With a venue upgrade and the age restriction decreasing to 16+, Laneway 2015 was always going to be a bit different to previous years. Losing its intimacy and chilled atmosphere the “boutique” festival became one of the big festivals.
Captivating the audience with a big intro Raury leapt onto the stage with a powerful amount of energy that had the crowds hands go straight into the air. Performing songs from his debut release “Indigo Child” he brought a raw and infectious energy to the early afternoon crowd. Highlights included “Cigarette Song”, “Lost Souls” and “Super Fly” which he performed with Brisbane based collaborator Vancouver Sleep Clinic. “Gods Whisper” unsurprisingly got the biggest reaction when the beat dropped bringing a unified sing along that was fairly epic. 2015 will be Raury’s year and with a memorable and slick live show you will begin to hear more and more from him,
Tkay Maidza is Australia’s hottest rising MC and she cemented that title with one of the most energetic and fun sets of the day. Opening with a few new tracks she slowly went into familiar material with “Switch Lanes”, “Imprint”, Finish Them” and the infectiously ridiculous “Brontosarus” that had the whole crowd stomping their feet. She also premiered her sassy new single “Money Over Bitches” which will be released in the first half of February. With the mainstage under a tin infrastructure I was unsure if I had more of my sweat or other peoples on me. Closing her ultra-fun set with “Uh-Huh” she brought some fans on stage to spray water guns over the crowd making it one of the most memorable performances of the day. Her onstage persona has grown so much over the past couple of years and she’s on track to be Australia’s next biggest export.
Andy Bull was one of the most anticipated afternoon acts but he disappointed with a lack of charisma and onstage presence. Hiding in the shadows with his band half the audience was asking who on stage was actually Andy Bull. “Keep On Running” and “Baby I Am Nobody Now” received the biggest crowd reactions and if Andy gave the performances more energy they would have easily become festival highlights.
Courtney Barnett brought a taste of alternative rock to the Laneway stage performing songs from her EP’s and upcoming debut album. Her set was enjoyable and captivating unlike Angel Olsen’s boring and forgettable set beforehand. Next up what the larger than life character Mac DeMarco who had a hilarious and fitting intro from his mother. I will happily say that I have never heard his music before but from now on I will take notice because he was one interesting and intriguing artist. Definitely worth checking out.
Bringing a massive crowd to the “Good Better Best Stage” Banks hypnotized the crowd with her strange fusion of pop and alternative beats. Opening with “Alibi” she launched into a 45 minute set showcasing songs from her debut album “Goddess”. Her stage presence was unique and powerful, constantly strutting her way up and down the stage she commanded the crowds every second. Her vocal delivery was hauntingly beautiful and she effortlessly hit the high notes that most live vocalists would struggle to. Set highlights included “This Is What It Feels Like”, “Goddess”, “Waiting Game: and crowd favourite “Beggin For Thread”.
Jungle turned the party vibe up with an energetic and memorable set that had you leaving the festival talking about how good they were. FKA Twigs was one of the most anticipated artists of the day and she impressed and excelled in some aspects of her live show but in others she heavily disappointed. This was her first visit to Australia and with a coveted headlining position you would expect a killer setlist but sadly it wasn’t. Performing only “Pendulum”, “Numbers” and “Two Weeks” from her debut album “LP1” the rest of the setlist was made up of unreleased new material she was “testing out” and tracks from her EP’s. With a lot of unfamiliar material it made the crowd less excited and enthused. She however still remained to command your full attention with her insane vocal range and breathtaking dancing, almost making you forget about the shit setlist. And can we just quickly talk about the incredible way she moves her body… like it’s a tad ridiculous.
Laneway 2015 was an enjoyable day but in 2016 I would love to see it return to the over 18 boutique format that made previous years so special and memorable.