Photo by Ian Laidlaw
As we write this, we are deeply saddened that it has all come to an end. Looking back on what was our best Splendour yet, not only because of the music but the atmosphere as well. There was something in the air this year and it wasn’t the mound of dust filling our lungs. As we regain our dignity and slowly begin to rebuild our brains, lets recap our favourite artist’s from Splendour In The Grass 2018.
After making a quick trip into town to gather the usual survival supplies, we made it back just in time to set up camp and head to the Amphitheatre to catch Welcome to Country, to be followed by DZ Deathrays. The expectations of the first day were set high with acts like Miguel, The Bronx, DMAS, Angus and Julia Stone, Henry Rollins and The Presets. There were also a million rumours going around on whom Dune Rats & Friends would be. To no surprise the amphitheatre began to bellow with people as DZ Deathrays took the stage. One thing that seems to have become a Splendour tradition is guest appearance so joining DZ on stage was none other than Murray Cook, or you may know him as the Red Wiggle. The foursome belted out Australian classic ‘Highway To Hell’ by the infamous ACDC and DZ’s very own ‘Like People’.
After DZ we quickly made our way to Jack River at the GW McLennan tent. She graced the stage in a shimmering silver jacket. Her voice is unique and wondrous as she sings 'Fool's Gold', a clear crowd favourite. She then takes on ‘She’s so High’ by Tal Bachman which was just as impeccable with the crowd mesmerised.
DMA’s were next, and of course they were wearing their signature Adidas tracksuits. Although they played plenty originals, such as ‘Step Up The Morphine’, the crowd was hungry for their Like A Version cover ‘Believe’. Giving the fans what they wanted out it came and the crowd burst into cries of happiness, grabbing one another and swaying side to side. As this is the first time the band has played the cover since the Like A version in 2016, you can imagine the uproar in the crowd.
Now we had a decision to make, Henry Rollins and The Presets, The crossover hurt my brain to think about but luckily we did both. For those of you who aren’t sure who Henry Rollins is he fronted hardcore band Black Flag, first joining the band in 1981. Rollins now tours the world with his spoken word performance. Some may see this as strange and some may see this as genius. We think the latter.
Quick stop to catch the last of The Presets and it was on to see Dune Rats and Friends who brought out an amass of people — including WAAX, DZ Deathrays, A.B. Original, Alex Lahey, Mallrat, Tkay Maidza, Hockey Dad, Gooch Palms, Drapht. Covering Basement Jaxx, The Offspring, and Black Eyed Peas. It was quite a sight to watch, especially with Bretto on the drum kit hugely elevated.
And finally wrapping the night was Lorde, and unfortunately, she didn’t do it for us. We were on such a high all day that we completely plummeted after she began her first song. Not to worry though, the Tipi Forest lifted our spirits.
We started our morning with WAAX, who were joined by Powderfinger front man, and Aussie icon Bernard Fanning to cover the classic Powderfinger track, ‘Don't Wanna Be Left Out’, although there is a lot of talk about covers throughout the media world and Splendour I think their needs to be a special mention to WAAX’s new song ‘My Apology’.
Methyl Ethyl tore up the Amphitheatre, with one punter next to us just constantly singing the words to hit song ‘UBU’ even though the band was playing another song. It was annoying but understandable. So when they broke into crowd favourites, ‘UBU’, ‘No.28’ and ‘Twilight Driving’ the atmosphere was thriving beyond belief.
Gang Of Youths were up next delivering a powerful set with lead singer Dave Le'aupepe sharing with the crowd that his dad was in hospital listening to their set. This felt particularly special, heartfelt and cheers riveted through the amphitheatre in support for his father. If anything this made Dave rawer than ever and the emotion just flowed out through the bands music. This band will soon be headlining.
Leaving early we headed back to GW McLennan for Ocean Alley. A lot of you may not know this but this band has been hard working for years and has become somewhat of a fairy tale. Ocean Alley rigorously toured for years, slogging the hard yards before Triple J even considered them for rotation. They deserve every bit of this success, more so than most. It was incredible to see the crowd pouring out onto the road. The band played favourites ‘Yellow Mellow’ and of course 'Confidence' and 'The Comedown'. The crowd practically sang every song for the band, which was a true show of just how far they have come.
Franz Ferdidand and The Jungle Giants were also stand out sets before we got ready for Vampire Weekend. Although their songs were 5 to 10 years old, there was a new life in this band. Letting out blow by blow. ‘A-Punk’ and ‘Oxford Comma’ were clear sing-alongs. With the long awaited return of Vampire Weekend they announce that they will be back, and what’s even more exciting is they will be back with a new album.
Photo by Jess Gleeson
Sunday fun day was in full swing, by now the hangovers were ruthless but we had no choice but to power through, as today was THE day. Firstly Skeggs – We found ourselves surrounded by fellow industry people and other bands all-watching from the right hand side. It was nice to see the comradery between these bands. The crowd poured through with them bearing the biggest crowd we had seen for a 2PM slot.
Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever had us excited with their Australian infused jangly guitar. The Middle Kids sent shivers through our spines as Hannah Joy's voice took over the Amphitheatre. Then something strangely weird but incredible happened, at 4PM, a few enthusiastic fans climbed to the top of the hill to begin a Kevin Parker worship ceremony. Now this was quite the experience as a punter held up a picture of Kevin Parker's face and people fled down to their hands and knees.
The energy was unparalleled for PNAU as they played for the first time since the very first ever Splendour in 2001. ‘Wild Strawberries’ sent everyone into frenzy and during ‘Chameleon’ it appeared everyone had lost their damn minds.
Girltalk over at The Mix Up Tent brought an entire entourage onto the stage for specific tracks to jump and dance around, most were on their phones taking selfies but hey it was still cool. The audience lapped it up.
The Sunday felt like a whirlwind... the shock soon hit us that these magical three days were coming to a close and with that, Kendrick Lamar was set to play as the last act of the festival. An amassing of 30,000 plus filled the amphitheatre as the crowd rapped along to hit after hit, although one guy next to us decided to say extremely loud "I’m leaving this is just a rip off of Wu-Tang Clan." only to storm of in a furry.
Ironing out previous issues the festival ebbed and flowed better than ever before with a line up perfectly curated. Although its goodbye to the Boho Chic days and hello to the Pantless glitter days, we wait somberly for the next Splendour In The Grass, and as the years get bigger and better we cant wait to see what’s in store for us.
Until next time Splendour Bender….
Review by Jariah Travan & Alix Mckenzie