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Festival Review: Splendour In The Grass 2015 – Day 1

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It’s that time of year again when thousands upon thousands of hungry music lovers descend upon Byron Bay to have the best weekend of their young/old lives.

Y’all wanna know what Splendour in the Grass 2k15 is all about? Mud. Hard mud, soft mud, slippery mud and what we like to call Mystery Mud (that’s mud that literally looks like it’s oozed out the back of the port-a-potties) but hey, hasn’t Splendour always prided itself on being all inclusive. Luckily, Day One heralded some dynamite music to take our minds off the brown death caked upon our boots.

We started our day off right with Triple J darling George Maple. Clad in a very sexy lingerie play suit and an impossibly white jumpsuit, Maple writhed and gyrated her way across the mix up stage. A cheeky, “So does anyone listen to Triple J?” (not the last time we heard that question) signalled Maple’s hit tune Talk Talk, which sent the audience into fits of dancing and good times.

The air was thick with anticipation for next cab off the rank, Melbourne duo Client Liaison. The boys have been making waves with their dedicated luxury Australiana aesthetic for over a year now so it was no surprise to see the crowd decked out in either period costume or clad in the trademark Client Liaison phone merch. Not only are Client Liaison putting out some of the most devoted and unique sounds in Australia right now, they also know how to put one hell of a live show. Please allow us to spell out for all you bands what it takes to make a gig Client Liaison level good:

  • Sweet az threads: The boys we’re stylin’ in matching pastel polyester numbers and had not one but two costume changes.
  • Lavish Accompaniments: The Client Liaison set up had everything – multicolour wombats, giant dolphin graphics and the sizzling Retro Sweat dancers sent straight from Oz Aerobic circa 1985.
  • An intense musical and spiritual connection between bandmates: This one was probably more important. Even though lead singer Monte Morgan took centre stage with his ultimate dance moves and sexual-yet-androgynous stage presence the band fit together like puzzle pieces. Whether they were indulging in a Fosters or lapping up the support from the crowd Client Liaison had It going on for their whole hour set.

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Moving away from gushing about Client Liaison and onto gushing about The Rubens. Spurred on by their upcoming album the boys gave an intense performance to a sprawling amphitheatre audience. Tracks old and new were performed to perfection, with lead singer Sam Margin’s unfaltering voice making people forget that they were sitting in inch thick mud. Predictably classic track Lay It Down -elicited the most rousing response with the amphitheatre sounding as though inhabited by wolfs as punters tried to copy Margin’s trademark yowl.

A frantic sprint over to the Mix Up tent proved totally worth it to see Brits, Everything Everything in matching asymmetrical costumes. Title track from their recently released album Get To Heaven absolutely went off and thanks to the bands absolute commitment, there was nary a still shoulder in the house.

Another mad dash back to the amphitheatre guaranteed a primo spot for musical legends Death Cab For Cutie. A mad loyal audience fawned over Ben Gibbard as if they couldn’t believe he was there in the flesh. The setlist proved satisfactory for new and old fans with the band smashing out everything from Crooked Teeth to Ghosts Of Beverly Drive. The notable absence of fan favourite I Will Follow You Into The Dark was a bit of a letdown but the overall vibe of the crowd was one of dreams made.


Space to move/breathe got noticeably smaller as Icelandic five piece Of Monsters and Men took the stage. Hardcore fans were in raptures over the bands choice to mix a sizeable number of older tracks into their setlist. As thought God could hear the bands ethereal sounds the heavens opened up and rained down upon the welcoming crowd during Moutain Sounds. The closest to a musical baptism that any of us are ever gonna get, Of Monsters and Men’s horn infused set was definitely one to remember.

As we all know rain can quickly go from cathartic to nightmarish, which is exactly what happened as we trudged along to Peking Duk’s set. The peppy duo smashed every gimmick in that an hour long set could handle (we’re talking several confetti cannons, giant luminous balloons and multiple special guests) and the capacity crowd lapped it all up. The torrential rain proved too much for most though, for as soon as those last notes of mega hitHigh played punters fled for Mark Ronson’s set or dryer ground.

Day one was done and dusted, bring on all the mud, music and good vibes of day two!