Let’s start with the music.
I now consider myself pretty lucky that I managed to catch most of The Basics set. Looking dapper in matching Beatles suits, Melbourne’s finest purveyors of old time rock ‘n’ roll played a fantastic (and VERY well received) set in the Hopetoun tent. The band, which features Wally de Backer of Gotye on drums/vocals, played through EP tracks as well as a cover of The Kinks classic ‘All Day and All of the Night’. They may just be my new favourite band. Expect to be hearing much more from these guys next year.
Download: Call It Rhythm & Blues
Next up we worked our way over to the Dome Stage to check out British India. I had only heard ‘The Time’ from their last EP which I liked but didn’t particularly love. I pretty much felt the same about their live show as it never really grabbed me. That said, they have a lot of energy on stage and they play well beyond their years. Their debut album drops next year so they are another band I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from.
Next up under the Big Top were Midnight Juggernauts. I think I’m too old to really get into the whole electro/dance scene because a few years ago I think I would have loved Midnight Juggernauts. Their set got everyone bouncing along and they probably should have been given a later timeslot. But does anyone else find that nearly every damn song of their’s sounds the same? The vocals and beats never seemed to offer up anything new from one track to the next. I guess it’s just dance music though so maybe a totally irrelevant criticism.
Then came the part of the day where no one was playing that I really cared about. Out of pure curiosity we checked out a couple songs by Toni Collette and The Finish. Nothing to write home about. How odd that Augie March is pretty much her backing band. Two songs into her set it started to rain. Hard. Lightning and thunder…we scattered for cover under the Big Top (stupid move as we should have just run to the Hopetoun tent for Tucker B’s) and endured Infusion. They sucked. Then we stayed under the Big Top for Wolf & Cub. I’m not really a fan but they weren’t as bad as I remember them being the last time I saw them. Still not really my thing but they do their big rock thing quite well.
The main reason we hung out for Wolf & Cub was to be sure we had a decent spot for Gotye’s one and only Sydney show this year. Unfortunately assembling the stage took ages and Gotye had to perform a shortened set which was kind of disappointing considering how much I was looking forward to this (pretty much the reason I even bought a ticket). That said Wally somehow managed to succesfully turn a record full of samples into an engaging live show featuring a string quartet, drums, guitars and bass (provided by his buddies in The Basics), keyboards, samples, and live visuals. I’m not sure but I think he was pretty blown away to have ‘Heart’s A Mess’ sung back to him by an incredibly enthusiastic crowd. Come back to Sydney soon!
I then made my way through the rain to the Hopetoun tent (the only part of the festival not populated by idiots) to catch New Zealand’s Die! Die! Die!. Towards the end of their first song the power in the tent died. After about 15 minutes the band returned to the stage for one of the more intense live punk shows I’ve seen. It was fast, loud, aggressive, and a tad sloppy at times but the band poured themselves out on stage. I’ve been told by someone that they’re the hardest working band around – I understand that now. You may want to check them out at Spectrum this Friday if you’re in Sydney.
Next up was Augie March on the Dome Stage. On the way over I stopped by to check out a few songs by The Vines. I’m not really in a position to judge their set by just a few songs but they sounded pretty terrible. Augie March were Augie March. Despite the fact they were at a festival they still found time to start/stop songs and spend an hour tuning a guitar. They opened their set with ‘Vernoona’ and ended with ‘The Hole in Your Roof’ which were the two big highlights for me. ‘One Crowded Hour’ was also pretty great as the crowd sang along loudly into the night.
After Augie March wrapped up I had no reason to stay as none of the headliners were all that ‘must see’ and I was pretty sick of people by that point so I made my way home. Now for the bitching. The lineups to get into the festival were RIDICULOUS. When you are running a one-day festival no one should have to wait in line more than 30 minutes to get in. We showed up at 11:00 and didn’t make it in until about 12:20 which meant we missed Young and Restless who were one of about three artists I was really excited to see. Other people I spoke to who got there a bit later said they were in line for nearly two hours. Unacceptable. I’ve been to Coachella, Big Day Out, Glastonbury, The Great Escape and numerous festivals in Canada and never have I seen such a poor job done on getting people into a festival. People told me it’s not normally like that at Homebake so I’m wondering what went wrong yesterday. And next year I think I should have the authority to eject jackasses from the premises. Just a thought. And this won my “T-Shirt of the Day” contest (I’m the tosser in the hat):