February 11th, 2011 at Flock House, Bulls
Day 1 started with a series of laid back acts, Melbourne-based loop-pedallist Great Earthquake the first official performer on a little embankment near the campus’s stagnant pond. Christchurch’s Wet Wings followed with their own beautiful, haunting songs. The core duo of Darian and Lucy were flanked by Jon Lemmon on keys, the trio giving a very stripped down and percussion free performance.
I missed quite a bit of the brunch slots (including Portland, Oregon’s The Ocean Floor) for the sake of acquiring more food, but I did make it back in time to see one of the highlights of the Festival – Melbourne based Parking Lot Experiments. I’d describe them (at least live) as an incredibly upbeat Dodo’s; and a whole lot of fun.
Scul Hazzards played another brutal set before Liam Finn hit the main (assembly) stage, backed by his brother Elroy on drums. I felt this line-up change didn’t really suit Liam’s music; he seemed more drawn to playing in a drawn-out manner; and without the explosive effect of his loop-station performances. Ah well.
Auckland-based Kitsunegari were anything but drawn out, however they were a complete shambles; with a broke guitar half-way through their first song! The group are a new and young outfit comprised of at least one former Bandicoot.
The first pool act I got to see were the exceptionally cutesy James Duncan and Chelsea Jade (also of The Teacups), with lovely, wispy vocals by Chelsea and the occasional Suicide-style synthy bit from James.
Missed a few more acts as the day got hotter, venturing around Campus and exploring the likes of the gym and the main camping area before I caught awesome duo Coasting in the barn. I was completely unaware former Coolies drummer Fiona Campbell has been drumming for the Vivian Girls, and here she was whipping up a storm with fellow Brooklynite Madison Farmer. Nice tight, surfy songs. Cool Cool.
Melbourne 4-piece Tantrums seemed a little more gothy than their recordings give on, but they seemed to have some nice, relaxed electronicky stuff.
Speaking of Electronic music; former garden city lad Pikachunes tore it up with great big anthems in the pool; I really dig the likes of video indie-hit ‘Just a Boy‘, and found myself singing it most of the night.
Sharpie Crows are the opposite of an electronic band, though now their drummers gone their frontman Sam Bradford was behind a drum machine type thing while his bandmates wailed behind him. Holy heck how much does that guitar fella tremble?
I missed Wellington’s Secret Knives, the photogenic Perth act Pond were unmemorable, and I can’t say CTrix is my favourite chip-tune artist (despite using a trusty old Amiga for the majority of his sounds), but it was certainly shaping up to be a great night with High Places and Toro Y Moi (and others) to come.
…However I kinda flaked a bit on the first day night. I did manage to catch High Places, who had some odd sound issues and a bit of a disjointed feel. Nice stuff but not quite the same as their Christchurch show with Dan Deacon a while back.
I briefly saw the rather preppy Melbournites Butcher Blades breaking out some dance beats in the pool, but missed Sydney’s Royal Headache in the barn catching some AMAZING Karaoke near the bike sheds. Shit got serious when a karaokist fell head first out of the van, monitor beneath them! Ah well!
There was no way I was gonna miss Toro Y Moi on the main stage. Chaz was really getting in to the swing of things around camp; lining up for morning cafe bites, attending the DIY synth workshop and generally chilling out – pretty appropriate considering how chill his music is. Great support band too; playing a really relaxed but funky set – a great way to end an evening.
Yeah I’m a piker, I didn’t catch any of the late night acts (Captain Ahab, Trjaeu and Delaney Davidson) or the Wellington Hip-Hop party (Tommy Ill, Totems, Crackhouse 5) in the gym, but the next day would proof to be a real beaut.