Despite some extremely inconsistent weather conditions, the withdrawal of multiple international acts from the line up, and the insistence of many ‘twenty something’ attendees to remain shirtless during freezing conditions, the Falls festival was again a success for 14/15.
Yes, the weather was pretty mental for the 29th and the 30th but festival goers just ‘ponchoed’ up, got their groove on and enjoyed the festivities at Marion Bay. Despite the late withdrawal of both Royksopp, and Julian Casablanca’s, the line-up for this year’s event was still quite solid (particularly on the 30th), and apart from a couple of relaxing sessions sipping on some more ‘affordable’ beverages around various camp sites, the rest was spent watching live music.
Tip for next year: If you’re offered some ‘moon shine’ from a guy camping not far from the Village, politely decline. Apparently the same recipe sent some hippies blind back in the 70s, the few sips that I had removed my ability to speak for a good portion of the first night (luckily I was not alone).
Anyways onto the bands which made an impression:
Early afternoon on the 30th Glass Animals put on an excellent show on the Field Stage Highlights for the set were; their single Gooey and their awesome cover of Kane West’s Love Lockdown.
Tycho were a real festival highlight and were unfortunately a ‘big clash’, in relation to schedule times, with the Cold War Kids. The band played many tracks from their recent album ‘Awake’ which had fans moving their feet and gazing in awe of the electronic outfit from San Francisco. A mad dash at the end of Tycho meant that many of us still got to see the end of the Cold War Kids set, which was concluded with a great rendition of Hospital Beds.
Around 7:30pm Spiderbait leapt onto the stage and delivered a real rock n’ roll treat for those old enough to remember ‘Ivy and the Big Apples’. Drummer/front man Kram looked like he hadn’t bathed or slept since Christmas Day, and was about as inebriated as Tim Rogers was back in ‘05 when he was forcibly removed from the Valley stage and later head butted Missy Higgins. However, Kram held it together, delivered a great set and rocked it out, and decided to hit the ‘skins’ rather any women or children – which I liked.
Temper Trap were next and had many singing along to their better known tracks in a tight and enjoyable performance. Alt J had the attention of their fans and seem like a class act, but the middle of the set seemed to drag for mine and I was eager to see something a bit more upbeat. The Presets were next on the bill and didn’t disappoint, they were LOUD and injected energy back into the crowd - a great band selection for just after midnight on the 30th.
The 31st brought better weather to Marion Bay, in fact it was the glorious sunny weather that we have come to expect from the festival. The obligatory meat heads in attendance, that had been pumping iron, tanning, and ‘roiding up’ since last summer, were salivating at the thought of exposing their bulging ‘delts’ and heaving neck muscles, and now they had the chance do so. I actually saw a guy doing push ups next to his car, just so he could get one last ‘pump’ before he entered the main arena at the Valley Stage. He pushed them out screaming like he was the incredible hulk on the last rep, tucked his tank top into his fluoro coloured shorts and after checking himself out in the heavily tinted windows of his Nissan Skyline and strode into the main arena like Dwayne Johnson. He probably would have been more at home at Stereophonic - let’s hope he doesn’t get word of Panama Festival.
Anywho, the young man who refers to himself as the Kite String Tangle was impressive opener on the Valley Stage NYE morning. Many in audience were moving their feet while launching into a cold cider to try and get things started for the final day of Falls.
The DMAs took to the Field Stage around lunch, looking more like they should be driving along the Brooker Highway, in a beat up old Commodore, abusing other motorists, rather than playing at one of Australia’s biggest music festivals. The guitarist was actually wearing a Bathurst skivvy FFS (is he for real?). Anyway, turns out, this V8 Supercar fan and his mates play and write good tunes, and are definitely a band to look out for. Many Falls goers were raving about this band and from what I saw of them, rightly so.
Cloud Control were one of my highlights. A very good Australian act with lots of really good tracks. Gold Canary was their best for the day with the majority of the crowd singing along with the band at the top of their voices - it was a good moment.
Empire of the Sun brought in the New Year after a fairly uninspiring set. Front man Luke Steele took the stage looking not unlike a futuristic prostitute and after playing for about 45 minutes had the audience convinced that Empire of the Sun simply don’t have many good songs. Which left many in the crowd wishing that Steele hadn’t found God, hadn’t turned into a complete knob and had stayed with his much better band ‘the Sleepy Jackson’.
Despite this Falls had again been a success, the crowds were back at record levels, the bands were solid, and there were still quite a few girls walking around with at least 50% of their arse cheeks hanging out of the bottom of their shorts.
It is a seriously well organised fest, in a great location, with a history of bringing great acts to Tassie – keep doing what you’re doing Falls!