Pictured: Bloc Party
Or should it be called Splendour in the Mud? Well, everyone on Twitter seems to think so, with the #splendourinthemud hash tag proving quite popular indeed. For those who are attending the festival, it would be hard to argue to sentiment. With the brief but powerful downpour on Day 1, the Belongil site is looking worse for wear, with festival organisers going so far as shutting down the car park in fear of more cars getting bogged in. For many who are driving in for the day, this made for a more difficult entry and exit to the festival than they would have otherwise liked, though the festival clearly had a contingency plan, and it seemed to work reasonably well for most.
Though the site was muddy, the sky remained clear all day, beaming sun onto punters as they slowly arrived throughout the day. The first act the crowds seemed to rush out for were Brisbane's Last Dinosaurs, whose album In a Million Years an consequential sold out tour have seen their popularity rise continually throughout the year, easily seen as reaching fever pitch today. Sydney's Jinja Safari also saw the fruits of their labours, with a huge mid afternoon crowd coming to see the band play a mix of old and new tracks, with plenty of confetti and beach balls to add to the overall atmosphere, in what was their third consecutive Splendour appearance.
Shihad made a return to the festival in spectacular fashion, bringing an impressive light show along with them and garnering much praise from the crowd. Band of Skulls, who last played Splendour in 2010, returned to play to a bigger crowd who knew just about every song, including "Hollywood Bowl", "Cold Fame", "Devil Takes Care of His Own", "Light of the Morning" and more, ending with the popular "Death by Diamonds and Pearls". Mudhoney, a band who helped form the Seattle Grunge movement in the late 80s, which later gave birth to Nirvana, kept the rock going after the sun set, with a loud, highly energetic set that showed off a band with no intention of slowing down.
With the festival offering more than just music, the Splendour Forum was the place to be as Wil Anderson returned for his annual "Wil does Parky" event, where the Aussie comedian interviews a number of guests - today this included independent MP Rob Oakeshott and the one and only Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins, who tackled a wide range of subjects including changes to the music industry, wrestling (showcasing a Nazi wrestler's move "The Claw" from the 70s - "When I listened to Siamese Dream all those years ago I never imagined I'd one day be on my knees in front of you") and The Simpsons (Wil mentioning how his favourite Simpsons quote of all time is "Billy Corgan, Smashing Pumpkins, Homer Simpson, Smiling Politely", Billy saying how much he loved working on the episode, and how it remains one of his band's most talked about moments).
He went on to talk about being in a band, and how being able to play on stage is what made it all worth it: "...there's so much bullshit about being in a band... pure moments while you're performing on stage... that's what makes it all worth it. The other stuff are like trophies on a mantelpiece... what truly makes you happy is that exchange (between the musician and your audience)." He went on to call festivals specifically a "celebration of a communal moment... because we all may not be here next year." He also compared new Smashing Pumpkins to old Smashing Pumpkins, saying the original incarnation "were there to kick your heads in", and now they're not so violent any more.
He was also unapologetic in his criticism of most modern musicians, saying how there are "true artists and then there are the cookie cutters, trying to make that same single over and over again... some bands stand out there like they're the best bands in the world, but they're just pretending... (so much of it) is nothing better than American Idol.". He went on to pay tribute to his late friend from The Frogs, Dennis Flemion: "The Frogs were what Indie Music is truly all about... they don't get played on the radio but they inspire people all the same... they inspired people like myself and Kurt Cobain..."
No doubt the full transcript is already online somewhere. All in all, an entertaining and informative discussion.
Though it seemed like the whole festival rushed off to see Lana Del Rey, most didn't hang around, citing an unimpressive performance and a slightly painful cover of "Heart Shaped Box" as the reason for their departure. Dirty Three followed Lana on the GW McLennan stage to close things up, while 360 and Hilltop Hoods gave Aussie Hip Hop fans something to celebrate at the Mix Up Tent. On the mainstage, Miike Snow delivered a set which impressed the crowd, having them dancing from start to finish, many commenting on the impressive light show, while Splendour veterans Bloc Party returned to close things up and show off new tracks like "Octopus" off their forthcoming album Four, while playing old favourites such as "Banquet", "Helicopter", "This Modern Love", "Flux", "One More Chance", "Mercury", "Hunting for Witches", "The Prayer" and more.
As we write this, people continue to party the night away at one of the many dance clubs on site. Stay tuned to the AU review for the full review, photos and more! Tomorrow will see Electric Guest, Metric, Fun., The Kooks, The Smashing Pumpkins and more close out the three day weekend of mud and music...