Scene & Heard Festival is all about living in a state of nostalgia. It’s about reliving memories from what may feel like another life and it’s about seeing bands that are still thriving in their own right.
Expanding from their successful annual Newcastle format, the one day festival has launched in Cairns and Brisbane for 2019. Packed with a line up of Aria chart toppers like Wolfmother, Sneaky Sound System, The Potbelleez and Alex Lloyd, as well as international touring favourites The Dandy Warhols, they have completed stepped up their game in delivering a festival that is more than just a nostalgic gimmick.
With the Saturday afternoon crowd slowly making their way into the Eatons Hill Hotel precinct, Even, Butterfingers and Gyroscope turned up the volume and ignited the energy level for the rest of the day with their respective hits and fan favourites.
With the venue beginning to fill out, British India took to the stage and kept the high energy waves rolling from the immediate opening of their set. “Paris, Tokyo, Eatons Hill, we’ve been everywhere” lead singer Declan Melia confessed to the intrigued crowd. With fan favourites ‘I Thought We Knew Each Other’, ‘My Love’ and ‘Summer Forgive Me’ filling out the start of their set, they asked the crowd for what they would rather hear between ‘Vanilla’ and ‘Red Light’. With ‘Vanilla’ winning, they euphorically sang that song with it’s big rock hook. Giving a set of back to back rock n roll, the band kept the energy high and had the crowd feeling involved which was the right attitude to have with their early set.
2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Alex Lloyd’s debut album ‘Black The Sun’, and to celebrate this milestone the classic Australian singer-songwriter has hit the road for some special anniversary shows. Including an exclusive stop at Scene & Heard, he got to celebrate the longevity of the record as well as the rest of his discography.
With tracks like ‘Momo’, ’Something Special’, ’Lucky Star’ and ’Green’ filling out his set, it was quite surprising to look around the venue and see how many people were so passionately singing along to all of the songs. When it finally came time for him and his slick band to perform ‘Amazing’, it was unsurprising that the crowd erupted with excitement and provided one of the biggest singalongs of the day. Closing his set with ‘Coming Home’, he thanked them for turning up and left them with these inspirational words; “Just remember to love yourself, and fuck all the others”.
Providing the most energetic performance of the festival, Sneaky Sound System may have also delivered the most memorable. Celebrating their impressive discography of hits, the dynamic duo continued to deliver banger after banger throughout their quick 45 minute set.
Opening with the super catchy ‘I Love It’ they didn’t waste any time by launching straight into the epic singalong’s with ‘Big’, ‘Can’t Help The Way That I Feel’, ‘Pictures’ and ‘We Love’. Lead vocalist Connie Mitchell is a powerhouse performer. The way she effortlessly commands the audiences attention is so magnetic, while her strong soulful vocals are maybe not something you would exactly expect from her in the live spectrum. But during ‘We Belong’ she was belting out some of the notes without the microphone in front of her, and leaving people genuinely stunned.
Closing their energetic and entertaining set with ‘Kansas City’ and the mammoth hit ‘UFO’, they had the whole crowd in a euphoric spellbound.
Following in Sneaky Sound System’s footsteps were Portland cult-favourites, The Dandy Warhols who had a lot to live up to. Being the only international act on the line up they had to kinda prove why they were brought all of the way from the US for this walk down memory lane, other than their respective hits.
But once they took to the stage it was quickly made apparent that this was going to be a bit of a dull set. With no energy behind them, they stood at the back of the stage behind microphone stands in moody lighting and stayed there for the full 50 minutes.
Not interacting with the crowd once, lead singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor blended into the walls of the stage and was as interesting as the dark blue lights that shadowed the stage.
Opening their set with ‘Forever’ they rolled into ‘Holding Me Up’, ‘Ride’, ‘STYGGO’ and the Veronica Mars theme song, ‘We Used To Be Friends’.
With half of the crowd soaked into the stoner-rock vibes they were portraying, the other half of the crowd were busy going to get themselves another drink at the bar. ‘Get off’ and ‘Godless’ continued the “thrilling” set before the crowd had a bit of a singsong during ‘Bohemian Like You’ which is an anthem in it’s own right and still didn’t get the energy it deserved on the live stage from the band.
Showing them how it was done, Wolfmother ignited the stage for their coveted headline set with a lot of rock n roll attitude and high pitch vocals. Opening with Victorious’, the went down memory lane with ‘New Moon Rising’, ‘Woman’, ‘White Unicorn’ and Apple Tree’.
With the crowd immediately on their side, there were even people trying to crowd surf and get a little rowdier than they had been the whole day.
As they creeped towards the end of their set, it was unsurprising that their closing track ‘Joker And The Thief’ received the biggest singalong of the day. But it was rightfully earned because that song is still a rock national treasure and they delivered a very high energy set that was worthy of the headline slot.
Check out the full gallery captured by Claudia Bill Photography BELOW;
Photos by Claudia Bill
Scene & Heard Festival Newcastle
Sunday 10 November – Wickham Park, Newcastle