AU ABROAD

Festival Review: Groovin’ The Moo - Prince of Wales Showground, Bendigo (03.05.14)

The cruel upbeat tone of my alarm sounded at 6:00AM on Saturday morning. As I momentarily considered face planting into the pillow and ignoring its sole purpose, I realised it was time to get Groovin'. The train ride in was long and tumultuous; aisles laden with inappropriately dressed festival-goers and a lone local tennis player, seemingly unimpressed by the inane amount of extra bodies that occupied her usually quiet Saturday morning train. Upon arrival the sun was shining, but our future looked bleak. Dark clouds were rolling in. We were surrounded. Luckily enough, the Groovin' gods smiled upon us, keeping us dry (for the most part).

Boasting an impressive lineup, Groovin' (as always) showcased a notable array of homegrown talent, dynamic and wide-ranging in all its might. A veritable goodie bag of genres and performance styles, the assortment itself undoubtedly catered to each Groover, one way or another. However, a fair slice of the major draw cards were those big name international acts, travelling far and wide to appease us.

Scoffing our faces at Beatbox Kitchen, we watched from afar as D.D Dumbo’s ethereal voice filled the grounds. The born and bred Castlemaine lad has an incredible vocal range, an almost earthly timbre that rises and falls with the greatest of ease. A combination of raw guitar melodies awash in lavish layers of sound created an almost transcendent listening experience. Midway through, we sauntered over to dear favourites Lurch & Chief for what is always a damn entertaining show. Sumptuous layers of psychedelic elation teamed with the type of impelling performance that only comes from truly great musicians. Those catchy indie fillers washed around in my brain for the rest of the day.

Robert De Long was the first to get the crowd moving and shaking. His percussive practice and captivating stage presence seemed almost habitual, like second nature. Energetic and stimulating, De Long has more coordination in his little finger than exists in my entire being. The man is a machine. My only criticism (far beyond his control) is that a midday set was far too early, he deserved to come out when the sun went down.

Vance Joy provided a solid performance as always, slipping in a somewhat interesting choice of cover, Master's Apprentices, "It's Because I Love You". The crowd was slightly disengaged until the chorus chimed in with, 'Do what you wanna do, be what you wanna be, yeahhhhh', at which familiarity set in and many including myself, spent the day attempting to figure out what ad the song featured on (talk about subliminal advertising). I can say with 90% certainty that it was Australian Super. Note to self: must set up super fund. His set in general did not receive the enthusiasm that it so greatly deserved, that is, until everyone decided to become caught in a "Riptide"; an unfortunate by-product of having a hit song that somewhat overshadows the rest of your performance.

Violent Soho was hectic. Simple as that. The mosh swayed heavily back and forth, but with an odd sense of consideration for those dwelling in the danger zone. Falling into the depths of the mosh pit was an odd experience. There is an eerie quietness, surrounded by kneecaps. I wasn’t on the ground for long before several sets of hands hauled me back up. After copping an elbow to the face, I decided to retire to the outer edges of the crowd. Despite all injuries and traumatic falls (wuss), it was awesome. The boys are dynamic as ever and are absolutely hitting their stride as a band. With their popularity sky rocketing in the past six months, it is easy to see why.

The ever-energetic Loon Lake reeled in punters with that infectious electro pop rock and quick-witted lyricism. Peking Duk threw a couple of classics in the mix to induce some serious booty shaking. "Hey Ya" got the crowd up and moving like it was nobody's business. Architecture in Helsinki remain popular as ever with their reinvented 80’s inspired synth pop. Their big melodies, infectious hooks and ridiculously fun lyrics will always resonate a certain fondness (with me, anyway). Wave Racer was beyond infectious, I felt as though I couldn’t dance hard enough (limbs flailing). The Kite String Triangle snuck in a remix of Lorde’s, "Tennis Court" that was pure bliss.

Dizzee Rascal, who is undoubtedly an honorary Australian after his many, many visits, is an incredible performer. His pace was head rattling and his oomph was infectious. Racing quickly over to the tent to catch the tail end of What So Not, all that followed were waves of disappointment that I had not experienced the whole thing. Disclosure were amazing as anticipated. The multi-instrumental, multi-talented, envy-inducing duo play with an effortless fluidity that is hard to come by. The young Brits are talented beyond their years and ooze confidence within a live setting.

A memorable day of diverse music and hard-hitting performers. Perhaps the only downside was the half an hour plus wait in line for bathrooms, a complete oversight that could have been easily avoided. Beyond that, each year, Groovin’ The Moo holds its own as an incredibly well put together event in support of the Australian music industry. Keep up the good work.