GROOVIN’ THE MOO
Saturday, April 26th
It was throw back to ’08 in Maitland on Saturday as thousands of punters showed up in gumboots for a very muddy Groovin’ the Moo 2014. Heavy falls on ANZAC Day meant that as gates opened on GTM2014, early arrivers were greeted with a mud bath. But the festival gods were merciful and ultimately gave us a sunny day and one hell of a Moo.
Local act, the Gooch Palms, put in a solid performance on the Channel V Stage early on in the day, with a short and sweet set of fast and loose low-fi punk tracks with favourites like ‘We Get By’ and ‘Novo’s’ getting a run. For a band that has been playing to “drunk old men” in seedy venues across the country for the last six months, some of the duos’ more punk rock antics were definitely wasted on the young crowd. Leroy Macqueen bearing his G-string and spitting on himself during a later guitar solo drew nothing but awkward confusion from a crowd with an average age of 16, but at least their BYO confetti cannons went down a treat with the kids.
LA electro golden boy, Robert DeLong was a shock standout of the day – if not for his high-energy performance than for his epic setup. Think mapped Logitech joystick, Wii remote and gamepad, custom midi controllers, GoPro cameras, on top of a standard drum kit. As someone who had never seen him perform live, DeLong was like a fucking magician!
As the sun went down, Melbourne-troupe Architecture in Helsinki disappointed this long-time fan. They may have been wearing rainbows but, I’ve got to say, their musical efforts were pretty lack-lustre in Maitland. Apart from breakthrough moments of fun during ‘Hold Music’ and ‘Debbie’ – both off 2007’s massively successful Places Like This album – their performance seemed flat. I’m not sure if the sound guys weren’t on their side but a few revellers around me even commented that it seemed “quiet” and with six people on stage, that’s a bit of a worry.
Luckily, soon after, New Zealanders, The Naked and Famous and Sydneysiders, the Jezabels delivered some of night’s more uplifting moments, with the soaring lady vocals of ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Hurt Me’ filling the showground until it felt fit to burst. All this before UK grime legend, Dizzee Rascal dirtied up the joint with an hour long set packed with hits. ‘Fix Up’, ‘Look Sharp’, ‘Dance Wiv Me’, ‘Holiday’ and ‘Baseline Junkie’ all featured before the inevitable massiveness that was ‘Bonkers’.
As for the headliners, I both hate and love the Groovin’ the Moo organisers for leaving me genuinely torn between the two potential capstones to my night. On one hand, The Presets, riding high on a killer single in ‘Goodbye Future’ with one of the most impressive back catalogues in Australian electro-pop and new live lightshow to boot. On the other, the breakout EDM duo of 2013, UK’s Disclosure. But when it’s international versus domestic, international has got to win out almost every time. After watching the first few songs of Kim and Julian’s set, in which they were sounding better than ever, I, along with many others, headed to the Moolin Rouge tent for a dose of Guy and Howard. With punters packed in like proverbial sardines and more spilling out the side of the tent the pair stepped up to their MacBooks and floored everybody. All the tuuunes from their debut, Settle, synched with hypnotic visuals that won over even the Disclosure hater I found myself next to. It seems these boys can do no wrong at the moment.
All in all, a top day with top bands, even if there were a few muddy high tops. Bring on 2015. Groovin’ is getting better every year!
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