Did anyone else experience massive pangs of, ‘Waaaaaaah, this shoulda been our annual Splendour bender!’ over the weekend?
In order to cope, repeat Splendour offender Bryget Chrisfield found comfort in donning gum boots (actually!) and trudging down – traditionally muddy – Memory Lane (RELAX! Just beside the house, obvs, because Melbourne’s back in lockdown!) to revisit five unparalleled highlights from the festival that launched way back in 2001.
As soon as it was announced that OutKast would be one of Splendour 2014’s headliners, those lucky enough to snap up tickets already knew they would experience a festival ‘moment’ to treasure forever: Hey Ya! sung/celebrated en masse in amongst the guaranteed-loose vibe of North Byron Parklands amphitheatre. And you better believe it was all about shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture! Close runner-up standout moments from their set: Ms. Jackson (“I am for reeeeeeeeeal!”), Roses (“… really smell like poo-oo-ooh”) and B.O.B. (Bombs Over Baghdad).
After Frank Ocean sang a hole into one of his vocal cords during his Melbourne sideshow and was therefore forced to cancel his 2013 Splendour In The Grass appearance at the 11th hour, the hustle to find a last-minute replacement was real! But what a genius move it was to slot a then-16-year-old Lorde into the Sunday, 5.30pm timeslot (which resulted in the acts booked to appear later on the Supertop stage advanced closer to headliner status). The Kiwi newcomer performed a half-hour set off the back of the release of her The Love Club EP and thrilled the masses. Check out Baby Lorde’s adorable pre-Splendour premiere interview here:
What So Not, 2016
During What So Not’s set inside Mix Up Tent, the illustrious Daniel Johns was invited onstage to completely pull focus for a while (even shredding out Silverchair’s Freak – boy sure can play guitar, which we’d somehow forgotten!) and what ensued goes down in history as Worst Case Of FOMO Ever for those watching at home. This live pairing proved so popular that they reunited for Laneway 2019, but imagine being present the very first time Daniel emerged from that coffin prop labelled “Freak Show” when exactly no one expected it! The resulting frisson should’ve been bottled and sold (I’ll take a baker’s dozen, thanks).
Furthermore, we’re totally here for Daniel’s comedically exaggerated white jodhpurs and bright-pink-plumey shoulder pads – so Willy-Wonka-meets-Dame-Edna-Everage-at-Melbourne Cup!
FYI: Johns features on two What So Not tracks: Be Ok Again and If You Only Knew.
As the first electronic act to ever headline Splendour In The Grass, Moby closed out the main stage in full-band mode with singer Laura Dawn a prized asset. Within Moby’s marvellous set (which drew heavily from his hit-filled Play album) he included a cover of AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long – a masterstroke (even if you think he’s a knob).
Florence + The Machine, 2010
We heard it was a life-changing set, but unfortunately such was the demand to see Florence + The Machine that all paths leading to the Amphitheatre stage had to be closed before she even hit the stage, and we were locked out! Not happy, Flo’! And to add insult to injury, Dog Days Are Over sounded NUTS (“Run fast for your mother and fast for your father/ Run for your children for your sisters and brothers… THE DOG DAYS ARE o-VA-her…”) from the Gold Bar (VIP)!
Close But No (Grass) Cigar
Here are our honourable mentions: Devo’s 2008 set – during which Booji Boy came out onstage for a boogie – is followed by a tie between The Cure (“Whenever I’m alone with you/ You make me feel like I am free again…” – *sobs uncontrollably remembering freedom*) and Fat White Family’s completely naked frontman, both in 2016.
Wait! Remember back in 2006 when the Mystery Act was The Vines? And what about when Tina Arena ‘crashed’ Client Liaison’s set to perform Sorrento Moon/Teardrops in 2017!?