Live Review: Groovin The Moo - Bunbury

23 May 2012 | 1:26 pm | Staff Writer

"Mutemath were just phenomenal ... the quiet mix improved into what will go down as possibly one of the best sets Bunbury will ever see, if not the whole of Perth."

Taking the mold of a summer festival and transporting it down to Bunbury, another sold-out Groovin The Moo had mother nature on its side and the first act to bask in the glorious sun was Needing Cherie, who probably made a few people regret not getting down earlier. Such quality was maintained with local acts Rainy Day Women and Stillwater Giants who both gave a pretty good crack at the big stage, getting the predominantly younger punters dancing to some bouncy indie-rock tunes. The former channeling a new Silverchair sound, the latter bringing their surfer-vibed indi, both acts showed why they've been getting plenty of local and national radio play and will no doubt be a staple of many festivals to come. Still in the early parts of the festival, it was unfortunate that many of the over-18s seemed to have favoured a sleep-in over the early drive as a very young audience was apparent. In the Moolin Rouge tent The Brow Horn Orchestra bought the party as only they do, only this time the party was a little smaller and had way too much backing track.

Back to the main stage, the two-piece sloppy rock of Big Scary sounded limited at best. Without the swagger of The White Stripes or the full sound of a larger band, acts such as this do nothing other than drawing to attention the power that a certain national radio station has in shaping the festival circuit, in doing so preventing promoters from taking any risks. In contrast, Goldfields got the tent jumping for the first time with some very fine electro that was hard to criticize. Meanwhile on the main stage the charmingly disheveled teen heart-throb Matt Corby, having borrowed a heck of a lot from J. Buckley, had the crowd eating out of his hand despite unfortunately losing half of it after playing “that song” we all love second last. The curious few who stayed main-stage to check out American Andrew W.K were treated to a hysterical show of... well, it's hard to say. The Darkness x Eurovision might come close to describing this long haired, head banging trash talker. Meanwhile in the tent, Mutemath were just phenomenal. Following last year's release in opening with Odd Soul, Prytania and then Blood Pressure (with a progified ending), the quiet mix improved into what will go down as possibly one of the best sets Bunbury will ever see, if not the whole of Perth.

The sun was starting to drop, but the tent was hot and heaving as 360 incited cheater-hate with Boys Like You, all the time wearing his trademark dark shades. Catching the end of The Getaway Plan proved a little underwhelming, but the benefit of the doubt will be given for a poor mix (something the main stages suffered from all day). City & Colour and Parkway Drive worked the punk-rock community into a frenzy as both did what they do best, each act proving that no matter what style you are, a sincere set of quality music performed with heart will win over any audience. Brutal breakdowns will also help. After sampling what seemed to be an endless choice of quality food vendors, the after dinner entertainment was provided by the pantomime that is Public Enemy. With Chuck D and Flavour Flav providing the banter, celebrating their 25th year as a band, the group was passable. Again too much reliance on backing-tracks and entourages standing on stage made for what was a confusing, albeit entertaining performance. While the Purple Sneakers DJs played a fun, crowd-pleasing set in the tent, dropping Skrillex et al, Modular man Beni then took the Moolin Rouge from hip hop to dance/techno with a fantastic set including Snoop and Dre's Smoke Weed Every Day (aw yeah!). Walking the fine line between fun and art, his mixing was flawless, taking it from cheese-ball Snoop to deeper beats seamlessly.

Aussie hip hop royalty Hilltop Hoods' set ran like a 'best of' track listing, and elicited mass sing-alongs from the hyped up crowd. Dancing girls sitting on their boyfriends' shoulders almost got more screen time than the main act, but leery camera work aside it was all about feeling the love, as MCs Suffa and Pressure gave props to tolerance and unity with Speaking In Tongues. Digitalism then played a surprisingly flat set to close the night in the Moulin Rouge tent. They were good, but one expects 'wow' for a headliner. On the upside, an angular diamond-ish light structure behind the duo provided the canvas for some neat lighting work.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Leeds locals Kaiser Chiefs (and their particularly charismatic frontman) transported the main stage crowd back to 2004, closing the night with hits like Everyday I Love You Less And Less and I Predict A Riot to cap off another darn good festival and reason to head down south.

Written by Luke Butcher and Rebekah Barnett