Day One: Rain, Hail, Sunshine And Fucking Great Bands

28 July 2012 | 6:17 am | Mitch Knox

Rain, Hail, Sunshine And Fucking Great Bands. Splendour Day One

After the rigours of setting up our tent in the dark upon arriving at Belongil Fields last night (long story short: don't do it if you can avoid it), the clear blue sky and warm temperature were welcome friends at the dawn of Day One of this year's Splendour In The Grass.

The gates were a little slow in opening but that didn't detract from the vibe, nor did it discourage those in attendance. Walking through the festival grounds early on was a scene of curiosity and exuberance: stallholders peddled their wares enthusiastically, the varied smells of delicious eatables from around the world permeated the air, and the guys who run the stall where you can print your favorite Instagram photo onto a t-shirt did gangbusters, with groups of dudes printing unflattering photos of themselves alongside captions such as "HI I'M TOM", in case everyone at the festival was wondering (we weren't, by the way).

The atmosphere remained uniformly casual in most areas and acts I frequented during the first half of the day - Chet Faker, Flume, Emma Louise, some rad monks growling out some throat singing in the Global Village - and all performed admirably, to warm appreciation to match what looked like a glorious day.

Then, around the 2-3pm mark, all hell broke loose - or rather, the heavens did, pelting punters with rain and then hail, turning the already soft ground into a veritable field of sludge. The turn in the weather was kind of a mixed blessing. On the one hand, DZ Deathrays had themselves a packed tent (not solely) on account of the vicious downpour, and girls naive enough to wear high heels and other totally impractical footwear learnt the follies of their ways pretty damn quickly. On the other hand, we had to race back to our campsite to make some, er, readjustments to our apparently not-so-great midnight construction. Have you ever tried to fix a tarp while getting pelted with hail? It's not as fun as it sounds. Some guys across the way, safe in their frighteningly stable modern marvel of camping architecture, sat back, laughed, and took footage of the whole ordeal. Hopefully it doesn't end up on YouTube. It wasn't graceful.

But soon enough, the rain passed, the skies cleared, the ground remained the consistency of baby poop and a sense of normalcy was reachieved. As afternoon turned to night, so too did the temperature turn, and suddenly the sunny day that peeked its head out earlier was a distant memory. The night became something of a blur, then. Moments of lasting clarity arrived with the delightfully endearing Lanie Lane and the nostalgia-fest of At The Drive-In, though it must be said that the time apart from each other was more than a little evident - albeit not really to any major degree of detriment. But Omar Rodriguez-Lopez... poor Omar. He just looked SO BORED, standing rigidly still with his back mostly towards the audience (as he is wont to do). Okay, so you're not getting to noodle aimlessly and fuck around with pedals for 27 minutes like you would in The Mars Volta, but is a little bit of enthusiasm too much to ask? Still, it was glorious to see the band reunited and more than a little bit of a giddy thrill to hear their iconic anthems of late teenage/early-20s angst played in the flesh.

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However, if there is one band on today's bill that could remotely justify an early exit from ATDI, it's Explosions In The Sky. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this band, so I won't bore you with a stream of fanboy gush here (you can read the review if that's what you're after). What I will say, though, is that everybody in attendance would agree that the acts yet to play over the next two days have their work cut out for them if they want to knock Explosions from their perch as the act of the festival. It's a big call, sure, but it's being made right now, and I can't wait to see if any of the remaining performers have it in them. Bring on Day Two.