LIVE REVIEW: Splendour In The Grass 2015 – DAY TWO
Day Two began very quiet with many people deciding to arrive later in the day as they were most likely suffering major hangovers after pushing it a bit too far the night before. But Saturday boasted the biggest line up of all three days and with many clashes occurring I found myself running from stage to stage to try catch everyone I wanted to see.
Eves The Behavior drew in a big midday crowd with her electronic pop bursting through the speakers. Her stage presence is growing and the crowd seemed to enjoy every minute of it with “TV” and “Electrical” unsurprisingly getting the biggest reaction.
Swedish rapper Elliphant dominated the Mix Up stage with her larger than life personality, sexy dance moves and her abrupt raps and dance beats that had everyone bouncing and forgetting about their hangovers. She kept referring to the crowd as “bitches” and had them eating out of her palm throughout the whole set. Highlights included; “Look Like You Love It”, “All Or Nothing”, “One More” and “Love Me Badder”. She is one bad ass bitch and one killer performer.
Safia are a band that continue to grow as incredible musicians and performers. Their live sets have transformed majorly over the past year and with this highly anticipated set they had a lot of expectations to exceed. Playing a mid afternoon set at a music festival isn’t ideal but these guys had nothing to worry about with one of the biggest day crowds I had seen all weekend. They brought energy and incredible live vocals to fan faves “Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues”, “Embracing Me” and “You Are The One”, creating some perfect singalong moments. Tkay Maidza joined the guys on stage for a freestyle on “Take Me Over” which had the audience going crazy. Closing the set with rainbow confetti filling the sky, it wasn’t just the band members who had beaming smiles as the whole crowd were smiling right back at them and not wanting the short 45 min set to finish.
Years & Years were one of the most talked about up and coming acts playing this year’s Splendour In The Grass and for good reason. “King” has become one of the most played pop songs of the year and their debut album “Communion” has only just been released and has already topped the charts in multiple countries. Their set faced massive technical problems and saw the band only appearing on stage for 20 minutes and delivering a short 6 song setlist. Their gear never arrived in the country in time for their performance and they had to try perform with other acts’ gear. The problem with this is a lot of their material relies on samplers and synths to produce the sound they have famously made Years & Years. They began the set apologizing to the crowd and explaining what had happened before launching into “Take Shelter”, Worship” and “Breathe”. Lead singer Olly Alexander’s dance moves are captivating and hilarious with a lot of booty popping and slut dropping occurring to try distract the crowd from the embarrassment he was feeling about the altered sound. Stripping it down they belted out two of my favourite tracks from their debut album; “Eyes Shut” and “Memo”. This allowed Olly to showcase his incredible and wide vocal range. Closing the set off with “King” they had the whole crowd jumping and singing along to that infectious hook that has dominated your airwaves over the past couple of months. This was nowhere near as good as a usual Years & Years gig is but it was rather special and had you walking away with massive respect for their professionalism because we all know if this happened to Azealia Banks she wouldn’t have even stepped foot on stage.
The Dandy Warhols have always been a band I have wanted to see but I was soon to find out that they aren’t the most engaging act live. With four members on stage you would expect them all to bring something unique and have a slick sound to their performance but this is far from the truth. “We Used To Be Friends” is a high energy rock song that explodes in your ears on the recorded version but live it sound monotonous and lazy. I’ve always been aware of this fact but I was hoping that just maybe they would try bring some energy as they were playing right before The Wombats and Florence + The Machine but sadly not.
It was a running joke that Azealia Banks wouldn’t even set foot on the stage after only playing for 12 minutes in 2012 before leaving the stage at her last Splendour appearance but this time she obliged and played her full hour set. Opening with “Idle Deliah”, “Gimme A Chance” and “Desperado” she gave the crowd a taste of her debut album that was released last year and then hit into her mixtape and EP material. Being Banks’ fourth visit to Australia I was really looking forward to hearing new material from her album as it was the first time she had been here since the album came out but because of a sore throat she only gave the crowd a “rap” set which saw a lot of her new material that had singing involved cut. Unsurprisingly “Ice Princess” and ‘212” went off and had the very intoxicated crowd jumping under the very muddy tent. This was my third time I have seen her perform and it was also the best. She seemed much happier and more comfortable on stage and were joined by two male dancers and her DJ and drummer which gave her songs a refreshing sound live.
Getting into The Wombats set at the amphitheater was a struggle and while they were only the second headliner they actually had the biggest crowd for the weekend. Their neon lit stage perfectly coincided with their 80’s synth pop/rock that infectiously had everyone singing and dancing. Highlights included; “1996”, “Techno Fan”, “Give Me A Try”, “Emoticons” and the smash hit “Tokyo”. They aren’t the most interactive band but their awkward stage banter and rockstar chic is enjoyable to watch and they sound better live than recorded which is a bonus.
The name Florence + The Machine were rolling off everyone’s lips during the day so it wasn’t surprising that the amphitheater was packed for her headline set. Opening with “What The Water Gave Me” she commanded the audience’s attention and quickly made it apparent that she was no longer the timid performer that once graced the Splendour stage in 2010. Showcasing songs from her new album “How Big How Blue How Beautiful” she gave the crowd a perfect mix of old and new material. “Shake It Out”, “Cosmic Love”, Delilah” and “Sweet Nothing” were early set highlights that saw her prancing across the stage and leaping into the crowd to get up close and personal with her diehard fans. Her interaction with the band and fans was commendable and saw her remain to be down to earth and still holding onto her roots. Closing the set with “Dog Days Are Over” she asked the crowd to remove their tops and kiss one and another and embrace in the moment. And what the queen asks is what the queen gets with the majority of the crowd waving their tops in the air and singing along to the final hook before she took her own shirt off and said goodnight to the crowd. If you haven’t witnessed her live yet then you need to book yourself a ticket to her November Australian Tour as she is not someone you want to miss out on seeing.