We’re right in the thick of Australia’s summer festival season and it wouldn’t be right if Laneway wasn’t on the schedule. For the third year in a row, the sun was out, the vibes were high and the music flowed. Here are my thoughts on what was yet another successful year for the ever-blossoming festival.
The line-up this year was quite an eclectic mix, and with that brought a really mixed crowd. I liked it! It also meant there was a lot of choice and not as many clashes as last year let’s say! One of my favourite things about going to a festival like Laneway is of course bumping into friends from different circles and sharing magic musical moments together, but more than that, it’s about discovering new artists. If you’ve never heard of Billy Davis and The Good Lords, well now you have! What a perfect way to start the day with the soulful grooves of this outfit. For a group of youngsters channeling the golden era of music is something you don’t see often, but they’re on my radar now and I highly encourage you to put them on yours!
Now, surprisingly at 1:05pm I’m calling it but Baker Boy was the set of the day. I’ll get to my very close second and third position artists, but what Baker Boy was able to share with the huge crowd was special. He comes from humble beginnings and shares his cultural background unashamedly with everyone. He is one of the first of the new generation artists to bring Indigenous language into the mainstream music scene, and his freestyle on didgeridoo was just so exciting! He’s a natural up on that stage creating hype and interacting with his audience, even busting out some dance moves. His messaging is fun and fresh, but with a new take on Yothu Yindi’s infamous ‘Treaty’ we were hooked every minute. To end the set on ‘Marryuna’ with a couple of break dancers just added to the icing on the cake, and set the benchmark for the day. I even bumped into Baker Boy at some point during the festival and told how excellent his set was; his humble response just made me respect him even more. Go you good thing!
Billie Eilish is always dope to watch. She’s this pocket rocket with such a rockin’ attitude, and that stank face that just oozes with swag. The girl is way cooler than I’ll ever be and she backs it up with her vocal chops. She was a crowd favourite for sure. We need to talk about Miss Blanks though!
OMG!!! I actually love everything about her. She is a strong and empowered woman, but at the same time a delicate flower. She’s full of sass and her trap club bangers and sexy back-up dancers had me living the whole set. More of this please! She is a star! Moses Sumney followed this explosive set and while it was a bit of a Debbie Downer, there really is no denying the talent of this man. The last time I saw him was at Sugar Mountain last year where it was just him and his instruments, but this year he had a drummer and instrumentalist to fill out the musical experience. As I sat under the tree and felt the euphoria of his music I remembered why I loved him so much.
Making a real presence for himself on the airwaves last year was British rapper Loyle Carner. I was so excited to see him live because there was such a likability to his music and to him during interviews. He exceeded every expectation I had of him and blew my socks off! Again, here is an artist who could not believe he was playing at a festival, let alone one in Australia (the other side of the freaking world), and it’s his storytelling that connect us to him. He just melted my heart and put on one hell of a set with some slick freestyle rapping, funky party starters and spoken word. He came in a very close fourth for the day.
Two words: Anderson .Paak. Need I say more? Oh, maybe & The Free Nationals! I just can’t with this guy. It’s the second time I’ve seen him live and he is one of those artists that just gets me. He is the definition of a showman and an entertainer. He gives his entire soul to his performances and this is why he draws the biggest crowds. He’s an artist of the people giving us high energy and coordination like no other. The man can drum and sing like no other, I think people forget how hard this actually is; he’s working with two different rhythm lines like cmon!!!!! He was my #2 set of the day because he is the G.O.A.T. Enough said.
Mac DeMarco followed and while I was told by many to head along to his set because he’s a real character, it just wasn’t my jam. He’s interesting to say the least and his humour is rather bizarre but musically, it just doesn’t give me the tingles like Anderson .Paak. It was however a beautiful time of night for him to play; sunset along the riverbank – well that’s just gorgeous. To end my night in the best way possible was to get lost in the mosh at the ODESZA set and just go crazy! They were the perfect headliner and my #3 for the day. Conceptually, this was the most well thought out set of the day with synergy between lighting, sound, visuals and performance quality. They even had a drum line come out at various parts to highlight the beats and give a little bit of drama. Every track we’ve come to love from this electronic duo was elevated by the performance quality and the heaving mosh was lapping up every drop. I really didn’t want the night to end.
Please Note: Due to lack of security knowledge, our photographer was unable to shoot Baker Boy.
photos by: Kayzar