The 3rd of May brought sunny skies and 23 degrees to the hallowed fields of University of Canberra as the Australian music scene decided, for one day a year, not to ignore the capital city. Canberrans traded their rugby jerseys for 70’s style flares and crochet tops and shuffled down on a Sunday morning for a day of fun in the sun.
With a star-studded lineup featuring Australian hip hop royalty the Hilltop Hoods, San Cisco, Charli XCX, Flight Facilities and the crazy Canuck Peaches, the local crowds were treated to a surprise 10-minute set by Canberran wunderkind Black Summer, who played his first ever set, at his first ever festival – did we mention he’s 11 years old?
Also amongst the local talent were the acoustic hip-hop covers of Xavier Dunn, the groovers Boo Seeka and the explosion of energy that was Coda Conduct – without a doubt that set is going straight to the Pool Room.The morning’s relaxed atmosphere and good weather was captured by Tkay Maidza, who with her Nyancat light show and sassy persona made you believe that it could almost be your little sister up on stage, laughing at the antics of the audience. Continuing the gravy train was Western Sydney’s thumping One Day, which drew a larger crowd as the day moved on. Performing back-to-back with One Day was the golden Newtown export Sticky Fingers, whose relaxed style, a modern mixture of psychedelic guitar licks paired with reggae drum beats truly captured this year’s “Oasis” theme. Inviting their neighbouring stage mates to join in, the two bands remixed Sti Fi’s Gold Snafu into a fantastic blend of hip hop and indie music.
A stone’s throw away on the Triple J stage were the Preatures, riding on a wave of local and international success. Channelling the Divinyls’ Chrissy Amphlett in a schoolgirl outfit and pigtails, Izzy Manifredi and friends ripped a page out of a 70’s rock magazine and gave us a set full of unadulterated, energetic Aussie rock. Ms. Amphlett would have been proud.
The ladies of Groovin were stellar this year, demonstrating excellent vocal chops whilst keeping their sets cool and their styles even cooler. Kicking off early in the day was 2012 Triple J Unearthed High winner Montaigne, whose set of vocal cords could make Beyonce blush. She’s definitely a real rising star in the industry; we recommend keeping an eye out for this one in the next few years. On next, the sultry Meg Mac seemed to consume the entire stage despite her petite stature, giving us a magical performance with a voice fit to sing a James Bond theme. Riot Grrrl Peaches proved to us that we supposed liberal-minded young people could still be shocked by the blatant and unapologetic sexually progressive music and live show that she puts on, whilst still amazing us with her stage presence and energy. Shocking? Yes. But that’s the ‘Teaches of Peaches’.
As the sky began to darken, so did the music, and out came the EDM. Hermitude played the dusk-to-dark set, drawing a massive crowd and blowing us away with their creative, yet super tight set – a real live show that proved no, DJs do not just stand there and press play. Ten points for Hermitude. Carmada and RL Grime, who took to the stage in the Moolin Rouge tent, and provided some amazing live DJ sets to get the nighttime festivities going. Broods brought forth an amazing set, blowing the audience away with their ethereal style, with one amazed festival goer likening their live show to “an out of body experience”.
One of the night’s headlining acts, Ball Park Music, showed us just how good a modern Aussie band can be, providing catchy indie pop music sprinkled with enough angsty sarcasm that the whole audience could relate. Wolfmother rounded out the night, with many turning up to see what could now be considered an icon of the past. Their musical style remains the same despite the rotation of band members, but appears to have lost the magic which once made this band so successful. It seemed as if the band was no longer driven by love for music, but rather by desperation and probably fiscal gain. The Hilltop Hoods showed us exactly why they are still the reigning kings of the Australian hip hop scene, mixing their stage members up with a DJ, drummer, and a full string and brass section, and bringing out not just their newest tunes like the smash hit ‘Cosby Sweater’, but indulging the crowd’s nostalgia through songs like the classic ‘Nosebleed Section’, proving that they’ve been a constant hit machine for more than a decade. Flight Facilities, finishing the night at the Moolin Rouge tent, seemed to have brought along every guest vocalist on their album, with the performance changing depending on who was on stage, going from the whimsical to the meaningful and back again.
Perhaps it is this blend of mainstream and novelty which makes Groovin the Moo such a success – it’s a vehicle for all types of festival goers to indulge in their favourite genres in the one place.
Check out Woroni’s GTM photo coverage here
Photo by Janis Lejins