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Falls Festival, Lorne 2016-2017: The Tale of the Phoenix. Review by Kit

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Photos by Emma Jean Photography

On behalf of Music Injection we would like to send out our best wishes to the families and Friends of those who were injured both physically and psychologically in the stampede on night 3 of this years Falls Festival, may the road to recovery be as easy and as graceful as possible.

From celebration to chaos and back again, the Victorian leg of the 2016’s Falls Festival will certainly not be forgotten both by punters or festival holders for years to come. The festival certainly brought forward yet another year of huge artists who truly captured the hearts and minds of the crowd over the four days of non-stop music. My partner and I entered the seemingly endless road through Lorne’s National Park at 3.30pm after a two and a half hour Journey from the eastern suburbs to be greeted by a chipper volunteer.  The worker then informed us that the patron in front of us had been searched in the car search area for roughly an hour and thus we should be ready to wait a while. As so we began preparing for this mandatory dullness that would become the next hour. This was, until, we presented the worker with our VIP ticket. Oh how the red carpets rolled and oh how the situation changed and we were told that the car sear2ch was no longer necessary for us and we pull forward into the VIP campsite a few hundred meters down the road. At this campsite we were chaperoned in by yet another friendly worker happy to help us find the perfect spot for us to camp, and that they did. Under a beautiful tree just close enough to the exit but just far enough away that we didn’t have to deal with the local people traffic. We set up our tent, placed our camp chairs and prepared ourselves for what was to be our home for the next four days.

 

As the day drew to a close and the evening started to emerge we began to join the life of the festival at The Grand Stage for the first set of our weekend: Northeast Party House. This 5 piece powerhouse has all the key elements that are needed to make it in the Aus music scene, powering vocals (much like those of The Presets), catchy choruses, energy fuelled instrumentals and charisma on stage. I’m super exited to hear more from these guys in the future. From this point me and my partner sat around and watched a few tracks of Client Liaison’s set. As usual Client brought there classic 90’s Canberra feel to the stage sporting fake office palms and giant water dispensers. The seemed identical to the 2015 Splendour in the Grass set bah a few extra songs from there new album but honestly no complains because it’s always a grand ol time. After we sunk a few tins at the VIP lounge we decided to move upwards and onwards back to the grand stage for what I had hyped up in my mind as the most bizarre name/set on the line-up. Grandmaster Flash. Grandmaster Flash? Why is he here? Sure in the 70’s and 80’s he was a destroyer name with his flat cap and his freaky fresh flows but its 2016, what the hell is he going to do? Play ‘The Message’ and then make the crowd sit through an hour of deep cuts that one 50 year old in the fronts gonna froth over? Oh oh oh, how I was wrong and oh oh oh how I was stuffed with humble pie with a topping of awe. Papa Flash played a set of some of the most killer hip hop tracks to hit the needle over the last 30 years ranging from N****’s in Paris from Kanye West to Electric Relaxations by A Tribe Called Quest to Hip Hop Horray by Naughty By Nature (If you don’t know these tracks I suggest you check them out and also check ‘Yo self’). Truly a vicious set and one that I suggest seeing for any hip hop fan. After that we left on a high after I was convinced not to go and see hot dub time machine. This was taken with much gratitude as I heard the distant thumping of the much dreaded ‘wedding, graduation and all events between’ soundtrack being played featuring the brain numbing tracks we’ve all heard a thousand times. Yet for some reason the majority of the population still seems to identify these tracks as “my jam”. No it’s everyone’s jam, stop making me get up and dance to ‘Blame it on the Boogie’. Please.

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After a night of mildly claustrophobic but well needed sleep day 2 begun. Relaxing until the early hours of the afternoon, constantly having to ponder how close the next heap of summer rain was we eventually packed up camp and moved out. As we had no sets we were super keen for we decided to have a look at everything else that the festival had to offer, as expected it was pretty much the same sort of stuff every festival has to offer. Cool shirts at uncool prices, delicious food that I’m too broke to buy and of course enough mini disco’s and miscellaneous gypsy like stalls for me to gawk at and go ‘huh that’d be nice, how much? We’ll come back later thanks….. We’re not going back’. Before we knew it a set arrived to the main stage that raised my attention.  Illy, Aussie hip hip’s baby face, what can I say he really does know how to put on a show. He played all his big tracks and the crowd loved it. It’s not as if the experience lacked anything but it didn’t feel above and beyond any other hip hop show. A few cans down and a quick lunch break and the night drew nearer. We got the chance to catch the last few minutes of Fat Freddy’s Drop’s set. To get a crowd of that size to go nuts dancing to improvised reggae dub truly showed me why these guys got such a great set slot in the festival’s line-up. Now comes the exiting part of the festival for me. Ta-Ku and Childish Gambino. As a brief sidenote I should say that for roughly 4 to five years I’ve been trying to see both of these artist. Between not having enough money, not being old enough of having other events on the days of these guys’ sets the world has been cruel to me, but tonight was to be the night! Almost shaking with anticipation I stood at the barrier watching Ta-Ku set up his various synths and controllers. When the set began he narrated the crowd through his musical journey and began. I teared up as his soulful electronica radiated through me like a message for the soul. Truly a set that will stay in my heart as one of the special ones.

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From this soulful experience I felt emotionally limber enough to deal with the last set of the night for me. Childish Gambino a.k.a Donald Glover a.k.a Troy Barns a.k.a the one man that could turn me in an instant. As his band came on stage his voice echo’d out into the crowd like some sort of god. If we want to a person who goes all out and I mean ain’t nothing left withdrawn from the crowd than Childish Gambino is the name that’s going to come up. From start to finish it was like an ak47 to the brain just fire and flame without a pyro. I would rate it in my mind as the best set of the festival.

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Day three seemed pretty normal all in all, slow get up, relaxing at the camp site and a gentle ease into the day, we saw a few sets throughout the day but nothing stirred much craze in me the way the first two days did, sure there were some nice enjoyable set’s Matt Corby for one. The show was really relaxed and truly beautiful but nothing to really comment about. My partner and I left after his set to just relax at home until Violent Soho’s set.

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When I returned to the festival site the crowd seemed in mild shock. It was at this point that I found out about the stampede that had taken place. At the time it sounded as though one or two people had been injured but as the next morning arrived we found out more about the horrors of the night prior. Though most festival’s would call the night off, Falls Fest instead simply closed the stage off for the night and let all other plans go ahead. For a day of not much happening it certainly turned around 520° as London Grammar finished there set the crowd grew to a mind blowing level. A level that had accumulated of all the Violent Soho fans plus any other patron that didn’t want to sleep or had just found out there set for the night was cancelled. And my god was the crowd ready to bring the fire! As Soho began I thought it would be wise to move into the main mosh pit. That was the first mistake of the night, for the next hour I would spend my time trying to avoid the constant drunken crushes from inside the rowdiest pit I’d seen in a long time. I’m by no means hulk Hogan but I can usually stand for myself in a crowd, this pit just engulfed me like river rapids of human power, watching the smaller people in the crowd wash into the distance with the rest of the mindless mass of pushers. For the brief moments of relief with the swaying would stop the sound of Soho would just leave me in awe as the powered though the set with as much energy and charisma as Metallica playing an arena show. The set was by far the most powerful in regards to the chaos that you just could help be a part of.

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Day four was the recovery day for me. No more crazy hoopla, no more ‘quick lets run to this set no, just some good old slow observations of some cool sets. First of was Baro, Melbourne’s up and coming chill hop star, he played his set with a live band which was a nice little twist on what usually is just another hip hop set.  From there we watched Lemaitre who certainly got the crowd moving with their boppy mix of MIKA and Madeon sound. If you haven’t heard of them give them a go, defiantly worth a go. We than enjoyed a few sets from the main stage including Catfish and the Bottlemen and Pond. Both of which really were enjoyable but weren’t anything that shook me when it came to their stage presence, regardless great sets. Then came the time, the time falls is all about, the New Years Eve set. For Lorne we had the Avalanches. I wish I could say more than yeah it was alright, but I simply can’t. On one hand I found their use of live rapper to chant the samples that the band is so notorious for mildly tacky, and the fact that there was more focus on these rappers than the actual members of the Avalanches sort of off I still enjoyed the set. Really all I can say is yeah it was alright but hey why not, its New Years. Better to enjoy it than to say I had a crap time at the set.

Massive thanks to the team at Secret Service Public Relations for letting us review this Festival. One of the top Festivals in Australia and we were stoked to be part of it.

Fall’s is honestly a wonderful Festival, great people, great sets and hey it’s the last few days of the year, what more could you want than to be with those you love to be around and watching live music for four days. Although there were issues that clearly had a large impact on many it didn’t stop the festival from being an enjoyable experience for the rest of the punters. Great job Falls!

 

Highlight of Falls Festival for Kit: Childish Gambino

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Written by Kit Lindsey and Photos by Emma Jean Photography

Thanks to Secret Service Public Relations

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