Pyramid Rock Festival – Phillip Island: Day Two (31.12.10)

The second day of a festival is always epic struggle town and after the fucking awesome party of day one, it was pleasantly surprising to see so many other bleary eyed, sun burned, slightly nauseated looking punters up and about early, keen to catch Papa vs. Pretty who took to the main stage at a very painful 11am. The youngsters from Sydney did well to catch people’s attention with a seriously tight set. Their music reminds me a little of Kisschasy, but with a much better vocalist, and after playing “Heavy Harm” they ended their set with a big messy instrumental jam that was really fun. I hope to see them again soon.

Next up were locals Oh Mercy, who I’ve seen live twice now and haven’t enjoyed, which is a shame as their studio work is quite pleasant. Their set was pretty much exactly the same as the last time I witnessed their live show – slow moving, with the band members looking as though they were about to fall asleep, showing no passion, enthusiasm or love for their music whatsoever. The crowd seemed to enjoy it though and the band did mix it up a little by inviting Brian Nankervis up onstage to read about the local wild life and join them playing maracas for the final song “Get You Back”.

Its been a big year for the Hungry Kids of Hungary with the release of Escapades and sold out shows across the nation, one would’ve hoped for a later time slot than 1pm, however their fans were out in force, showing their love by braving the heat with some mad dancing in the harsh summer sun. The Hungry boys didn’t disappoint with a cracking set displaying their usual energetic and charming stage presence. Their twee harmonies were all spot on and it was a fun group sing along to all the favourites, which included “Wristwatch”, “Old Money”, “Scattered Diamonds”, “Two Stones” and “Coming Around”.

Philadelphia Grand Jury are back and better than ever with their new drummer Susie Patten and some new tunes to unleash, they got the main stage jumping to their energetic punk pop tunes. The trio delivered a flawless set, playing all the favourites from their debut Hope Is For Hopers, along with new tracks “Save Our Town” and “New Package For You”, that have the same infectious happy vibe as “The Good News” and “I Don’t Want To Party (Party)”, which Berkfinger got down in the crowd to sing, much to the delight of the fans. Susie took the mic for the closing track and belted out a ripper version of their much loved cover of Jay Z’s “99 Problems”, diving into the audience herself to dance with the punters. Philadelphia Grand Jury absolutely nailed it, fingers crossed they’ll be delivering a new album soon.

Canadian indie rockers Born Ruffians took over the Pharaoh’s Annex and woke up the weary festival goers with their sweet post punk tunes. I’d never heard their music prior to Pyramid and was very impressed by the quality of their song writing, the massive wall of sound they created and the energy they put into their performance. Front man Luke LaLonde is a natural born entertainer and for a band with unfamiliar music, I found them to be captivating and really enjoyed their set. More investigation into their music is now required.

Another unfamiliar act to me was Londoner Devonte Hynes who is better known as Lightspeed Champion. The man is a former member of Test Icicles and has written music for Florence Welch, The Chemical Brothers and Solange Knowles, so I was very curious to see him in action. Fortunately Lightspeed Champion didn’t disappoint with a quirky set full of lovely, laid back tunes some of which were folky, others with expansive electronic elements. The music was as eccentric as his outfit (I swear there was a metre long fringe hanging off his sleeves), but Lightspeed Champion is an excellent performer and definitely someone I’d like to see again.

Cardiff bastards Future Of The Left tore up the main stage with their synthesiser infused, guitar heavy rock. I’ve never been a fan of the harder rock genre, but Future Of The Left slayed it onstage and are seriously making me consider what I’ve been missing out on. Andy Falkous and his crew weren’t too big on the showmanship, putting all of their focus into delivering perfection, and that they did with a fierce intensity that made for satisfying viewing.

I’ve been having a love affair with Jebediah since I was 12 years old and finally got to see them in action at Pyramid. It was a relief to discover that they’re still fucking awesome and their live show is engaging, energetic and loads of fun. The crowd sing along was huge with everyone getting into their old favourites “Leaving Home”, “Jerks of Attention”, “Benedict” and “Animal” before the Jebs rounded out the set with new single “Lost My Nerve”.

Kevin Mitchell can do no wrong and continued to delight the fans further by jumping offstage and shaking hands with the peeps in the front row before disappearing backstage to make way for UK buzz kids Mystery Jets. The young lads from Eel Pie Island played a short, sharp set showcasing the tunes from their latest LP Serotonin. I didn’t find them to be particularly engaging performers (which may have been due to my own exhaustion, the luring smell of kebabs in the backstage bar, or them not being a grand festival act) but musically their set was tight and I never get tired of hearing tracks like “Dreaming of Another World” and “Flash A Hungry Smile”.

The excitement was palpable as N*E*R*D took the stage and the island erupted into a frenzy of screaming and a slight stampede as eager glow stick lit bodies pushed to the front to get a closer look at Pharrell, who is absolutely amazing. N*E*R*D went off onstage and incited the crowd to join them with the insane dancing, which is impossible not to do to their particular style of music. They had the audience eating out of the palm of their hands, with plenty of call and response interaction. The boys brought us into the new year with their arse shaking hit “She Wants to Move” and kept the mood at a high following it up with “Backseat Love” and “Rock star”. N*E*R*D are phenomenal live and their set was a definite highlight of the 2010 live scene.

The party was only getting started as N*E*R*D walked offstage and Canadian duo Chromeo took their place to bring some electro funk goodness to the new years celebrations. Those guys are mental and had the already raucous crowd going spastic to their highly infectious, kick arse electronic jams. Chromeo are like the penultimate party band with their high octane performance that had thousands of punters still up and revelling even after a gruelling 2 days in the heat.

Chromeo’s music is so exhilarating live that they gave me the energy to check out Midnight Juggernauts before my mission to find the tent kicked in, and I’m very glad I did as the boys from Melbourne are still ripper live. Vincent and his band of space age hipsters rocked the Pharaoh’s Annex with their prog/psych/dance/cosmos/whatever-other-buzz-label-you-care-to-attach/pop. The tent was packed full of very happy punters who didn’t want the music to end as Juggers flawed them with old favourites “Road To Recovery”, “Shadows” and “Into the Galaxy” interspersed between new tracks “This New Technology” and “Vital Signs”. I’d forgotten how captivating a Juggers live show is, with the lights display, smoke machines and the bands intense approach to the creation of their sound. They were a great end to a bloody fantastic festival and I look forward to heading back for the 2011 installment!