Groovin The Moo Canberra (24 April) is definitely the best organised festival I’ve attended thus far.
The circular structure of the event laid out on the Canberra University Oval made it particularly hard to get lost. Now you may not think much of this, but it came in darn handy for those so far gone that they couldn’t tell left from right.Illy at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
My day began at noon and Canberra had definitely turned on the weather just for us. As I walked in I noticed immediately how different the crowd was in comparison to the Maitland Groovin’ The Moo I attended last year. Everyone seemed really chilled out and stoked to be there. It seemed slightly more intimate and the energy and the atmosphere felt warm and welcoming.Boy & Bear at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
A huge shout out goes to The Red Frogs Organisation and Headspace who provided punters with lollies, doughnuts and plenty of water throughout the event. They know what’s up.
In terms of bands I had an Immaculate start to the day. Harts were first on my list. A solo artist from Melbourne, he has a blend of funk, rock, pop and soul and has such a smooth sound. He played all of his well-known songs from 'Red And Blue' to his newest single 'Peculiar', laden with guitar solos likened to a young Jimmy Hendrix.
He set-up a soulful vibe among the audience at the Channel [V] stage and ended his set with a tribute to the late Prince; one of Harts biggest influences and who he caught the attention of; Prince has said Harts “[He reminded] me of how I was at that age”.Click here for photos from GTM Maitland.
I then headed to the Moulin Rouge tent where Ngaiire was jamming. A new fan of her songs, I quickly realised what an incredibly talented and sassy female artist she is. She absolutely blitzed her set in terms of vocals. I was hangin’ out for her new single, 'Diggin', and it as soon as I heard that intro I was “with a shovel in my hand, diggin’ up the sand, I was digging” and it was worth waiting for. She finished with her hit 'Once', which was groovy but could have provided a little something extra for its live performance.DZ Deathrays at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
I went to see my loves DZ Deathrays next. I’ve seen the two-piece a few times now and have come to recognise that they play their absolute best in an intimate setting where Shane Parson’s vocals can really be picked up. The Channel [V] stage unfortunately muffled his vocals and their instrumentals were just too overpowering. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for some heavy drums and bass and it was just lucky for me that I already knew all the lyrics to their songs (diehard fan over here).
For those less in the know however, hearing the soft vocals would have definitely been a letdown, except of course during 'Gina Works At Hearts', which everyone always belts their lungs out for. Drapht at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
At the Triple J stage, Drapht’s set began. He has definitely created a loyal audience over the past couple of years. Upbeat and bobby, his raps are irresistibly melodic and down to earth, he’s just the kind of dude you can’t not love. It was a bit awkward though when he referred to us as Maitland, not once, but twice (way to make us feel special and totally a one-of-a-kind audience Drapht….. Nahhhhhht). His tunes definitely made up for it though. It was lucky he made the slip up before he performed 'Jimmy Recard'; we all forgave him after that.
On the same stage followed MS MR, the New York-based duo. I’d been groovin’ to these guys for a couple of years now (hehe get it), since the days of their single 'Fantasy' and was hanging for them to come to Australia. Finally in front of me I realise holy crap, Lizzy Plapinger is even more of a babe than I imagined. She waltzed on stage with bright red hair (at one point it was green) donning a skin-tight leopard print unitard.
Again, the mic on the Channel [V] stage was having issues; from what I could hear (I was standing front centre) she had the voice of an angel and her mic was just not nearly loud enough. Despite this she was incredibly vivacious and so energetic that the mic mishap didn’t matter, she made up for it in dance moves.Safia at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
Next on the Triple J stage was Safia and it was the first time I’d seen them live, after about ten missed opportunities. Everyone I know that has see them, though, does nothing but rave about how fantastic they are so I was the keenest of beans. With drums, a keyboard and synth on stage it was immediately evident that their music isn’t just produced on a laptop.
Incredibly talented musicians have put this together and are able to replicate it seamlessly on stage, especially Ben Woolner’s immaculate vocals. They played all their hits, as well as including a never-before-heard single called 'Fake It Til The Sunrise', which is catchy as all hell: keep an ear out for it on the radio. Citizen Kay also joined the three-piece on stage for 'Take Me Over', which was just brilliant. He gave it an added authentic sound: so infectious and well-received by the audience.What So Not at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
Back at the Moulin Rouge tent What So Not was about to begin. By now the tent was packed to capacity with hot, sweaty bodies moving so closely together that anyone who failed to move as one with the heap would have definitely been crushed. They ripped banger after banger, played some What So Not singles such as 'Gemini' and their newest bass-heavy 'Lone' featuring Joy. I’ll admit I was disappointed as Joy didn’t join them on stage. They played some RL Grime too which I was stoked about, and so was the audience when 'Tell Me' began and everyone in the tent had a collective (sound)gasm.
Client Liaison performed shortly after and can be described as nothing less than an institution. Monte and Harvey’s synchronisation and '80s get-ups are so borderline tacky yet somehow flawlessly impressive. Clad in matching black leather and sparkles, they were an '80s dream. They began oozing their well-known coolness throughout 'Pretty Lovers' and of course 'Feed The Rhythm' accompanied by some wicked '80s choreography.Twenty One Pilots at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
Then when I thought it couldn’t get any better, I realised the total babe on bass was none other than Triple J Hack presenter Tom Tilley! He absolutely rocked it. Client Liaison put on a performance unlike any other artist at Groovin’ The Moo, embodying their signature style and owning it. I’ve never wanted to have grown up in the '80s more until I heart Client.
USA act Odesza were an artist I was SO looking forward to and they did not disappoint. They played 'How Did I Get Here' feat. Lily Allen’s samples first up and from then until the last song their set was crammed with smooth beats and the bass drops kept rollin’ on in. I was especially ecstatic that they performed their remix of Zhu’s 'Faded', the rumbling bass creating a drive within everyone to grind on the nearest person, whether 15 or 25 it didn’t even matter. Following faultlessly with hits like 'Bloom' and 'Sun Models' they were 110 per cent my highlight of the day.Alison Wonderland at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
Alison Wonderland headlined, everybody expecting something insane. The minute she began, bodies began running, skipping, hopping and jumping as fast as was humanly possible. Her talent and passion radiated throughout every song she performed. She nervously sang a couple of her own originals live on stage, which is still a new concept for her, in the past sticking only to production.
Whipping out her electric cello towards the end of the set, she made sure we knew her versatility and how she’s definitely not just another cute blonde DJ. She yelled out with so much heart during 'U Don’t Know' that: “I know what it’s like to be alone”; and I honestly felt her heart and soul through the song and it made it somehow such an intimate experience on such a huge stage.Alison Wonderland at GTM 2016 Maitland - image © Pat O'Hara
After Alison, we moseyed on over to the Moulin Rouge tent to catch the last of Ratatat’s set. Luckily for my friends and I, 'Cream on Chrome' was just beginning as we arrived. The electronic-rock duo from Brooklyn provided guitar, melodica, synth and percussion and really sealed the night with a bitter-sweet taste left on my tongue. I really wished the night wouldn’t end and reality didn’t have to begin again the next day.Click here for photos from GTM Maitland.