AU ABROAD

Live Review: Falls Festival, Day Two - North Byron Parklands (31.12.14)

It’s five minutes to midnight, Flume’s remix of “Tennis Court” is spinning out from the Valley Stage, where Alison Wonderland ducks and jumps behind the decks. Confetti is falling, lit up gold by the fierce strobes, drifting and sticking to the 10,000 sweaty people that are crammed into the Valley. The music cuts for the countdown, and Day two of Falls ends as the New Year begins – with another explosion of confetti.

It’s a colossal end to a day that began languidly - earlier, Byron Bay outfit Tora closed off the Forest Stage early in the afternoon with a blissed out, chillwave heavy set. They pushed through “Calming Her”, and single “These Eyes” as the openers, the dense polyrhythms threading through the ringing guitars. The percussive “Sugar Snap” and closer “Overcome”, which both built to thick, rocky endings, were the strongest cuts of the set – which pulled a substantial crowd.

Cloud cover kept the sun at bay for most of the day, but the humidity was still punishing; shirts were optional, mistings were mandatory. DJ Woody christened the Valley Stage with ‘Hip Hop is 40’, a heady nostalgia trip through the back catalogues of Biggie Smalls, Tupac, Salt N Pepa, Outkast, Snoop Dogg, and Missy Elliot, among truckloads of others. Toronto three piece Badbadnotgood followed, changing it up from hip hop to jazz fusion - “Kaleidoscope” came with schizoid bass solos and rock breakdowns, and closer “CS60” saw drummer Alexander Sowinski lose his shirt to the rivers of sweat running down his face.

Whatever punters were expecting the next act to be – it clearly wasn’t Twerkshop. Dressed in striped playsuits, with Beyonce’s “Bootylicious” spinning behind them, three women led the bemused crowd through an introductory twerking course. Interspersed with twerking handstands, twerking on chairs, and twerking on just about everything else, it brought a nice slice of ridiculous to the sunset set.

Client Liaison strutted and squatted their way through their blitzkrieg set of 80’s synth pop, with front man Monte Morgan dressed sharply in a white suit, his mullet hair big as a lion’s mane. They burned through singles “Free of Fear” and “That’s Desire” with no pause – only stopping for Morgan to yell: “We are here to dignify your mood!”

Legendary hip hop trio Salt-N-Pepa may have lost some vocal clarity, but the show they brought was thunderous. The Valley was full to the brim when they slid into “Whatta Man”, decked out with sparkly knee-high boots and short white skirts. “Let’s Talk About Sex” was suitably sleazy, coming amid a run of remixes: Iggy Azalea, Beyonce, Tensnake, and later Guns & Roses and a slashing “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were all spun. By the time “Push It” rolled up at the end, the mosh pit was jumping, inflatable sharks and jellyfish bouncing over the crowd.

There was no break before Sydney producer Alison Wonderland emerged behind glowing decks, shrouded in huge plumes of red smoke. She spliced up Spice Girls’ “Wannabe” into shards of house synth, Ginuwine’s “Pony” into a squelchy, bass hungry remix. With a tight hand for dynamics, the drops were delayed, constantly dragging out on the offbeats. Single “I Want U” was gloriously spiky, her other EP cut “Cold” unfortunately drowned in heavy mixing. Balloon balls were thrown on the crowd, confetti was exploded three times, and the sweat fest was at its peak when “Tennis Court” pulsed out over the crowd.