Live Review: Splendour in the Grass Festival – Byron Bay (27 – 29.07.2017)

Friday
The site was muddy when punters walked in and despite the sun shining; we were later hit by a storm. Rain came out of nowhere, followed by 20 minutes of hail. The sun was back as quickly as it had left, leaving most confused and some drenched by what happened.

Howler won new fans in the Super Top, possibly because of the very “happy” girl who joined them on stage and managed to escape security by dancing away.

Spiderbait played all the hits we were dying to hear, including ‘Old Man Sam’, ‘Calypso’ and ‘Buy Me A Pony’.
The Shins wowed everyone with their harmonies and lyrics, before At The Drive-In impressed the fans that had traveled long and far to see their only Australian show.

But Jack White was the real star. The set featured sing-along goodness with ‘Hotel Yorba’, a romantic moment with ‘Love Interruption’ and rocking riffs with the closer ‘Seven Nation Army’. The crowd chanted the famous bass line long after Jack White and his band walked off stage. His male band, Los Buzzardos, played the first half and then left to make way for his female band The Peacocks.

Saturday
Day two saw the site a little less muddy but just as crowded as the day before. Band of Skulls played a rocking set and drew a huge crowd that yelled every word of ‘The Devil Takes Care of His Own’ along with them.

Miike Snow played their complicated arrangements with such enthusiasm it was hard not to smile. Everything sounded great until the microphone stopped working during ‘Paddling Out’. This was forgiven when they played ‘Animal’.

Bloc Party jumped on stage with new track ‘3×3’ but it was old hits ‘Positive Tension’, ‘Helicopter’ and ‘Banquet’ that had the crowd moving to end the night.

Sunday
Sunday brought more bands to choose from and less energy to use.
Father John Misty played an electrifying set and was very under-appreciated over on the GW McLennan stage. His eccentricity and passion made the set my surprise highlight of the weekend.

The Kooks were disturbed later in the night, when a guy climbed up the pole in the Super Top and then stayed there until security forced him to get down three songs into their set.

The Smashing Pumpkins arrived on stage early. Their hits came loud and fast but the best moment was hearing thousands of people scream: “Justine never knew the rules,” in ‘1979’. The guitar solos in ‘Cherub Rock’ and ‘Ava Adore’ were face-melting and just when we thought they were finished, they played a cover of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’.

Splendour in the Grass would benefit from going to back to basics in the Belongil site. There simply wasn’t enough room for the shops and food stalls that were added. The festival’s saving grace was the music, which is exactly how it should be.


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