As much as I love live music, I find it difficult to make peace with Queensland’s searing summer heat and to resign myself to a sweaty and sunburnt fate at music festivals. But I did appreciate the various measures Falls went to in order to keep the crowds cool. There was a misting tunnel and dozens of small backyard pools. Although I wouldn’t trust that pool water past day one, it was the thought that counted.
Overall I think Falls 2015/16 was an impressive amalgamation of a very decent line up, a nice balance of arts and cultural activities and lots ways to stay cool, full and hydrated. There was also a human sized foosball table thrown in for good measure. Although I was feeling hesitant about braving yet another summer festival, the Falls team really put on a good show and should be congratulated.
...The brutal and audacious theatrical performances FriendlyFire put on at their shows are experiences not to be missed if you can help it. Axel never fails to capture his audience with the highly intense energy he thrusts upon violently emotional lyrics, to which even a devil may cry. What's also really cool about FriendlyFire shows like this one, is that Dustin utilises wireless technology between his guitar and amp rig, so he can occasionally step down from the stage area along with Axel on vocals, and get more closely involved with the fans during a set. Recently, Aurora has also started going wireless between her bass guitar and amp rig as well. It’s always a good thing to have musicians and their fans connecting on the same level like that, and just makes the experience that much more special for everybody who came.
...The infamous Fortitude Valley, the sticky but loveable heart of Brisbane City's entertainment precinct. Weary travellers take refuge inside the air-conditioned confines of the Black Bear Lodge for a night of pure FIRE!!! And by fire we mean fat beats and dope rhymes...
Last up for the night is Bedlam Records rising star Gallu$, whose live show has been gaining a bit of rep for crazy energy and antics both on and off the stage... Decorated with warpaint, he emerges to a full house and quickly gets the place going crazy.
To peak at the end of the night was RL Grime, who controlled one of the largest crowds I had ever seen, at every turn they were in the palm of his hand. Everyone was frothing at the mouth for this performance, you could tell it was what the majority had been waiting for all day. With the use of fire and CO2 canons the performance was a stand-out and only added to the amazing stage presence he had. Throughout the set everyone was on their feet and going berserk for the heavy hitting bass that was churned out, by far a stand-out for the night and an amazing way to start the year.
Like so many post-punk outfits, I think Viet Cong are underrated as musicians. Their timing and intricacy is so impressive... The group close their set with an extended instrumental breakdown whilst synth and reverb echo through the room. A solitary strobe light flashes which further hypes the already manic crowd. Not once in this 10 minute long instrumental did one musician fall out of time or strike a wrong chord.
As long as scientists and I can exist in the same spaces with at least some nominal sense of equal worth and value despite divergent trajectories of dreaming and purpose, then I think there’s hope for us yet... 2high really had a lot to offer without being too pushy, pedantic or pretentious; I’m definitely looking forward to it next year and recommend it to you too.
For some of the classics, and for many of the songs from “Brace the Wave” that Barlow performed, he switched between acoustic guitar and analogue synth, the sound of which was reminiscent of some Boards of Canada tracks (which, in turn, remind the listener of certain instrumental electronic records produced in Europe in the 1970s). Between passages of Barlow’s acoustic guitar and voice, those plaintive, monophonic analogue synth lines reverberating through venue’s interior made for quite a poignant musical experience.
From the first note the crowd was a sea of flailing limbs, prompting many to be removed by security. Crowd interaction was left to little more than thanking the energetic crowd for their enthusiasm and support. This ensured that the energy was maintained as the band crafted through a carefully prepared set list of songs from Node and Singularity... In a dark overcrowded club, Dispossession was a perfect homage to their roots. It brought together an electrifying set and left the crowd wanting more, much more.
There’s a lot to pay attention to in Le1f’s stuff, both lyrically and musically, so it was nice to have it delivered with real clarity. Le1f’s rap prowess was on display, his skills are top echelon and that was never in doubt, but, with a guy who’s all about energy, there was a feeling that his fire was burning a little low. Which probably explains why the set only went for a half-hour.
the crowd was not wasting any time and it wasn’t long until there was a sound mosh with beers flying around people crowd surfing. Although these guys are not as debaucherous and well, as insane as The Pinheads, they still have no problem putting on an amazing show, with music that floats between the lines of surf-rock and punk. Throughout their set they never showed signs of being tired, they never looked bored and they never denied the crowd the energy that their live shows have become famous for...
Joanna seamlessly glided from full size concert harp (which she has been playing since age 7) to keyboard and piano. She played a fair selection from the new Divers album (which sounds great on vinyl), some old favourites and a few rare tracks. Peach, Plum, Pear was pitch perfect but the emotional treatment of her song Monkey and Bear was a highlight of the performance. Joanna looked about 20 years old and was brimming with confidence... The whole house stood up and demanded more.
Harts himself was totally mesmerising to watch play and he used the stage with so much grace during performances, moving between synth and two microphones, the whole stage became his and it lent itself well to the moveable music. While some of the actions may have been cliché, they still landed, and worked in songs. His playing was totally on point, from funky riff to riff the groove stayed strong, tight and danceable. Solo breaks are predicted when going to see a guitarist/songwriter only backed up by a drummer, but these solos seemed to have so much body behind them, with Harts’ loops still re-enforcing riffs in the background, everything still had so much body, everything was enticing to the audience, if they weren’t screaming, they were dancing.
In another life Maqueen could have been a slick barber shop star with the control he exercises over his croon. His delivery is clean and bang-on every note, even in the powerful falsetto on Don’t Cry. Prom night garage ballad You is a definite highlight, the grainy singalong is perfect for a night of romantic slow dancing. Maybe not for this crowd though, it only takes a few more songs before the pit opens up during Cucaracha, the band’s debut single from 2011.