The gorgeous country Victorian farm of Chris, Mary and the late Jack Nolan once again mighty-morphed into the setting of Australia’s best music festival, Golden Plains, this past long weekend. With beloved niche acts alongside belter headliners, these were my favourite bits of GP ’18.
Tropical F-ck Storm
If it was 35 degrees it was 100 as the first magpie out of the coop, Tropical F-ck Storm, took the stage at 2pm. I squished determinedly down the front just out of the shady area and was sweating bullets in seconds – but I’m glad I did it, because Gareth Liddiard, Fiona Kitschin (both of The Drones), Lauren Hammel (High Tension) and Erica Dunn (Harmony/Palm Springs) played Best Song Of 2016 Taman Shud amongst the swollen, lordly guts of their TFS tracks. The album’s out May 4.
Ginger waif genuis Archy Marchall was noticeably more vocal (banter-wise) than at his Croxton headliner last week; “It’s great to beeee here!” he wailed in a little sing-song, introduced Dum Surfer with “This one’s from The Ooooooooz!” and even playfully changed up the lyrical beats in Easy Easy’s verses. Neat.
Izzi Manfredi acknowledged the Aboriginal land on which we were standing and urged us to take care of it and do what’s right by its original owners, before The Preatures’ performance of Yanada. The track’s lyrics are partly sung in the Dharug language, and the whole was written over the course of 18 months during visits and collaboration with the Darug people (note the spelling difference). The song promotes the importance of Indigenous language and the band’s aim was to use their platform to raise awareness of disappearing Indigenous dialects and, of course, wider Aboriginal culture.
[Getting down to Since I Left You]
There were several extra Avalanches on stage for the Saturday night headline slot, but that’s cool – it makes a damn fine difference having a vocalist bust out those parts instead of resting on the sample laurels. The usually-two-piece performed cuts from both 2016’s Wildflower and their 2000 debut Since I Left You, finishing on a slower, more deliberate version of the track of the same name. Very cool.
There is just no better way to float across the ‘Sup with breakfast wraps in your eyes than to the tunes of Leah Senior. She did Pretty Faces, she did You Were Not Fit For The Day, she was a magical, elfin folk-queen. <3<3
I have to admit I was somehow back at the campsite during Jen Cloher’s set, which is something I’ll obviously regret for the rest of my stupid days, but I absolutely heard and adored Sensory Memory (from her self-titled album of 2017) as I was hurriedly changing my socks/shoving grapes in my maw/hurling ice towards the the esky/whatever task it was that separated me from this unspeakably talented artist.
I think this basically indicates what the Ghanian danceman’s set was like. Those people didn’t know one another, by the way, I don’t think.
Opening his evening set with a frankly marvellous rendition of Yothu Yindi’s Treaty, Indigenous wunderkind Baker Boy proved he’s as rad live as on the frothed-over recorded singles he’s released over the last 10 months (beginning with Cloud9 in May last year). Some of the inter-MC hype-ups were a wee bit dorky (the reciprocal “Let’s give it up for…” hollers came off weirdly polite, like when you compliment someone’s outfit and they immediately say “You look great too!”) but it didn’t take away from the synchronised dances moves, the impressive flow, and the hair-raising sound of this young man singing his heart out in Yolngu Matha language. Also, Marryuna got my boot of the weekend, and it looked like a ton of people agreed with me.
[A legendary lady in Carmen Miranda headpiece; A smart way to ensure no one trips on ya sticks; Boots up for Baker Boy’s Marryuna]
The big American dawg made a note of saying how weird it was to have come from Georgia, where it was apparently 7 in the morning, and pop out on-stage in the middle of the night to a heaving crowd. He’d clearly had his Weet-Bix ’cause the set shot off in a very proper fashion with Outkast classics So Fresh, So Clean and Miss Jackson. I got really excited when he said “There’s my entourage” because I misheard that last word as “Andre”, which was obviously too delightful to be true, but I got over it to the sounds of All Right (from last year’s Boomiverse), Ghetto Musick, and The Way You Move (both from Outkast’s 2003 classic Speakerboxxx/The Love Below).
Thank you Nolans, thank you music, thank you neature. Here’s to next year’s lucky 13!