This is a gift

I must be undermining my own credibility as a balanced person by continually referring to everything as “the best (insert food/event/concept here) ever” so I will instead say that Laneway was among the more spectacular events of my festival-going career. Things got off to a highly inauspicious start when I was refused entry with my camera. Yeah, cos a sloppy sunburned girl toting an entry-level SLR is so clearly going to commercially undercut a sold-out music festival. Finding somewhere to stash said camera delayed my start to the day but I will now guide you through my Laneway experience via YouTube, as there will be no photos 😦

Hockey set the tone for the day well, pigeons flying overhead as the band played beneath a clock tower and a palm tree. “Too Fake” is their cracking big song, with a little electro riff that seems stolen from Flight of the Conchords, and that strutting young-Rod-Stewart chorus:

Philadelphia Grand Jury did their usual crazy-snake-oil-preacherman-led dirty swaggering rock, with their usual aplomb. The set was blisteringly short and they didn’t play this fantastic cover but it’s a treat in itself:

The XX were the first real WOW moment of the day, their ethereal icy electro rock (a kind of boy/girl vocalled love child of Interpol and the Metric) apparently designed to induce festival chills:

From there it was all win. Radioclit were just supposed to be a stop on the way to Echo and the Bunnymen, but pulled out a set you just couldn’t walk away from. When they remixed The XX’s remix of Florence & The Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love”, pop ate itself eating itself. No idea how to describe the abandoned tropical mash-up of house, hip hop and pop – it veered from salsa to Carribbean via the Lion King soundtrack and, ummm…. Vengaboys. Like blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reality TV contestants before me, I danced my arse off.

The headline slot presented a difficult choice. The gorgeous Florence & The Machine, who we knew from previously in the week would be incredible. The latino-meets-white-boy dance funk of NASA. And the reputably phenomenal Eddy Current Suppression Ring. We decided to start with NASA but their soundcheck was taking forever so we headed back to Eddy. Wise move. These guys are electric live, their Iggy-stomping-on-the-blues rawk led by a possibly insane frontman. He climbed the speaker stack, jumped onto the nearby roof of the art college and continued singing while racing up and down the awning. He leaped from the top of the speaker stack, dived into the crowd, still singing while held aloft by a munted, adoring mosh pit. Loose and harsh and unignorably brilliant.

Revved up by that set, we weren’t quite ready for home-time and stopped by to see if Florence was still going. She was. Right in the middle of “Dog Days are Over”. In floaty blue silk she was a shiny bloodnut butterfly, wooing the crowd. The song of the day, “You’ve Got the Love”, followed by “Rabbit Heart” closed a classic headline set. And her last words rang out into the satisfied night, this is a gift.

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