Ahead of Rolling Sets Festival this December, we caught up with Dune Rats, Hilltop Hoods, L D R U and Leisure to talk about their best and worst live set experiences.
When Drew Carmody - better know by his stage name L D R U - walked onto stage at the very first edition of Mountain Sounds Festival in 2014, he had no idea that by the time the sun had set, he’d be confronted by an insane crowd, a man cosplaying as Jesus and a fake baby being hurled at his head from the punters below.
It’s just one story from a long line of one-of-a-kind antics that crop up in the life of a touring musician; moments that range from the truly banal, like Moby sitting backstage alone eating sticks of carrot, to the truly bizarre tales of Led Zeppelin becoming obsessed with throwing TVs out of hotel windows.
So before Rolling Sets Festival kicks off on December 10 at The Entrance Memorial Park, we decided to catch up with a handful of Aussie artists from the stacked line-up, and get the lowdown on their best and worst experiences on stage and on tour throughout their career.
One of my favourite sets ever was at a festival in the Alps of Switzerland. We were unsure of how we were going to go, or if anyone would even know us. When we arrived the setting was like something out of a chocolate commercial. And the backstage had fine dining and cocktails. The setup was wild. We actually ended up crushing our set and then I got hammered and watched the headliner Wu Block (a hybrid of Wu Tang and The Lox) from the side of the stage as a storm rolled through. That shit was like a dream.
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One of my least favourite sets ever was a corporate show we did for a soda brand that I won’t name. We did it to pay off an unexpected tax bill. I was super sick and could barely talk. The crowd was made up of about 70 people, maybe two of them Hoods fans. So it went pretty much as expected. The execs cut my mic when I made a joke involving Batman and a Nun, and we paid our tax.
When you think of Paris, France, some people think of the Eiffel Tower or croissants or even that accent that oozes sex appeal. Not me, I think of vomit being launched across our stage as mayhem erupts and said vomit spraying all over me.
We were at the tail end of a tour where a fair few beverages had been consumed each night. Like a small snowball that turns into an avalanche two months in, you can get pretty washed up and on one of the final nights of the tour we found ourselves in Paris. BC had been vomiting most sets by now due to a stomach reflux issue that was no doubt the result of consuming said beverages each night.
With limited sleep, drained of all energy and very little food in our belly this show was bound to be a cracker. Halfway through the set BC’s spew monster reared its ugly head, and as he would do most nights he went to look for the bucket that Bunny Man (our tour manager) would place beside his kit. Alas, it wasn’t there, and the only vessel to catch his acidic party juice was a beer cup. Unloading inside it to the horror of all those in the front row, BC decided to beat the previous night's chunders and proceeded to run at Brett with a look that can only be described as that of a man with no soul. Hell-bent on covering Brett in his vomit, and knowing what was going down Brett launched at BC and a collision occurred that sprayed the contents of the cup all over not only the front row of the crowd but myself. This started a chain reaction of everyone gagging and spewing as the smell perforated the venue.
The set abruptly ended at the request of the venue and being aware of what he had caused BC decided to take leave and go to bed. The last image I have is of a vomit-soaked BC stumbling down a moonlight, cobble-stoned road that ran beside a canal. This was the worst and best show of my life.
One of our best sets we’ve ever played was this awesome show at The Lawn in Canggu, Bali just recently - we made the most of the opportunity and brought our families across to soak up the whole experience with us. The week we stayed was incredible.
However, the weather was forecasted for rain on this particular night we were playing, and it was an outdoor event at sunset, the most LEISURE-ly fitting scenario ever. Anyway, we managed to get through the entire set without a drop of rain, and usually the idea of an encore to us can be quite cheesy but when the chants went up as we left the stage we decided to play this one song called All Over You, it’s an epically moody love song with a heartbreaking guitar solo in the bridge section.
Right on cue as our guitarist Djeisan slams down the first note of his solo the rain absolutely starts bucketing down, people are wooping and hollering in delight, as he power-stances like some sort of God of Thunder cradling a bolt of lightning. The event crew are scrambling to cover up exposed gear, people are hugging each other in the chubby relentless rain as they sway to the final chorus, everyone is sopping and we’re all in it together. It was magic and memorable and we felt the love - and nobody got electrocuted. It’s going to be hard to top an encore like that ever again.
Our worst gig was probably earlier on in our time as a band. We got booked to play this University show in the South Island of New Zealand where the youths are notorious for fizzing on drum and bass and doing pingers. We’re more like a cruise-y wine and weed type band I guess, and the tunes did absolutely not fly.
We got heckled by sweaty dudes with omelettes for eyes in the front row demanding we “up the tempo ya ****’s” While most of the crowd had their backs turned as we bumbled our way through the set, we played awfully too from memory and it really was a proper shit show.
There was also our own show in Melbourne we played and it was amazing apart from somebody getting bottled in a two-man brawl out the back of the crowd. We only found out after the set that this had happened so it didn’t affect the vibe on stage but for the record, we are all about peace and love so that energy is absolutely not welcome at a LEISURE show!
It was a glorious sunset at the first Mountain Sounds Festival (ever) up on the Central Coast. The whole crowd was going nuts everyone was having the best time ever. I was DJing to a decent-sized crowd doing the classic 'finger twist' and the 'wikki wikki spin spin' then BANG! there he was, "Jesus Guy". This dude decided to dress up as Jesus and dance all day, in what looked like a set of curtains hanging from his neck.
Now after we locked eyes mid-set, he hopped up onto someone’s shoulders (standing I might add) and proceeded to show me the fake baby like he'd caught the biggest fish in his life. Then all of a sudden he threw the baby at me! Luckily, I caught it. Which was an accomplishment in itself… it's only because of my inner Bruce Lee I didn't get knocked out by the thing! I was confused/angry/impressed by what had just happened... I seriously couldn't believe a fake baby had been hurled from the middle of the dance floor and was coming straight at my face. So, naturally, I lob this thing as hard as I could right back at Jesus Guy who miraculously caught the thing back. I just remember the sheer roar from the crowd seeing what had just happened, it deadset looked like a magic trick. Jesus Guy, if you see this, please get in touch.
Hilltop Hoods, Dune Rats, Leisure and L D R U all join DMA'S, Alex Lahey, Peach PRC, Dope Lemon and more at Rolling Sets Festival on Dec 10, where they’ll be making a new set of on-stage memories. For tickets, click here.