Meredith Music Festival @ Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith (Fri 9 Dec 2011 – Sun 11 Dec 2011)
After a fairly late night on Thursday from the Explosions In The Sky gig, I decided to hit the snooze button a few times before getting underway to Meredith 2011. We picked up our friends who were riding with us down, and the Hiace set off. The traffic was surprisingly good until the turn after the Meredith pub, where we sat in gridlock for the next hour or so.
As they say in the classics, “It’s all fun and games until someone losses an eye”, which no-one did, but a few of the kids in the cars in front were certainly going a bit stir-crazy and were starting to ride on the tops of their cars, giving beer bongs to the drivers etc. Yeah, ok, I’m old but it did seem pretty stupid, especially when there was a surge of traffic and a few idiots decided to stay on top of the car while it sped off at around 60km/h. All’s well that ends well though, and we made it through the gates eventually, and everyone in front seemed to survive.
As it turned out, one of our crew’s girlfriends had left Melbourne two hours after us, and beat us there by half an hour. Turns out she knew a back entrance and missed the gridlock between the pub and the festival entrance. Next year I’ll be sleeping in and car-pooling with her.
Camp was set up, and one of our crew even managed to bring along a Christmas tree to help us all get a bit festive.
We’d not been to Meredith since 2009, and that last one was absolutely freezing, so for this one, we packed heavy. Every single coat, scarf and beanie we had was packed. It became quite evident once we got there that this year was not going to be so cold. Most of the days the temperature hovered around 28-32 degrees C, and at night it only got down to about 15.
After camp was setup, we sumarily got down to the business of the day: drinking. By the time King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard went on at 4pm, we were fairly well pissed. I wasn’t a huge fan of their music, but could see why some are. It was as I expected it to be, aimless rock (in the vain of The Drums and bands like that), but a little heavier. Not at all bad, but not really my cup of tea. I was really only interested in Explosions In The Sky on the Friday.
I missed Cash Savage and The Last Drinks, ironically, because we went back to camp to get more drinks. We heard Unknown Mortal Orchestra from camp, and they sounded pretty good- bummed I didn’t get to actually see them.
Kurt Vile & The Violators was a band I knew absolutely nothing about, and from the name, was pretty sure I was going to hate them.
I thought they were damned good, and not at all what I was expecting. Once of my friends there is quite a fan and saw both of their sideshows in Melbourne over the previous 2 nights, and said the Meredith show wasn’t up to par with the others, Sounds good, and I’ll definitely see them next time they’re in Melbourne.
Next up was what I’d been waiting for, Explosions In The Sky.
Tonights set was a lot shorter than Thursday’s show at The Forum. Once again, I didn’t get First Breath After Coma, and they didn’t play Your Mind In Mine either (which wifey was particularly bummed about as she wasn’t at the show on Thursday). It was still a sensational show, and there were many shoes in the air. It’s somewhat of a tradition at Meredith to hold your shoe in the air if you think a performance to be outstanding. I have no idea where the tradition came from, but it’s a good one.
Here’s a particularly good shot of EITS by Ben Loveridge:
Barbarion was up next. Balls to the wall rock. Didn’t float my boat at all, to the point that I actually had a lie down and had a nap when they were on.
I decided after Barbarion that I’d had enough and went back to camp to sleep. I stayed up and had a drink while listening to Ladyhawke, which did sound particularly good.
I had wanted to stay up for Future Of The Left, as one of my best mates is a huge fan, but alas, I didn’t make it and slept a very sound sleep.
The next morning was Saturday. The toilet and shower queues were as long as could be expected, and I had the pleasure of listening to The Ballarat Municipal Brass Band as I waited for a warm shower.
I only heard a little of Oscar + Martin from the campgrounds, and enjoyed it quite a bit.
We made it back to the amphitheatre in time for the Rechords, whose rock n roll swagger made me smile- very tight band with some great tunes.
They certainly put me in a good mood and the hangover from the night before started to fade away.
Adalita was up next. Armed with a floor tom and a guitarist, she played a lovely, yet sombre set to bring in the afternoon. I’ve heard bits and pieces of her solo album, and have liked what I’ve heard. After seeing this set, I’ll be off to the record store tomorrow to buy it.
Off! really didn’t do it for me. All swagger Americana punk with a holier-than-thou attitude which really shits me. I can’t describe it any better than that really.
It was time to go for a wander and do some people watching.
Ok, you’re right, that’s enough of the people watching.
I didn’t realise I actually knew a bit of Joelistics from the radio. Good stuff. Had a dance, had a few more drinks. The afternoon was shaping up nicely.
I briefly saw Black Joe Lewis at Splendour this year, and was stoked to see them again. Great funky show and a must see band if you ever get the opportunity.
I don’t remember seeing Graveyard Train, so am guessing I didn’t.
Mudhoney was next. They were good. Not great, not shit. Pretty on par with what I’ve always found Mudhoney to be.
Icehouse were a crackup. It would be more than 20 years since I’ve seen them (pretty sure I saw them at Expo 88 when I was a kid). They were tight and damned good.
Cut/Copy were another band that I’d seen a few months prior at Splendour. Great set and full of awesome energy. Unfortunately for me, my age and alcohol consumption was getting the better of me.
After Cut/Copy, I decided it was high time for a nap, so lay down and had an extremely good sleep on the hill. My crew woke me for Grinderman, which I got up and watched for a couple of songs and then decided that was it for me, and back to camp I stumbled.
The next morning we figured we’d pack up camp before doing anything, and by the time that was done, it was decided to just get in the cars and bail back to Melbourne.
Meredith is one of my favourite festivals by far. The fact that it’s BYO makes a massive difference to the wallet, and the vibe of it is indescribable to this who haven’t been. Sure, you’re never going to see massive artists like Coldplay or Kanye West at Meredith, but do you really care? One thing I love about festivals is discovering new music, and at somewhere like Meredith, it’s a lot easier to do than at something like Splendour or Big Day Out. An added bonus is that, chances are, any new bands you discover are local, so you’ll be able to see them again fairly regularly.
I’m still undecided whether to go to Golden Plains or not, but I’d say there’s a bloody good chance you’ll see me at Meredith 2012.
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