By Poppy Tohill
Date / Venue: Monday February 1st, 2016 - Silo Park, Auckland
It's no Auckland Anniversary weekend without dancing your feet off, screaming your lungs out and sweating your face off, at Silo Park for Auckland's Laneway Festival. Later discovering your patches of sunburn, no matter how much sunblock you put on and reapplied!
Light winds and patches of rain had a few people holding their breath the morning of, but disappearing right in time, the sun came out in full force just as Auckland's most promising new act (and a personal favourite of mine), Leisure kicked off the party on the Mysterex stage, with their infectious, falsetto hooks.
Taking into account it was Laneway's final blast at the Silo Park venue, (before re-locating next year), they undoubtedly ensured they gave it their all, doing just that indeed. Seemingly not as over-crowded as I remember last year's sold out run of the festival being, the more spacious approach, and increased number of shaded tent areas was greatly appreciated by many happy festival-goers, including myself.
With the diverse line-up of the festival, a diverse crowd followed, however the hipsters, hippies, indie folk and banana costumes were still out in full force, adding to that classic Laneway atmosphere we all love and know so well.
There were many, but here are the highest of the highs, just for you!
One of the best things at a music festival is watching an artist perform and being able to tell they, 1. honestly want to be there, and, 2. are having the time of their lives. Both of these were very obvious when it came to Goldlink's set on the Mysterrex stage. He was there for a good time and he didn't mind who knew it.
An energetic crowd gathered as he ran from one side of the stage to the other spitting raps of his own, before inserting some Snoop Dogg, DMX, Chet Faker and even a dose of Nirvana into the mix, happily enthusing the crowd whose sea of hands stayed bolt up right, whilst jumping around, in the air until the very end.
Energy, enthusiasm, talent and great crowd banter, Goldlink certainly had it all.
Full of delight and energy, the crowd instantly fell in love with Shamir. The delicate, high melodic vocals of the Las Vegas gender-neutral were poignant and intriguing, not to mention undeniably dance-worthy as the crowd boogied their way through his entire set. Crowd favourite and single ‘On The Regular' blasted on a whole other level, met with massive cheers of recognition and excitement from the audience.
Obviously shy but loving every minute of it, the greatest moment was when Shamir's venture into the crowd, which began as he hopped off the stage to dance with a group of fans, somehow escalated to him being hoisted up into crowd-surfing. His charm and sense of style shone the brightest throughout his performance and it became almost impossible to tell who was having more of a good time, Shamir himself, or the audience. Both had smiles the size of the Cheshire cat, it was magical.
Head-banging and moshing between the silo's in the Thunderdome was exactly what these Australian grunge rockers, along with their abundance of fans had clearly come to do and in the most absolutely insane, but best of ways. Celebrating the release of their latest single ‘Viceroy' on this very day, there's no doubt these guys know how to rock, putting on one hell of an entertaining performance not only musically, but stage presence wise too.
As a favourite from last years Laneway, there was no way I was missing Miss Barnett's performance on the Hey Seuss stage in the early evening. It's often said, ‘Barnett and her band never disappoint,' and I am yet to be proven wrong about this. Her infectious energy, passion and easy-going persona makes it impossible for you not to like her and enjoy her incredible talents, as she and her band mates thrash their instruments as equally as impressive as one another. The large crowd gathered were obviously fans, clapping, dancing and in some cases, also singing along, throughout her whole set. Pulling out numerous favourites, ‘Pedestrian At Best,' 'Dead Fox', and ‘Small Poppies' along the way, my personal highlight was Barnett's latest single ‘Three Packs A Day,' another of her exceptionally clever, quirky and relatable songs.
Hands down my favourite performance from the whole day. While I'm possibly the exact target audience for such an artist, I for some reason have always considered myself a fan of Grimes, without really listening to much of her music. Who will ever know why, I don't know, but now it doesn't matter, because I can outright say, with backing evidence, that I am a fan. Claire Boucher (Grimes) is one hell of an impressive powerhouse and I now understand why she has been likened to those such as Bjork. Boucher's petite body is overflowing with power, talent and energy all which she effortlessly showed off throughout her set on the Mysterex Stage. A talented DJ, ‘SCREAM' was a definite highlight, as she bopped around the stage singing a song in Russian, whilst also managing to make a piercing scream work in such a way it was an asset to the song. Accompanied by some exceptionally vibrant back-up dancers, who added to the whole show and certainly knew how to encourage the crowd to move were yet another nice touch to Grimes' impressively vivacious performance.
Having endured Chvrches slightly awkward performance at Laneway last year, I'm pleased to announce that as a band they've all become considerably more confident when it comes to performing on stage, especially front-woman Lauren Mayberry. And their own comfort shone bright throughout their entire set. Spectacular neon lights supplemented this pop-extravaganza as they bounced from tune to tune. While I'd call myself a fan of both their older work and newer work, they do need to be careful before everything starts sounding the same, but all in all, they had the crowd on their feet, moving erratically as they danced in time with Mayberry, who I was pleased to see didn't hide from showing off her energy and vocal talents, this time. Certainly pin-pointing a great live set, Chvrches have obviously, and to their credit, worked hard in getting to this point and for that alone they deserve a big round of applause.
As the night wore on and the day was nearing an end it was time for the man of the moment and headliner, Flume. With a gigantic screen behind him with sequenced belts of flashing lights and digitalised images, the crowd were entirely entranced by the producer as he delivered an impressive and exhilarating set. Dropping a succession of his collaborations and solo work to the eager audience, it was his unique dance-twist of Lorde's ‘Tennis Court' that truly ignited the audience as he beckoned, "Give it up for your girl Lorde." Bouncing around his desk, the crowd continued to bounce along in unison, expressing their sheer adoration for the talented man. "Happy Anniversary Auckland!" he later yells over a crescendo of drum and bass - the Silo's of Laneway echoing their response for the very last time.
So, thank you Laneway. It was indeed yet another successful and fantastic day filled with many new musical discoveries, enjoyed by one and all. See you next year!