Splendour in the Grass is mere weeks away and the buzz is certainly building for what is going to be one of the biggest years in the festival’s recent history. With the likes of The Strokes, At The Drive-In, Sigur Rós and The Cure set to perform some surefire phenomenal sets (three hours of The Cure!), the names further down on the festival bill are just as strong and exciting for us, as music fans, to look forward to.
As our timetables for Byron Bay come together, here’s 10 artists worthy of your time this Splendour…
Sure, Future Classic have more than a few cards they can play whenever the local electronica scene is threatening to dry up, and aside from boy wonder Flume, it’s young Sydney singer-songwriter Hayden James which consistently proves to be MVP.
Don’t think so?
You just haven’t seen the guy live yet. His soft, textural productions are delicate and considered, capturing what Sydney’s sparkling dance scene is all about. In a live environment he often pairs these ethereal beats with trippy visuals, so if you’re in the mood for a serious dance session it’d be a mistake to give this set a miss.
Friday || Mix Up Stage || 5:30pm
One listen to the two singles Remi has released so far from Divas & Demons, his follow-up to the award-winning (even game changing) Raw x Infinity, prove that the young Melbourne emcee is as hungry as ever, and keen to take his sound to the next level with soulful, disco beats laced with free-flowing rhymes. We’re expecting big things from his Sunday set, and perhaps even a deeper preview of the new album!
Sunday || Tiny Dancer Stage || 5pm
The UK band were easily one of our favourites at The Great Escape this year and we’re lucky to have them in Australia at this break out stage of their career. Being named on the BBC’s Sound of 2016 list earlier this year, Blossoms have been surging forward as a must-see on the European and UK touring circuits. The Stockport group have recently smashed out a set at Glastonbury and have been seen on the likes of Later…With Jools Holland, appearing alongside Iggy Pop. Their debut, eponymous album is due out next month and already, in singles “Getaway”, “My Favourite Room” and “At Most A Kiss”, we’ve been loving the direction they’re heading in.
Sunday || Amphitheatre || 12:45pm
Marlon Williams & The Yarra Benders
Marlon’s return to Australia after spending much of 2016 overseas tackling the United States, Europe and the UK with his band, The Yarra Benders, is one we’re extremely excited for. This’ll be their first time at Splendour in the Grass and amid indie rock giants, heavy acts and electronica hotshots set to come through over the weekend, Williams’ brand of alternative country and injection of bluegrass into proceedings is going to be excellent.
Sunday || GW McLennan Tent || 4:15pm
This UK electronica duo are masterminds when it comes to the collaboration. They’ve teamed with hot-shot Anderson .Paak for the excellent “Money On Me” and have given mainstream dance one of its most anthemic hooks in awhile with “All My Friends” (the one with Tinashe and Chance the Rapper).
It’ll be interesting to see how they work all these hits into one set, all the more important for these relatively young artists as they are on the cusp of being one of the most successful acts (of their ilk) in the world right now (watch out, Disclosure) – and this set will either serve as proof of that, to Australia, or wash them away just as easily. Let’s see how these Brits work under pressure.
Saturday || Mix-Up Stage || 5:30pm
If you haven’t yet heard Ngaiire’s performance on her latest album Blastoma, then open up a tab and look that shit up now. It’s going to go down as one of the breakout Australian albums of the year when 2016 is said and done, heralding in a new talent unique on the scene, one which channels soul, R&B and electronica in a way not many are doing right now.
Her entire album is profound, painful and incredibly expressive, showing a huge growth from her previous work, growth that should translate into a powerful live performance come Splendour in the Grass. She’s one of those acts who will open a stage this year and play much later the next, so get in while it’s nice and intimate.
Saturday || Mix-Up Stage || 12:15pm
Kiwanuka’s voice is one of those old-school, rich soul types that has seen him compared with Otis Redding and The Temptations in the past. His forthcoming sophomore album Love & Hate (released this week), comes so highly anticipated by the fans who were given one hell of a debut from Kiwanuka in 2012’s Home Again. Much in the same way Leon Bridges did with his breakout album, Home Again established Kiwanuka as a young artist who brought something fresh to a genre that had such a well-established and beloved legacy attached. Very excited to hear what this new Michael Kiwanuka album has in store.
Saturday || GW McLennan Tent || 5:30pm
The young Brisbane-based songwriter has been continuing to win fans over locally off the back of the success of her single “Heartburn” and has been known for her collaborations with the likes of Japanese Wallpaper and Ta-ku. With the likes of Pharrell Williams counting themselves as fans, Wafia’s style and delivery has seen her music climb charts and land the attention of many around the globe.
Sunday || Tiny Dancer Stage || 6:00pm
Another band we discovered more of at The Great Escape this year, the Manchester group are making their Australian debut at Splendour in the Grass off the back of a great deal of hype surrounding their recent music to be featured on debut album Tell Me If You Like To. They’ve been on the road with Courtney Barnett recently, with them describing the experience as one of their first insights into serious touring and we can’t wait to see how their time on the road in between drinks has paid off.
Saturday || GW McLennan Tent || 3:00pm
Total Giovanni were one of the show-stealers of Splendour in the Grass last year; one of those acts that you randomly stumble upon and are immediately enamored with. Already a festival favourite around the country, they’re a quirky five-piece from Melbourne, pumping out sexually-charged disco funk that teeters between images of lonely sunsets and sleazy Vegas nights, creating a uniquely strange stage presence they describe as a “sexually charged discoteque” – they ain’t lying. Their set will be some of the most fun you’ve had all year.
Friday || Mix-Up Stage || 1:30pm
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Article also contributed to by Chris Singh.