Falling For Falls
23rd January 2014
There was dirt, music, tents, dirt, dreamy bands, and more dirt. In other words, attending The Falls Music & Arts Festival for New Years was the best idea that ever popped into my head. Ever.
It was the inaugural year for The Falls in the North Byron Parklands and, apart from a few bumps, didn’t disappoint. I volunteered at the festival (for a free ticket) so I think I have some insider knowledge on how things went down. What would’ve been a sweet three-day trip for you turned into a seven-day lifestyle choice for me. I was hooked on festival life. Waiting 40 minutes for a shower is underrated, I swear.
Oh-boy, were there some bands. The array of bands blew me away; there was something for everyone. The Roots were the ones who brought us into 2014 with their funky beats and a few catchy covers. Although the count-down was a little underwhelming, the huge crowd all gathered to boogie down and make out.
The following day was welcomed with hangovers, which were followed by naps on the different grassy hills that created the natural amphitheatres. While you were napping I witnessed the greatness of Sydney five-piece The Preatures who rocked out to favourites like ‘Take a Card’ and ‘Is This How You Feel?’ The lack of crowd wasn’t due to a flat performance, but the fact that the sun clearly hated us all. There was no doubt that the heat was testing our allegiance to The Falls and also our ability to find the minimal shade that was offered (a minus to the festival). The afternoon brought our attention to Big Scary,who appeared as if in a dream. Their catchy melodies created some hard-core swaying from a bewitched crowd, with tunes like ‘Twin Rivers’ that progressed softly into ‘Belgian Blues’. Changing stages, Tom Odell, a Brit who was clearly suffering from the heat, brought some soul with his sombre serenades and left girls swooning everywhere. The Rubens drew a large crowd for a band so new and, as an added incentive, were extremely easy on the eyes. Punters rocked out and sang along as front man Sam Margin reached into the crowd, only to be held back by security to prevent him crowd surfing like at The Falls in Lorne.
The night brought some amazing headliners like Grizzly Bear, New Yorkers who have mastered the art of harmonies and are admired for their effortless yet intense atmosphere. They’re an amazing spectacle that should be seen and enjoyed by all, all I say! Vampire Weekend finished off the first day of the year with a performance that appeared routine but was undoubtedly spectacular. I admit that this review is coming from a die-hard fan-girl, who also managed to get backstage to meet them (#ezrafoldshispizza), but I think that the raging crowd would agree that a fun time was had by all (they’re gods, amirite?). Vampire Weekend ended the set with ‘Walcott’ which tested everyone to dance in an uncomfortable mosh before heading back to their respective tents, still buzzing.
You may think that baby wipe showers and a lack of sleep might be getting old by now, but you’re wrong. This was the best day yet.
Personal hygiene was thrown out the door as we all sat in the dust to enjoy the humble and baby-voiced Gossling. Her tunes were chilled and rang a bell with every triple j listener. A collective “aaaw” was echoed throughout the Forest Stage whenever she spoke. Things were kicked up a notch when Cub Sport, previously Cub Scouts, took to the stagewith an array of giant beach balls that were happily welcomed into the mosh (my goal in life was to touch one of those). The Brisbaneites used their synth-sounds to their advantage, which got this punter got moving to songs like ‘Paradise’ and ‘Told You So’. Finishing off with their Destiny’s Child medley seemed a little out of character and in my opinion didn’t suit their sound, even though it was fun.
The Violent Femmes played their entire self-titled album, released in 1983, with expressions of what can only be described as pure joy. They were so happy doing what they love! The Violent Femmes are an outstanding band that surpasses the surprise of longevity, to give a new generation the exact same music as thirty years ago. Later, when we perched ourselves in the dark, the members of London Grammar received a shock due to the size of the audience, as when the lights came up, front woman Hannah Reid had to stop to take a photo. Man-oh-manowitz this British indie outfit is really something to stop and listen to; the haunting vocals create epic songs that portray maturity beyond their years. Skip forward to 9:40 pm and you’re definitely already at The Wombats. We sang in the rain and danced to the infectious ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’ before screaming for more. When a band can unite a crowd and make best friends of complete strangers, you know they’re doing it right. To close the festival many stayed at the Amphitheatre Stage to listen to MGMT, and for most that was a mistake. For a band that is well-known for their lacklustre performances, the psychtronica band didn’t disappoint in that respect. To spice things up there was a 2000+ person flashmob that accompanied the song ‘Electric Feel’, but it was indeed a deflated end to an amazing time.
Was it dirty? Yes. Was it uncomfortably hot? Hell yeah. Would I do it again? In a heart-beat.