Groovin’ the Moo… more like losing the shoe!
That was the case at least during Parkway Drive’s blitzkrieg afternoon set. Short fast and sweet I saw more people walking around with bare feet in the aftermath than at a regional bush doof.
Maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, though I am a fan of extravagant similes. Their tent bound set at the Moolin Rouge stage saw songs such as Dark Days, Wild Eyes and Idols and Anchors ripped through with paramount style. I’ve seen Parkway Drive perform nigh seven times now, and the boys are at the top of their game. Blistering breakdowns and crushing verses saw hardy circle pits and the typical smattering of slam dancing hardcore kids having the time of their life, not to mention enough dust being kicked up to tear the throats out of any luck lacking asthma sufferers. Fortunately the medical tent was situated nearby.
Going back a number of hours saw me and countless other festival goers meandering happily towards the festival gates at Oakbank Racecourse. The sold out festival had endeavoured a social media storm the previous evening, with every man woman and their goat looking for a ticket to the first South Australian rendition of Australia’s largest regional music festival. I’d caught wind of offers of up to five hundred dollars for a single ticket!
A trendy affair, there was no shortage – if not an over abundance of bucket hats, tie dye shirts, top knot buns and waist bound flannelette shirts upon the festival goers of yester-today. The line was short and swift, as at the time of my arrival there was still an hour before the music started and an ANZAC day service between there and then. It was nice to check out the festival grounds before they reached breaking point later on in the day, and it was an honour to be in the audience for the ANZAC service – something the festival organisers could have left out that gave a very strong community feel.
Flamingo opened the musical proceedings on the main stage and delivered a mellow start to the day, breeding relaxed vibes and intrinsic dancing. I jetted away not long into their set to see Tkay Maidza, an amazing performer full of energy and life on stage, an element that spills over into the crowd increasing their enjoyment tenfold. Having not known much of Maidza’s material past the popular Brontosaurus I was expecting her other tunes to be of a similar club banger vein, and was more than pleasantly surprised to discover that Tkay is in fact more of a hip-hop R’n’B artist than anything else. Her ability to spit verses at the speed of light left my jaw on the floor, and reminded me of the UK’s own Slamboree. To anyone who doesn’t know of them this is a massive compliment.
I then stomped over to the main stage for the last few songs from Bad Dreems – a band fuelled by awesome Aussie rock sensibilities. Even though I had more fun at their kinda secret show the night before they played excellently. I think they suffered from an early time slot though.
Post set I watched Robert Delong perform on the adjacent stage. His was an absolutely mind blowing compilation of superb one-man-band slash artist wizardry combined with a wicked multimedia presentation. This man does everything from singing, looping beats, thrashing the drums, exciting the crowd and not to mention perfectly timing the use of a gaming controller to make music with the on screen visual representation of Mario eating a mushroom – Zing!
Not only was I blown away; I was already sure that it would be extremely difficult for any other act to impress me more. I was right; Robert’s performance is in my top three for the entire day.
I was able to catch the initial groovy rock riffs of Kingswood, easily one of the best Australian rock bands currently touring, but after three songs I moved into the tented Moolin Rouge stage to see Allday. Tom Gaynor gave what would theoretically be referred to as a flawless performance, he didn’t miss a single beat and he is more confident than I have ever seen him before. The crowd was wild and the tent was filled out, yet I felt a sense of mild disappointment, it seemed to me as if nothing extra is brought forth in his live performances from his recorded tracks. His music is great, it’s accessible, people love it, hell I love it, but objectively there isn’t anything groundbreaking about it. Especially when opposed with Tkay Maidza’s futuristic sound – an undeniable push of the envelope!
Later on I emerged sweat covered from Parkway Drive’s set, which I detailed before. I had planned upon seeing Violent Soho again, as they killed it at Big Day Out, but upon seeing half the festivals crowd shift from one side of the grounds to the other, I really didn’t feel up to the experience, and gave it a miss. There will be plenty more opportunities to see them, and from what I could hear, they played a very similar set to that of the BDO.
Architecture in Helsinki perpetrated what was the second of my top three favourite acts for the entire day. In the midst of their performance they even had me thinking that their genre is the moat fresh of all new music in today’s day and age.
To me it was breathtakingly individualised; their colourful image, their smattering of instruments and their involvement their art of performance – not to mention having the majority of the crowd dancing, jiving and grooving to their music were all contributing factors to their awesomeness.
I consistently did not want their set to end!
I was not entirely unhappy when it did eventually come to a close though as the final act featured in my top three – Karnvool, performed directly afterwards
Atmospheric, engaging and sonically masterful, Karnivool utterly blew me away. With all respect to bias I am more inclined to enjoy their style of music over electronic or traditional rock and roll, but do you know what? I don’t care!
Karnivool were hands down the best act at Groovin’ the Moo for two thousand and fourteen. Straying from atypical song writing, and leaning towards intrepid intricacies and mind numbing grooves there was not a single aspect of their set that let me down – from the deep and churning six string bass to the soaring vocals that lead the ensemble I was windswept from start to finish. Topped off with heart wrenching guitar harmonies and a precision orchestrated drummer whose spirit animal is a fifty six seater bus I literally cannot wait until I can see them again!
With the remainder of the evening being filled with similar sounding DJ’s like Peking Duck, Holy F**k and What So Not I am proud to say that Wave Racer was the premier DJ at Groovin’ the Moo. Though the latter artists were extremely fun, had scores of rabid fans in the crowd and have my complete respect as musicians, I simply found they had nothing to ensure they stood out from the rest. Not to say they sound exactly the same, as an EDM junkie would yell at me otherwise, but to a music fan who comes from an instrumental background I find Wave Racer has a far bigger appeal in an electronic landscape that is filled with not only a conglomerate scrum of same-old artists but scores and scores of mediocrity. Cultivating a sound that combines rainbows-and-sunshine synths with deep and pulsing base Wave Racer appropriated a set full of dancing, smiles and oh-so-good vibes!
Finally, rounding out the evening’s proceedings was Disclosure, an act that receives a monstrous amount of hype and acclaim. Assuredly they have worked extremely hard to get where they are as artists, and I usually remain humanistic when I write about music, but when a performance breeds disappointment it’s important to be objectively critical. Though fun and soothing I found Disclosure to be repetitive and even a little pretentious, standing static on stage and creating music that to me sounded simplistic and uninvolved. I respect being the chicken before anyone else lays the egg, as some would say “I could do that!”…yet the point of the matter is that they didn’t, Disclosure did, and they are wildly successful at what they do.
Even though I remained unimpressed I could clearly see the joy in many others and I have no negativity to give towards bringing joy to other people. Props to Disclosure in that respect!
All in all Adelaide’s first rendition of Groovin’ the Moo was a massive success, and I look forward to attending next year, perhaps even in multiple states. A sophisticated festival that provided something for people of all musical tastes took place at a great location in Adelaide on the 25th of April.
Fun was had by all
…even those who lost their shoe!