Eagar to hear about the bands we sadly missed, Yeasayer received not so rave reviews while Oxford 5-piece Foals were a hot topic for the day. Their shiny, refined take on the post-punk revival movement was said to be incredible, and the boys, a charm to watch. Fast developing Perth lads Tim and Jean apparently put on quite the spectacle as did New York-based quintet Alberta Cross.
First set of my day – L.A.’s own Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Known for their immense garage rock tunes, these guys put on a truly powerful set. Sounding like a cross between The Velvet Underground and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Friday afternoon’s performances showcased a stellar collection of the band’s finest work. As lead vocals were alternated throughout their set the Amphitheatre was sent into frenzy with crowd favourites like Weapon of Choice, Ain't No Easy Way and Whatever Happened To My Rock and Roll. Mostly leaving behind their earlier acoustic sounds of Howl the trio’s performance was heavy growling guitar riffs and clear blues influence. On stage the band had swagger and BRMC set was a killer way to kick off the next thee days with what was already a festival highlight.
Over at the Mix Up tent Hot Chip were being welcomed to the stage by what sounded like a pack of shrieking banshees. Opening with a DnB style intro that seamlessly rolled in to Ready for the Floor the British teachers turned music legends put on a geekily sleek performance. Their music layered with sophisticated dance-pop and an array of percussive chatter that created a monstrous wall of sound. Despite a forceful rendition of Over and Over, which is always a crowed pleaser, Alexis Taylor and Co were playing much heavier and louder on their new stuff. But that’s not to say that their back catalogue was weak. It never is and never will be.
Between set intervals at this stage were in the capable hands of Sydney’s Bag Raiders who were throwing down electro beats with just the slightest German tech twist. News from the other side of the festival – Angus and Julia Stone had once again charmed their audience with intoxicating harmonies and folk serenades.
Still at the Mix Up tent, anticipation was slowly building for dance punk legends LCD Sound System, fronted by the enthrallingly talented James Murphy. With three critically acclaimed albums under their belt and their most recent LP This Is Happening, Fridays set was chock-a-block with hits. On stage the NY-based rockers were absolutely hypnotic, playing with an effortless ease and going above and beyond any vocal limitations. Opening with Drunk Girls the melodic electro beats of All My Friends, I Can Change and Daft Punk Is Playing At My House soon took flight. It’s a shame LCD are breaking up after this tour because during this set they sure flexed their stadium sized muscles – pow, pow pow, pow, pow POW.
Over at the GW McLennan Tent Grizzly Bear’s sonic art form was slowly taking shape. Employing both traditional and electronic instruments this psychedelic pop/folk rock/ experimental/whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-them band were sounding well-rehearsed and technically crisp. The vocal harmonies of the Brooklyn four-piece flooded the tent and ensured their audience remained captivated until the end, not wandering off in search of glam- pop veterans Scissor Sisters or talented folk singer/songwriter Ben Harper.
Making our way to the busses we did happen to witness the Mix Up in all its flamboyant glory as New York’s Scissor Sisters took to the stage. As the sound of I Don't Feel Like Dancin’ came across the speakers it was evident people both in the tent or passing by had a different idea.