Festival Review: Groovin The Moo - University of Canberra (28.04.13)

As a Brisbane girl it’s an exciting experience to make a special trip out of my city and state for a festival. And with the line up at this years Groovin' the Moo, I wasn’t going to miss it for the world, even if it meant two days of 4am wake up calls.

To open the festival at the University of Canberra on the Triple J main stage was Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens. The band have a good little thing going on, even if they still are slightly unpolished. Julia’s vocals are reminiscent of Emma Louise but with a little more rasp. I did chuckle a little when they mentioned that they were going to play their most “electro” tune as it was definitely not electro. Folk-pop would be a more appropriate description and even that is a bit too pop and not enough folk. To open a Regional festival in their home “town” is such an amazing kick start to their journey.

Next up was Elisha Bones who played on the Channel V main stage. These guys were kinda cool, with their bass heavy indie rock. However, they were a little generic for my liking, and I would have liked to have seen something that really made me go 'wow'. In saying that, the last song of the set was the only song in which there was a taste of this.

Safia were up next with their electro tunes, and they were by far the most impressive local act of the tour. Frontman Ben Wooler has such an intense direction and focus to his voice, with a nice vibrato that really suited the music they were producing. They put on a fun, high-energy show with intricate and smart hook lines that got us bobbing along. Their tune “Space Invaders” was really rad.

I can’t even remember the last time I saw Last Dinosaurs live. But I do believe it had been some time, and to tell you the truth, I was a little disappointed with their set. Don’t get me wrong, they're a fantastic band, however at festivals you have to bring your “A” game, and the set they played just didn’t feel like that. They have so many insane dance numbers they just didn’t play. Their mash up of “Lady” by Modjo and Sophie Ellis Bextor's “Groovejet (If this Ain’t Love)” was awesome, but old. They premiered the mash up over a year ago at their album launch. Maybe even before. Usually I am all praise for this band. Today they felt tired.

My first visit to the Moolin Rouge stage was for the Hungry Kids of Hungary. Having only seen them in support of their latest album a week previous, it was really interesting to see them at their peak, but in a completely different context. They had lost all the “slow” numbers from their set and replaced them with rad on stage jamming, a whole lot more energy and a brilliant yet simple projection presentation. They played all their of their usual’s including “Scattered Diamonds” and “Wristwatch” and their latest “Twin Cities” and “Litter and Sand”. Today, Kane was on fire with the Tambourine. He was definitely in charge of crowd participation, and oh my, did they respond. I just chuckle at how often he used the instrument to instigate and initiate the crowd.

After some chow, I witnessed the bliss that was Matt and Kim. They are such eccentric performers, especially Kim. She was all over that drum kit and standing on the bass drum like it was a sturdy chair. They covered Alice DJ’s “Do You Think You’re Better Off Alone” and you could hear the whole crowd singing along from halfway back the paddock. There was a moment in the set where Kim decided it was a good idea to walk out into the crowd on peoples’ hands. It was quite a sight to see someone standing on top of the people grooving along to what Matt was producing. He is such an incredible singer as well. Kim should stick with the drums. They then gave out uninflated balloons for the crowd to blow up, and then in the next song they got everyone to raise them above their heads and let go. There were balloons going everywhere. And it looked really cool from a distance.

Let me interrupt this review with some BREAKING NEWS! There has been an outbreak of onesies at Groovin the Moo Canberra! No really, there were so many people wearing onesies, including (but not limited to) giraffes, lions, elephants, Pikachus, Winnie the Poohs, Angry Birds, superheroes, flying unicorns, and there was even proper pyjama onesies. Seriously… I didn’t quite understand.

The next act I caught were Alpine. I love this band to death, and for a first live show experience, it was incredible! The two frontwomen, Phoebe Baker and Lou James work so well together that their vocals almost seem to meld into one sometimes. This is a hard thing to achieve from two very different frontwomen. Also, those girls are crazy! There was nothing that was to over the top in terms of performance. They were all over the stage and looked as though they were having a merry ol’ time. Because of this if brought the crowd into the palm of their hands. A really cool set.

Regurgitator always get me pondering. They break all the rules when it comes to genre conventions. One minute they are electro-pop the next minute- hardcore rock, and the next hip-hop. And I love every part of their sound, which is even more bizarre. They have a massive catalogue of releases, and I was so stoked to hear some of my personal favourites including “Polyester Girl”, “Fat Cop” and they closed with “! (The Song Formerly Known As)” such a well rounded set. today they were dressed in pure white and stood out like light bulbs against the black stage in the blazing sun. Such a rad set.

I can’t believe that They Might Be Giants are in Australia. I remember listening to “Doctor Work” when I was a kid! They are a genuinely funny band but had a nice balance between silly songs including “The Guitar (The Lion Sleeps Tonight)” and more serious songs. I cannot believe how much I enjoyed their set. They played a lot of music from their latest record but delved back into their back catalogue as well, which was a good thing. And when I realised the introduction to the next song they were going to play was actually going to be “Doctor Worm” I literally started giggling like a small child. It was a little embarrassing.

Tame Impala were up next and I have to say even though the sun had not completely set, the production behind the set was the best of the day. Imagine Windows Media display in the good ol’ days. That’s what it was like, but on a whole new level. Musically their set was flawless, and so darn enjoyable! Frontman Kevin Parker has such a special voice that is so pure. I swear every voice in the mosh was singing along to “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” and they are the moments you long for at festivals. So amazing.

I’ve never been really into Tegan and Sara but tonight’s set really changed my mind on that matter. I loved everything that they were doing. Especially “I Was A Fool” off their latest release Heartthrob. Their presentation was so incredibly good and I’m pretty sure I have a girl crush on both of them. Note to self: buy entire discography.

The Kooks presented the premature climax to the evening with their psychedelic tunes for which I was humbled to be in the 5th row. It was such a surreal experience. They had set up the stage so that frontman Luke Pritchard could jump up on a half stage that was raised along the entire width of the stage. To tell you the truth, there are no words that can describe the epic-ness of this set.

To close the main stages were The Temper Trap. They opened with “Love lost” which set the tone for the entire set. Full of high energy tunes and quite a stunning light show it may not have been my choice of acts to close the festival, coming off the back of the Kooks for example, but they do know how to put on a good show.

What makes Groovin the Moo such a special festival is that during the day it is hot as, I know I for one have a wicked tan, and at night, I was FREEZING! I mean, properly cold. Well at least coming from a Brisbaneite. It was such a spectacular day with too many highlights to recite. The food was delish, the drinks were refreshing, the coat check was well worth it, although highly disorganised and the music? Well I think I’ve said more than enough on that. Well done Canberra. Well done.