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FRONT ROW | SITG 2017 FINAL DAY

It hardly felt like  Sunday morning as the sun rose onto the last day of the 2017 Splendour in the Grass. A broken sleeping bag offered a rude awakening early in the morning as the long wait for live music began. But once it did, Splendour made sure it went out with a bang, even if it turned out to be early on.

The Murlocs had fans running down the Amphitheatre hill for a midday start and got things rolling with ease, but at the G.W. McLennen stage Good Boy were having the time of their lives. A half packed tent was a decent effort for early in the day, and you could see the joy on each band members face as they played. The set ended on their simplistic Poverty Line but it was the new material they teased that was the most fun. The Peep Tempel maintained the casual rock atmosphere back at the Amphitheatre but it was hard not to feel they would have been suited better to a tent, a situation that ended up applying to more than a few of the acts that day.

It was around ten past three when Willaris. K, two songs into his set and collaboration out of the way, asked if anyone wanted to hear some techno. The sun was up, the tent warm, but things were about to get a lot steamier. The set proceeded to turn into an almost filthy techno rave, turning the brightly lit tent into a real rave den. It was an unexpected move, hardly fitting the trends of splendour, but one that must be appreciated. It was amazingly done, and quite honestly one of the best for the whole event.  It was backed up by Moohki who despite whipping out a casual trumpet and additional member on stage, faced a much smaller reaction on the Tiny Dancer Stage.

Always the one to turn up the hype, Client Liaison were ready to be the biggest act of the night. That for the past few days two men in a cardboard ‘off-white limousine’ had roamed the festival created a nice reminder of their presence, and hearing the band call out the pair was a touch that showed their human side. The performance however, was larger than life in all regards. From two slabs of Fosters being thrown into the crowd while dancers waved giant inflatable tins up to synchronised dance moves, it was all show. It’s a good thing their music has the capacity to match the atmosphere around their show, but when Tina Arena arrived to take part in their collaboration Foreign Affair it became clear that this was to be the biggest set at this stage for the day.

If you weren’t a fan of the bands already, the final run of main stage acts could have disappointed. Schoolboy Q failed to show off much more than the fact that he can perform, but doesn’t know what a shoey is. He worked the stage well, and plenty knew the words, but it was collaborations with Kendrick Lamar that got the cheers. It was the biggest visual set up of the festival, with a second screen and specialised lights set up to create a 3D layering system around the band, but Sigur Ros faced an almost empty crowd at the Amphitheatre. It was a shame, because the 90 minute set was a seamless experience that featured few halts. Drummer and guitarists swapped, as the lead guitar was played with a cello bow. All backed by spectacular visuals, the Icelandic singing created an ethereal experience to witness.

Post Sigur Ros, one of the most intense transitions between sets known to man. A near 20 person team dismantled Sigur Ro’s set up, while wheeling out platform after platform stacked full of LCD Soundsystem’s equipment. The band’s return was imminent, and they even packed a disco ball. The two hour set pulled a bigger crowd than Sigur Ros, but clashing with King Gizzard and the Wizard Lizard and Bonobo did them no favours. They worked through all the classics, creating a timeless set. Watching James Murphy, an almost daggy father like figure at first, but he prowled the stage while singing, checking that each element was perfectly in place, and it was worth it, for from You Wanted a Hit through to Home and American Dream every song made up for the years of absence. A promise of a return visit earned a cheer, but the absence of the real party tracks Drunk Girls and North American Scum left a craving for more in the moment. It was the last moment of another amazing Splendour in the Grass, and a reminder of the bands we love, and those we likely will in years to come. Now it’s only three hundred and sixty or so days until we can do it all over again.

Ayden Measham-Pywell

Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast