Live Review: Falls Festival, Marion Bay - Day Two

1 January 2016 | 1:22 am | Rhys AndersonCatherine Delpero

"We’re magic like David Copperfield. You get that for free Falls."

Commonly referred to as ‘the actual first day’ of Falls Festival, new fresh-faced crowds streamed in and those that had been at Boogie Nights the night before awoke to the unforgiving Tasmanian sun and the rude sound of cars and tent pegs being hammered in.

Close Counters at the Field Stage made sure those still in the sauna-like tents knew it was time to get up and get your dancing shoes on. Decent synth action with a healthy dose of smooth soul vocals and hip hop thrown in made these guys one to keep your eyes out for in the future.

Once 12pm arrived, coffees were ditched in place of beers and the hoards descended on both stages. For most, the festival truly began when Sydneysiders Gang Of Youths took to the Valley Stage. Oozing with gracious charisma and the ballsy guitars and vocals to back it up, these guys transported everyone to a world where classic rock is king and Bruce Springsteen is a god, somehow in a fresh and non-ironic way. Magnolia was a stand-out closing track and, despite the heat, their passionate riffs left most with goosebumps.

"The Field Stage continued to serve up the treats that afternoon with jazz fusion Grammy-nominated Melburnians Hiatus Kaiyote."

Next up Meg Mac graced the Valley Stage with a giant straw hat and that heartbreakingly stunning voice to go with it. The soulful songstress — whilst technically brilliant — didn’t quite hit the mark. Perhaps a little tired of performing, the lack of passion left Marion Bay feeling a little bit ripped off. Her upbeat cover of Broods' Bridges and pop soul track Thank The Lord was a nice direction for a festival set and Meg looked like she was actually having a little fun.

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BØRNS over on the Field Stage was a treat for lovers of heavy synth euro-pop goodness. The Falls program described him as the love child between Jack White and Jeff Buckley in both looks and sound. There were flavours of both legends but in that mix, the LA-based 23-year-old must have spent time in the womb being influenced by 1980s Eurotrash.

The Field Stage continued to serve up the treats that afternoon with jazz fusion Grammy-nominated Melburnians Hiatus Kaiyote. Perhaps a different cup of tea for the usual Falls punters, the crowd relaxed into the solid grooves, dripping with silky salted caramel vocals. They rounded out the set with the dancier Passion Pit vibes of their hit By Fire.

Next up Kurt Vile & The Violators bored most people to tears with his brand of stoner indie-rock. Wrong time of day for these guys, unfortunately the late afternoon at Falls should not send everyone to sleep at the main stage.

Young Swedish rapper Elliphant climbed onto the Field Stage and was greeted by the sight of a hand-made sign with a picture of herself. Dancehall beats and punk-rap delivery had the late afternoon crowd in the palm of her hand. Losing her voice a little, she gave every bit of energy left to her performance. Crude, brash and a nice blend of MIA and her own dirty-pop, Elliphant put the active in the active wear she wore. She looked and sounded phenomenal.

Birds Of Tokyo’s show at the Valley Stage opened with some new terrific dance electronic warbles, only to fade into the humdrum middle of the road festival rock that brought them so much success. A novel cover of Eye Of The Tiger was the only notable moment.

"A particular type of festival-goer was in abundance at the Toro Y Moi show."

Ash Grunwald may look unrecognisable since losing his dreads but there was no mistaking the  tell-tale blues guitar twang zinging from one of the many guitars he would use that set. His crowd preferring to sit than to dance.

“I write songs about sex and being sad,” boasts New Jersey singer Halsey's bio. And, this is what she delivers, well-crafted pop songs about love and loss with just enough raw honesty to be considered ‘gritty’ by pop standards. 

Soon perfectly delivered high-mid guitar solos peeled across the Field Stage, bouncing against the few thousand indie fans who strayed from the clash of The Wombats on the other stage.

Toro Y Moi is an act who can use three keyboards at once with live drum backing and make it sound sound like something more bands should try. Their's is a different sound than the usual synth pop drone song structure, as they build in experiments in with psychedelic guitar tone and keys collaboration.

A particular type of festival-goer was in abundance at the Toro Y Moi show, as groups of people were reaching up to try and physically touch the sounds while the evening sun faded behind the country farmland hills.

"We’re magic like David Copperfield. You get that for free Falls."

No one, bar the band that will get to do the NYE countdown, can draw a Falls Festival crowd like the Hilltop Hoods. Thousands of dark blobs waved their arms up and down and sung along as they stretched all the way up to the top of the valley. High energy and quick humour are universal and both are in abundance as Pressure and Suffa MC pass jokes between themselves and the audience. A poorly timed release of the smoke machine has both rappers engulfed behind a thick white cloud “…and just like that I’ve disappeared in a puff of smoke, we’re magic like David Copperfield. You get that for free Falls, now that’s value for money.”  Live music festivals have changed over the last few years with the increased usefulness of mobile phones and this was reflected in the bands call to arms asking the audience to pull out their lighters and/or cell phones for a softer late night rendition of Walking Under Stars. 

The Oxford boys Foals were a fitting follow-up, delivering a vibe that built on the previous act. Building slowly the set reached fever pitch in the final ten minutes closing with an extended version of Two Steps Twice. 

Django Django was a lot more hit and miss with their set, and perhaps this was reflected in the rapidly reduced numbers that stayed until one-thirty in the morning to watch the whole set.

In the Village, local blues legend Guthrie brought to a close his twelfth Falls Festival with a reimagining of The Devil Went Down To Georgia on lap steel guitar. Meanwhile, DJ The Avener brought new year's eve eve to a close with a wild dance party festival set.