Waking up for the final day of Splendour in the Grass has always been tough. You’re generally two or three days into an ongoing party, you’re tired, sore, ears are ringing and haven’t had a proper meal in days. I’m sure this was a fair assessment for most punters on site, irrespective of whether they camped or stayed elsewhere. For me, despite the general woes of being an overworked and overly tired young professional, I felt incredibly positive about how I was feeling coming into the final hours of the festival.
Memphis LK got us started over at the Mix Up tent, with their brand of underrated sad dance bangers getting the crowd out of their Sunday morning slumber. Moving into the mid afternoon time slot, Royel Otis pulled a massive crowd at the GW McLennan tent. The whole tent felt smaller than previous years, but even so, the crowd for Royel Otis and their gazey rock would be up there for any act that played there this weekend. It’s a testament to the band; they sounded pretty great, with “Dance With You”, “Kokomo”, and “Oysters in My Pocket” working a treat.
I’ve had a theory for years about bands in the sunset time slot. The theory states there’s a direct correlation between the quality and fun of a sunset slot with how much you’ll enjoy the rest of your night. Some times they (bookers and schedulers) get it right and sometimes you just want to ask for your money back as they kook it severely. Tonight, Splendour crushed their decision to put Dune Rats at this slot over in the amphitheatre. While they’re never going to win heaps of awards (‘second in battle of the bands’ featured as a quote on their intro), Dunies know how to make a crowd have a belter of a time. From “Red Light, Green Light” to “Too Tough Terry” and “Six Pack”, the band know their market and stick to their guns every time. Bringing out all their friends for “Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again” was the crowning glory on a fun and timely set.
Up next was Sweden’s cool girl Tove Lo, bringing a Nordic dance party and a set that spanned all albums and got more than a few on the hill interested on what she might play next. With a cover of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” and her feature on Flume’s “Say It”, Tove Lo had brought in a massive crowd by the end of her set and won us all over.
Making a mad dash for a couple songs of the always reliable and one of Brisbane’s best Thelma Plum, I came back to the amphitheatre for IDLES, a band known for their aggressive yet sublime live set. Tonight was no different. It was incendiary from the opening note. Even if you didn’t know a single song they played, it would be hard to not be impressed by what they put out. Supporting the little guy, they preached love and respect via non-traditional avenues (‘this one is anti fascists, for anti-facist folk”). Hands down, IDLES win best on ground for the weekend.
Over at the GW, The Smith Street Band were at their raggedy best, with a full tent indulging in a career spanning set, from “Death to The Lads”, “Ducks Fly Together” and “Young Drunk”. Playing second to last at the GW for the festival, there was a warmth in the tent that really helped round out the 3 days in a way that makes you want to turn up time and again, year after year.
Look, I’ll be honest with you. I had my reservations coming into Splendour this year. The lineup wasn’t as deep as it had been in previous years, last year’s horror show was still evident for many potential attendees, and I generally felt like I was beginning to age out of the ‘festival crowd’. While these reservations were legitimate, it is safe to say the team at Splendour in the Grass know what they’re doing when putting on a show. Yes, there are a few things I’d like to see improved upon (as noted in Day One’s recap), but all in all my festival experience was a positive one. I may not be able to back up like I have in previous years, but these pins of mine still have a few festival days left in them. I’d be happy for Splendour to welcome me back.
All photos by Bruce Baker – you can see more of Bruce’s photos HERE