Meredith Music Festival @ Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre, Meredith (Fri 12 – Sun 14 Dec 2014)
Meredith. Ah, Meredith.
As usual, it was a 5am departure from Melbourne for this. After some queueing and drinking in the morning sun, we were eventually set-up at camp by around 10am.
Wifeinator didn’t join us this year, as being 8 months pregnant she thought it best to stay home in the air con. Good move. It was the usual Meredith crew of a lot of old friends from when we lived in Brisbane. Werner was once again on this jaunt as well. As you may have read from the Midlake show, his wifey is up the duff as well so she also elected to steer clear of party party. Some mates that we went to Thailand with a few months back were across the track from our camp site too, so there were friends at every turn.
The more I go to Meredith, the more I realise I’ll probably never go back to Splendour In The Grass.
Apart from the obvious travel distances, Splendour has become such a commercialised event, that really is no different to a 3 day Big Day Out, which is pretty unappealing. 2014 was the first year since Splendour’s inception that I didn’t attend, and I didn’t miss it one bit. I’m definitely not going in 2015 either as I’ve just booked tickets to go to Hawaii right when it’s on. Obviously none of my old Splendour crew are too fussed by it anymore either, as most of them are coming to Hawaii.
Meredith also has the massive advantage of BYO. Although it makes things a lot cheaper, I’d also argue that it’s more socially responsible. Being that most other festivals are strictly not BYO (and I’m only picking on Splendour because I’ve been to so many), it makes it very tempting to smuggle as much hard alcohol in as possible. Beer and wine are difficult to smuggle in bulk, whereas spirits are not. Again, speaking from experience, my friends and I have smuggled a fair bit of vodka, bourbon etc into Splendour over the years. I’d like to think that most of my mates and I are pretty mature by this stage (Splendour started when we were in our mid 20s and we’re now all hovering around 40), but it’s hard not to notice the number of people who overdo it and are throwing up on themselves my midday on day 1. Do you know how many people generally do this at Meredith? None. I’m not even joking.
Give people the power to decide their own drinking habits, and more often than not they’ll do the right thing. Tell them they can’t do something, and they’ll smuggle 5 litres of vodka in and be fucked up by lunchtime.
So yes, my horse is higher than yours.
The Hard-Ons were great. The first time I saw these guys was in 1990 or 91 at Metropolis in Brisbane. It was my first real pub gig and they were playing with Red Kross and The Hummingbirds. What a killer lineup. Yummy is the main album I know of theirs and none of my faves from that were played today at Meredith. They played Don’t Wanna See You Cry which is a fave, but not on Yummy (was on Dickcheese). Back in the 90s, they were a three piece, with Blackie on drums and vocals- now he’s just on vocals. Oddly, he was offstage for a lot of the show, while the guitarist sang. This was mainly evident in the new songs. Is Blackie leaving The Hard-Ons? He did a smashing moonwalk and a few cartwheels at the end of the set while taking pics of the crowd with his iPhone.
Blank Realm was an unknown for me, but turned out to be pretty good. Great synthy pop with a drummer vocalist.
I don’t recall Teeth & Tongue at this time, and am pretty sure it’s because I was back at camp.
I’ll be honest, I saw Mark Lanagan a few years ago somewhere and he bored the piss out of me. Today he was brilliant. Jeff Fielder on guitar was fantastic and I swear Lanagan was channelling Johnny Cash. They covered the Bond classic “You Only Live Twice”, which was pretty cool. Apparently I told myself to tell you that there was too much guitar wank at the end of it though.
Sleep was probably the heaviest band I’ve seen in a while. The kick drum felt like a hammer smashing an iron pick into my temple. Brilliant.
Funny story. When the line-up was announced that Meredith was having The War On Drugs, some friends decided to boycott. Later they learned that the press release was referring to a band, not an actual war. They ended up coming along and there was no war. So, The War On Drugs were great. The excesses of the night were kicking in around now….
Go and see The Bombay Royale. Brilliant.
At some point Jagwar Ma went from a band I kinda wanted to see, to being one of my favourite acts. I remember missing them at Splendour a few years ago and not being all that cut up about it. Holy shit this band is great.
Yup. Dance. While high. To Factory Floor.
James Holden. See above.
I went to bed around 5am and woke up at 8am on Saturday. Needless to say the morning didn’t go well.
City of Ballarat Municipal Brass Band did their always excellent job of starting Saturday with a warm chuckle. I think this years opener was the main title theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Our campsite this year was a lot closer to the action, which made it much easier to justify not going to the stage to actually see some of the bands, when staying put and listening to them seemed adequate at the time.
Tiny Ruins sounded good from the campsite. I’d previously seen them support Calexico. Not bad. Nice.
I’ve never been a Mia Dyson fan, and I really thought after the first song I was going to change my mind. By the second song, the whole campsite was regretting being so close to the stage. Awful. I’m not saying I agree with the statement, but I did hear someone describe it as “Cats being stretched over a hot iron.”
I decided I needed more sleep so crawled into the back of the van and slept through most of The Harpoons, although what I did hear was pleasant from memory.
Phosphorescent. This is my biggest regret of the weekend. Both Werner and I had seen them at Harvest 2011, and had become instant fans. Unfortunately, we were both far too wrecked from the night before to make it to the stage. I am also going to further justify this by saying that the amphitheatre doesn’t have a hell of a lot of shade, and the temperature was nudging 35 degrees C (95F for our American friends). Having said that, it sounded fucking sensational from where we were sitting, which wasn’t that far from the stage, really.
Cloud Nothings were a surprise. From what little I’ve heard, I didn’t think I’d like them, but by God they write some really good, catchy rock.
As the hangover started to subside, we decided we could make it to the stage. The sun was still well and truly out, but as The Public Opinion Afro Orchestra came to the stage, it was apparent it would be worth it.
Ghostface Killah was good I think. I don’t really know any of his stuff, nor that of Wu-Tang Clan, but I enjoyed the set. Some of our compadres were disappointed that some tracks weren’t played, or that mixes of others weren’t up to snuff. I guess you can’t please everyone, Ghostface.
Painters and Dockers were awful.
I went back to camp and slept through Augie March. Would like to have seen them, but they were the perfect music to nod off to sleep to.
Ty Segall was pretty eclectic and way heavier than I expected.
Skatelites were way more chilled than I expected.
De La Soul were to be expected. There was a little too much stopping and starting of the songs, as well as “put your hands up” “yo yo” etc. But that’s what a De La Soul show’s all about I guess. Pretty much the same as when we saw them support Gorillaz a few years back. Either way, a pretty cool way to end the night, and Werner’s a big fan and loved it.
Dr Phil Smith played an irritating DJ set. Some great tunes in there, but they kept cutting off halfway through.
Bailed and was in bed by 2am.
Being that I hardly drank on Saturday made Sunday a little more human.
Krakatau were great. We listened as we started the task of packing up to go home, and then headed down to the stage for Marlon Williams. This guy is all that. Wifeinator is a big fan from what she’d heard on RRR, so she’d told me to make the effort to go and see him, and I’m bloody glad I did.
Jen Cloher was our soundtrack for breaking camp. The tents were coming down, the marquis collapsed and the leftover food being divvied.
Evan Dando is fucking hilarious. The Lemonheads opened with Dando playing Outdoor Type and then Into Your Arms solo, before Courtney Barnett appeared on stage for a beautiful duet of Being Around. The rest of the band took the stage as Barnett left, and they played a rollicking set of faves.
I’d never hung around at a Meredith long enough for The Meredith Gift. Being that I’d stuck around for The Lemonheads, I figured I may as well see this too. Lots of naked people running around the ‘Sup was pretty funny to see. I didn’t take photos because weird.
We went back to camp and finished the packup while Sun God Replica flayed us with their horrible rock. Pretty good band to close the show with really, as no-one was interested in hanging around. The sooner we could get out, the sooner we could get away from them.
So yes, Meredith 2014 was an unequivocal success for me. With a new baby on the way, who can tell when I’ll be back, but it certainly won’t be soon enough.
Thanks again, Aunty Meredith.
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