Festival Review: Groovin' the Moo - Maitland Showgrounds (27.04.13)

The first Groovin’ the Moo of the year was given the most perfect day for a festival. Big blue skies, a bright shining sun, and not a cloud in sight met Groovers who showed up to the Maitland Showground on Saturday April 27th. The sold out Maitland leg of the festival preceded the Canberra show on Sunday, a big weekend for artist and festival organizers alike.

The music kicked off early with bands such as Last Dinosaurs, Goldsmith and Hungry Kids of Hungary at the top of the list, but still managed to draw decent crowds.

The main two-stage setup meant there was continuous music in the main festival section, with the alternative of the Moolin Rouge tent. Matt & Kim had everyone dancing like psychos in the mosh, and were themselves going bat shit crazy up on stage. The show included balloons, and glitter, and never-ending booty shaking from both the Brooklyn duo themselves and their fans in the crowd below. Seth Sentry followed the duo and managed to get the crowd screaming almost each lyric, while at the same time jokingly telling them not to sing, “Because it’s my fucking song.”

Alpine would have to be a highlight of the festival, with the Melbourne band rocking it throughout the set despite temporary technical glitches. The girls danced around like crazy while maintaining their beautiful vocals that weave so perfectly around each other. They played all the goodies from their first full-length album A is for Alpine, including ‘Gasoline’, ‘Hands’ and ‘Lovers 1’.

Frightened Rabbit had all the girls won over with lead singer Scott Hutchison’s speaking voice, his dreamy Scottish sending squeals around the place. His singing voice was then another level on top of that entirely, and would have had everyone swooning, with the rest of the band playing perfectly despite the heat they are so unused to.

After sets from Regurgitator and They Might Be Giants, the highly anticipated set from Tame Impala began, and for the most part they didn’t disappoint. Despite Kevin Parker all but losing his voice, the sound of the whole band ensemble was just amazing. The first few songs went smoothly, but before long Kevin’s voice just couldn’t cope, and he enlisted in the audience’s help for ‘Feels Like We Only Go Backwards’. He did an admirable job, it was still such an amazing gig, probably one that should have been the festival closer.

Over in the Moolin Rouge tent, artists such as Pez, DJ Alison Wonderland and Midnight Juggernauts were pulling a full tent’s worth of crowd, but no one could compete with the crowd that Flume pulled, with almost all of the crowd at one of the main stages flocking to the tent. Wild screams from men and women alike sounded as he popped on stage. It’s not often you come across any sort of artist that can get the crowd completely in sync in the same moment of time, and Flume seems to manage just that. As well as his hits ‘Holdin On’ and ‘Sleepless’ Flume also did his cover of Major Lazer’s ‘Get Free’, which has people in a whole other frenzy all over again in ecstasy.

The Kooks began outside the tent on the main stages and gave quite a show, another highlight of the festival that perhaps should have been the closing act. The Temper Trap closed the night on the Triple J/Channel [V] stage, with Example closing a little later in the Moolin Rouge tent, both probably not the strongest choices to finish with.

What’s striking about a regional festival like Groovin’ the Moo is how dedicated people can get at these events, braving the pounding sun and sweating up a storm in the middle of a mosh pit, then at the opposite end of the day, shivering their way through the night, attempting to get warm through dance in the fairly extreme weather conditions. The passion of fans for these artists and the festival, and the ability of the artists to so completely affect their fans through music is what makes this musical festival in particular so special.