After popping my festival cherry at the start of this year with Future Music Festival, I was very excited to head along to something a little bit more up by alley – Groovin’ The Moo.
I arrived in time to catch The Jezabels – fresh off an international tour – and after hearing a lot of hype about the band I was not disappointed by their live set. The general consensus from The Jezabels dedicated fan-base seemed to be that the band have only improved in their live show since departing Australia with Hayley Mary’s vocals sounding record studio perfect throughout their set. While the majority of the crowd were content to stand and watch, there were a few happy punters who kept their festival dancing high, especially during tracks such as "Mace Spray". The band also kept the crowd excited, playing a new song from their forthcoming album – and if that song was anything to go by, you don’t want to miss out on that.
I resided to the hill to watch next act Darwin Deez – an act that I wasn’t all that familiar with. What I did witness however was enough to make me sit up and notice. Darwin Deez, in terms of entertainment, was probably one of the highlights of the day. While the crowd was sparse, they soon attracted attention through their energetic set and choreographed dance moves.
Washington was up next and after a hectic year of touring and festival slots on the back of her ARIA award winning album I Believe You Liar you would cut her some slack if she were to come across as simply exhausted. This wasn’t the case however, as she belted out hit songs, pitch perfect with a particular highlight being "Sunday Best".
As the crowds started to get bigger, the day was only just beginning with a number of great bands still to come. After milling around, going between the main stage and the Moolin Rogue, the crowd seemed more intent on drinking and swinging their free condoms around rather than taking in much from acts such as House of Pain, whose show was entertaining but clearly not enough to attract great attention.
The temperature was starting to drop, but music-wise things were starting to heat up again with Architecture in Helsinki having the crowd in fits of excitement from the get-go. Whether it was the fact that everyone was feeling pleasantly tipsy, or the band had a sudden rush of popularity, huge smiles were evident as the band played, and the loudest cheers and sing-a-longs of the day were starting to make an appearance.
Packed in the Moolin Rogue tent waiting in eager anticipation for Art Vs Science, a band I had failed to see on numerous occasions, it seemed like the majority of over 18s had the same idea. It was worth putting up with the crazy crowd surfing kids and near death from being trampled to catch the band live. Pumping out hit after hit, Art Vs Science's set was one of my favourites of the day. Highlights included "Flippers", "Magic Fountain", "Hollywood" and of course closing song and ultimate crowd pleaser "Parlez-Vous Francais?" with laser lights and smoke machines only adding to the vibe.
After Art Vs Science everyone had the same idea of trying to evacuate the Moolin Rogue tent and migrate to the main stage for Birds of Tokyo.
Opening on "Desperate" and throwing in crowd favourites "Plans" and "Wild At Heart", Birds of Tokyo played a solid set list, instrumentally and vocally being in perfect control. Being more of a Karnivool fan myself, I still enjoyed the set from the band, but would have loved to hear a few more of their older songs ("Wayside" anyone?)
The moment I had been waiting for all day was finally upon me and man was it oh so worth battling the freezing Canberra temperatures to catch The Wombats live. Opening on "Our Perfect Disease", also the opener for their new album This Modern Glitch, the band was simply amazing from the get-go and didn’t tire at all during their set, belting out hit song after hit song. The Wombats played an excellent setlist, with a nice mix of their old and new material. Highlights included "Jump Into The Fog", "Moving To New York", "Anti-D" and of course crowd favourites "Kill The Director", "Tokyo (Vampires and Wolves)" before closing with "Let’s Dance to Joy Division". The Wombats were probably the highlight of the night, with patrons once again picking up their energy and moshing like crazy (though whether it was with pure joy or to try and regain feeling in their toes in the freezing cold is unknown). The absolute screams of delight, especially when the boys played "Tokyo" just goes to show how much Australia loves The Wombats.
Bliss n Eso have never done much for me, and if Cut Copy weren’t on after them I wouldn’t have bothered sticking around. After hearing lyrics from songs such as "Family Affair" (“My grandma told me never ever never ever take no shit and that probably why my grandpa hides") I tuned out completely and became more fascinated with the weird blue colour my fingers were turning. If there is anything to be said for holding a festival in Canberra – make it in the summer.
Cut Copy ended a long but fulfilling day. They played well but unfortunately for them they were probably suited to an earlier time-slot to get the crowds full appreciation. However, songs "Need You Now" and "Hearts on Fire" still proved the bands exceptional skill and stage presence.
When it comes to regional music festivals Groovin The Moo is the prime example of one freakin’ fantastic day. The line-up was simply amazing, the set-out of the stages and band-sets were close to perfect (there weren’t really any bands that I wanted to see that clashed or caused me any moments of indecision), the crowd and general atmosphere was pumping and in basic terms it was a great celebration of local and international live music.
See you next year GTM!