In the late hours of a wintry night, I make my way into Byron Bay’s biggest pub. I strap in for a night filled with beers, wild behaviour, and rock ‘n’ roll, the perfect atmosphere for The Pinheads to steal the spotlight for the last time before closing off their homeland tour. After hearing rumours of their raucous antics onstage, I predict tonight’s ride is going to be a wild one.
Nothing short of a wonderland, the 2019 edition of Rabbits Eat Lettuce Festival was a weekend all who attended will never forget. Held at Cherrabah Resort in southern Queensland, REL is predominately an electronic festival but one combining flavors of all music across multiple stages. With a stellar lineup of diverse acts, spectacularly colorful décor and a crowd of the most beautiful people, this year’s event was without a doubt one of the best to date.
I walk up the long stairs leading up to Tomcat. I instantly notice my long grandma skirt was probably not the right choice for the occasion. Everyone else dressed head to toe in black but hey, I am comfortable
I asked a friend what another friend – a hardcore fan - thought about John Maus. He got back to me saying this other friend had said this: “I see it as an art performance for him. He drains and punishes himself for us the viewer. We are paying him to give us his soul. If he doesn’t feel like he’s giving enough he does laps [of the stage] or hits himself. We are exposed to his mind.”
As expected, the Tivoli is jam-packed. People are crawling over one another just in hope of catching a glimpse of the irresistible creative genius that is Angus Stone under alias Dope Lemon. There is no space to fill. People huddle together, others are dancing. Couples are cuddling up and the smell of dope is lingering in the air.
Pumped with adrenalin a diverse crowd of adolescents and elderly-rockers floods The Brightside. After the recent release of latest album Bent, Stonefield have embarked on their own East Coast tour before leaving the country to support King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard in the United States. With word going round that Melbourne and Sydney attendees still hadn't picked their jaws up off the gorund, I enter The Brightside with little doubt that tonight Brisbane is in for a treat.
Lights reflect off crystal chandeliers as Tia Gostelow hits the stage. She wears a pink suit jacket and pants that match. Her band wear all white. “This song I wrote about an ex-boyfriend, which a lot of people seem to relate to. It’s about cheating, but I turned it into a song you’d like to hear on the radio” she shares before cutting into ‘That’s What You Get’. Her set comes studded with special guests. First is Busby Marou who join her for an impromptu rendition of Violent Soho’s ‘Fur Eyes’. She later brings out another up-and-coming female talent, Thelma Plum for ‘Around Here’. The set closes with a version of ‘Strangers’ featuring Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromack.
“Everything not saved will be lost.”
Whenever the Splendour in the Grass sideshows roll around there’s always at least one act on that list I want to see. This year it was Local Natives. Why? Well, this was an indie rock band familiar to me from my high school days. In fact, their debut album Gorilla Manor was the first vinyl I ever brought. I still own it, it’s a nice piece of memorabilia. And I can still remember making mix tapes for my friends always incorporating a song from the band. It was necessary.
Kevin Parker has nothing to prove to tonight’s crowd. Of the 35,000 attending Australia’s premier mass celebration of youth culture close to all of them will be here singing along to his songs, roaring in applause and dancing to his music no matter what. Yet the pressure sits heavy upon his shoulders. It’s the same feeling every time he goes on stage. He’s not content to rest upon past achievements. He’s going to give everything he has to prove himself once more. He's a perfectionist, he doesn’t do anything in half measure.
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