The organisers of St Jerome’s curate their line-up not simply by mashing together the finest emerging or hyped artists on the indie scene in the current year.
Attention is always paid to the blend or the matching of artists in the way that a chef delicately manages the interaction between flavours.Tame Impala - image © Pat O'Hara
You can almost categorise a year by genre: in 2015, for example. the female electronica of St Vincent, Banks and FKA formed the centre piece. This year there was a purple haze of psychedelia that wafted over Hart’s Mill (3 February).Click here for more photos.Click here for more photos.
There were the talking guitars of King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, who conjured up a smoke blizzard; Tame Impala shot cannon blasts of confetti into the sky as tripped-out graphics flashed from behind them on stage while they played their distinctly psychedelic tunes.King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard - image © Pat O'Hara
You almost expected a yellow submarine to drift along the Port River; it would have been perfectly in alignment with the atmosphere.
Adelaide taking it to the world
Bad//Dreems, perhaps the antithesis of psychedelia, crammed the punters into the Spinning Top stage with their denim-clad pub rock. Rowdy men stood upon fuse boxes as they blasted through their 'Dogs At Bay' repertoire.
Earlier in the day, Jess Kent, a former Adelaide resident who we can claim as ours in a Crowded House/ Russell Crowe kind of way, dropped the bass to the basement on her burgeoning collection of dancefloor starters to a healthy 12pm crowd.
Got you covered
Cover versions were in abundance; it was like a Friday morning on Triple J. Julia Jacklin strummed and stroked her recent like a version, ‘Someday’. Jess Kent surprisingly strapped on the guitar and crunched out the riff for Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Killing In The Name Of’.Dune Rats - image © Pat O'Hara
While the Dune Rats mumbled their way through Violent Femmes’ anthem ‘Blister In The Sun’; they knew the chorus at least, and a few of the verses. A highlight of the day, though, was 23-year-old gloom wunderkind Car Seat Headrest, delivering an impassioned version of The Boys Next Door’s ‘Shivers’.Car Seat Headrest - image © Pat O'Hara
Dune Rats or Tune Rats?
You didn’t blame the Dunies for their shambolic cover version; the shambles are part of their charm. No band has as much fun on stage, as evidenced by the champagne shoeys and inter-band gambling on audience interaction. They are more than just larrikins though; their latest song ‘Scott Green’ could be an enduring Aussie anthem in the way that The Angels ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’ is. It was the day’s biggest sing-along.
The odour of Hart’s Mill suggested Scott Green was everywhere. Their future is as bright as the burning embers of a spliff.
Glitter beards and the Empress has new clothes
Let’s be honest, the men do not put as much time into their outfits for Laneway as the women (apart from the two men I saw in dresses). Glitter-painted beards and the occasionally pea-cocking of an amusing headdress was as far as it went.
Among the women, though, the clearest trend to emerge this year is the see-through black skirt and black underpant ensemble. Who inspired this? Maybe Beyonce, maybe the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. For Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker, no clothes at all was the outfit of choice for a few, devoted female fans perched upon shoulders.Nick Murphy - image © Pat O'Hara
His dazzling lighting array and swag of hits was a fitting evening set for another year of Adelaide’s premiere indie-music festival of the calendar. In an era where festivals drop like flies, St Jerome’s buzzes along on a summer day every year with no spider web or can of Mortein in sight.All images in this review were taken at the 2017 Sydney Laneway event.