a close, and thankfully for 2017 to come to an end as well. Lorne promised a stacked lineup and the perfect way to send the year out with Run the Jewels bringing in 2018.
Up at the Grand Theatre, Hatchie kicked things off with her delightful indie pop. A live band featured more than a few familiar faces, but it was Hatchie’s own vocals that charmed the socks off those who made the early trek up the hill. It was a delightful way to ease into the day, even if a little early for those who’d gone hard the night before (me).
Just a few hours on, many of the faces we saw at Hatchie were back on stage, with Hatchie and Charles Sale joining The Creases for an expanded lineup. Their set made use of a bigger band to add flesh to material off their solid debut Tremolow. The performance was fun and encouraged movement from what turned out to be one of the larger crowds in the tent for the day. It turns out that a big hill between the Valley Stage and Grand Theatre put off many casual fans, but less so for The Creases. Is It Love proved to be a high point of the set thanks to the familiarity of lyrics to those present.
Down in the Valley Alex Lahey was performing in her best form. The hill was packed full of punters swept away in her quirky pop rock stylings, where at times it was hard to hear Lahey over the collective voices of the audience.
Flint Eastwood may have been a small figure on stage, but her voice and actions were both larger than life. Forcing interaction from those in the crowd by pointing out anyone who was standing still she worked through both her EPs in fantastic glory. Ending on Queen it was hard not to find your cheeks sore from grinning thanks to her bubbly energy and high energy material. Both band mates stuck to the sides, but knew exactly when to get involved, creating a nicely balanced experience on stage.
Portions of Ecca Vandal‘s setlist have been floating around for more than a few years now, but with the release of her debut album, there’s been newfound interest in these timeless tracks. She’s worked her way up the ladder slowly, and for the few that made their way up the hill there was plenty to be impressed by with a stage bristling with ferocity and punk attitude.
Whether or not you knew her work, Vandal was a captivating performer and her band totally committed. The show was near flawless and an indication of the gems that can be found in the Australian music scene if you take a look around.
Everything Everything struggled with sound levels on stage, but set off with style in matching outfits on the Valley stage. It was a strong return for the band and touched off each of their releases. Brother and sister powerhouse duo Angus & Julia Stone were ethereal as always, though more than a few audience members were sad they didn’t pull out Big Jet Plane. The production was excellent but the Native American style totem, however, inspired some controversy. As always, Angus & Julia Stone had beautiful vocal work, and touched on their solo projects as Polish Club whipped up a storm at their surprise set in the Grand Theatre, but neglected to include much to engage those who weren’t already familiar with the pair.
Riding on the back of their cult like following, The Smith Street Band drew thousands to the hill, with Will Wagner celebrating playing on the same night as Run the Jewels, a fact he proudly exclaimed mid set. Death to the Lads and and Young Drunk stole the show in what was a remarkable feat. It would have been hard to imagine a crowd like this for the band earlier in the year, but here they were truly dominating the amphitheater.
Many thought that Glass Animals should have been the ones to count in the new year at Lorne, and it’s obvious why With their charismatic actions on stage, quirky but ever engaging material, and high caliber show it would have been an impressive way to end the year. The set list was very similar to their last tour in early 2017, and each song melded in to the next smoothly. It was a testimony to the preparation and experience of the band in how well they could play. From Gooey to Pork Soda it was non-stop jams, and the fans were loving it.
Run the Jewels put on a phenomenal set with both Killer Mike and El-P at the top of their game. The set was fun, the bass earth shattering and people got involved, but it lacked the power that makes the duo so wonderful on record simply because the crowd didn’t quite know the words. The pair made specific statements to look after those around them, as well as keep their hands off women in the crowd which was a refreshing, but sadly necessary piece of commentary. Bringing the New Year with champagne and their loved ones on stage was beautifully lowkey for the hip hop lords.
Taking the final ‘live’ slot for the night was Vince Staples whose Big Fish Theory merch could be seen across the festival all weekend. With nothing but a backing track and a massive orange screenon the cavernous stage, Staples prowled, strutted, and simply imposed his presence on those in the crowd. it was a phenomenal act that existed only to impress. From him, Anna Lunoe closed the main stage as Ninajirachi and Heaps Gay DJs kept things ticking along up at the Grand Ampitheatre.
Another Falls may have been completed, and more than a few hangovers left over, but it was one of the best ways to enter 2018. We just have to wait another year we can do it all again.
Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast