Splendour In The Grass @ Belongil Fields, Byron Bay (Fri 27 Jul – Sun 29 July 2012)

went to this 11 years ago

Well, my favourite festival of the year is once more upon us.

Having been to every one so far, it wasn’t a hard decision that I’d be going to this one as well. I was curious what it’d be like back in Byron Bay after two years at Woodford, and although the lineup wasn’t the strongest, it was enough to get me to shell out the cash and make the journey north once more. Well, to be honest, it was the announcement that it would be Explosions In The Sky‘s only Australian show that pushed me over the line.

I was also pretty stoked that the wife was keen on joining me this year. Out of twelve of these things, I think this was going to be her sixth.

When it was announced that camping would be off-site this year, we hastily booked a site at the campground across the road from the festival site, the same place wifey and I had stayed for Splendour 2007. Turns out that was a great move as the queues for the shuttle buses to the off-site camping were out of control, but more on that later. It was also a great move, as our campground let you bring alcohol in, which the official Splendour campsite didn’t. There was also this:

which I daresay ruined a few people’s weekends.

Afghan Whigs at Melbourne airport

Afghan Whigs at Melbourne airport

It was obviously Splendour time when we arrived at Tullamarine- the kids were out in force in their party gear, and there seemed to be no end of drums and guitars strewn across the baggage areas.

The Afghan Whigs were there, but weren’t on our flight- guessing they were going to the Gold Coast or Ballina.

After some dramas with late flights and a horrendous queue at the campervan hire place in Brisbane, we eventually made it to our campsite at around dusk on Thursday.

The usual crew were here. All of our Splendour friends who we see much more fleetingly as the years go by, but always at Splendour. The campsite was smaller this year, as the two crews who joined forces last year were once again separated. The other crew ended up being in the same campground, and we did see them a fair bit, but it would have been great to see more of them. Hopefully next year we’ll organise ourselves a little better and have the mega-campsite we had at Splendour 2011.

As is the usual form, we went into the site on Thursday night to beat the queues for wristbands and drink tickets.

Splendour In The Grass 2012

It was pretty muddy in there. The weather had been quite wet in Byron over the last few weeks, and had only just fined up in the days leading up to Splendour. We’d been advised of this through Splendour mailouts, as well as Twitter etc, so we had the trusty gumboots packed.

One thing that struck us immediately, which I’m sure wasn’t the case in previous years, was a $2 EFTPos fee for every time you bought drink tickets.

Excuse me while I have a quick rant and then we can carry on:

Drink tickets are a fucking rort. There’s no other way to put it. Yes, I understand that it makes the drink acquisition process quicker, but if it wasn’t a rort and a scam, you’d be able to get refunded any unused tickets at the end of the festival.

Conservatively, I would guesstimate that every person leaves a festival with at least two drink tickets they’ve not managed to use. At a cost of $2 each, and at a festival of 20,000-ish punters, that’s $80,000 of, quite literally, money for nothing.

To add a $2 fee for every purchase to that just adds insult to injury, especially when (as far as I can find), a debit transaction attracts a maximum fee of around 5c-20c to the vendor. We ended up paying around $10 in fees over the weekend, as one tries to strike the balance of having enough tickets, and not having too many that end going to waste.

It stinks, and I hate it, but there’s nothing else you can do.

The obvious solution is to use cash, but for me, I’m not a big fan of walking through a festival with a wallet full of money. Call me stupid, but I’d prefer to use plastic that can be cancelled with one quick phone call.

After getting over my rant, we had a few customary wines at the Wine Bar and then headed home for an early night. But not before discovering the gozleme’s at a Turkish food stall. Nice.

After the mud of Thursday night, I went in for a recon mission to see what the grounds were like this morning.



I will now have another interlude.

One of the reasons Splendour is my favourite festival, is that it really does seem that the organisers do their very best to make it all about the punter.  So many other festivals (Big Day Out being the main offender) really feel like they take your money and then give the bare minimum in return.  Here’s a dusty field with no shade- go stand in that for 18 hours- I’ll just be over here under this shady tree counting all my money.

Each year,  Splendour gets better, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts about it.  In 2001 the lighting in the campgrounds was almost non-existent, so in 2002, there were rows of ornate lights along all the pathways, which come back every year.  One year the pathway between Mix-Up and the Supertop was impossible to get through due to the large volume of people, so the following year, a new path had been made, so there were now two paths, both of them one-way in opposite directions.  In 2003 it rained a fair bit, and bark was put over a lot of the site, alleviating the bogginess.  In 2007 is was dry and dusty, so every morning tractors went out spraying the ground with water to harden up the ground and stop it being so dusty.

What I’m getting at, is that the organisers seem to notice issues, and fix them.   Seeing that big tractor filled with bark made me smile, as it seemed nothing had changed.


One thing I try to do before a festival is listen to as many bands as possible that I’ve not heard before.  Over the years it’s led me to some great music, like Fanfarlo, Holy Fuck, School of Seven Bells, Foals, Young The Giant and Alberta Cross to name a few.  This year was no different, and with the magic of Spotify, made the task a little easier.  With that in mind, I actually started writing this post a few months before Splendour, so on some of the artists you can see a before and after of what I thought of the band.  I figure you probably don’t care, but it’s interesting for me to see what I thought of some of these bands before actually seeing them.  Particularly the ones that I thought would be crap, and weren’t.

Splendour 2012 poster

Anyhoo- here we go……..

Friday 27 July

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Friday 27 July

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Friday 27 July
Click for larger view

I did have every intention of getting to either Splinta or Kingswood on my way down to the McLennan tent for Chet Faker. The queue to get into the festival was bigger than expected though, so we had to bypass them both. Normally there’s a line for people who had been wrist-banded the previous night (which is the main reason for heading in on the Thursday), but this time, there wasn’t, so we had to queue up with the people that hadn’t yet been in. No biggie. I heard Kingswood killed it though- would have been great to see.

Chet Faker (McLennan Tent 12:45-1:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I hadn’t really heard of Chet Faker before the Splendour announce. I’ve been listening to the Thinking In Textures album a fair bit, and I like it.

Will I see them? Yep, that’s the plan. Guess I won’t be seeing Kingswood after all.

Chet Faker- Splendour In The Grass 2012Well, Wade and I made it down to The McLennan tent for Chet Faker and saw most of the set. It was good, but not awe-inspiring. Very keen to hear how he/they progress on their next record though.

He must be from Melbourne, as no-one could sport such a beard / beanie / RRR sticker combo like a Melbournite.

Splendour in the dirtThe weather was looking glorious and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  The photo to the left was taken at around 1pm on Friday.  I don’t think I have one from the same spot after the storm that you’re about to hear about, but there’ll be other pics.  Needless to say, when I look at that photo of reasonably dry mud now, I laugh because at the time we thought it was hard-going.  meh- the worse was yet to come.

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Pond (Supertop 1:20-2pm)

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This is another band that I’ve not had a chance to listen to that much- so I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Will I see them? No idea
After Chet Faker, we decided to head back to camp, and on the way cruised past the Supertop to check out a bit of Pond. Not bad, not great. Just another band I guess.

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Youth Lagoon (Supertop 2-2:45pm)

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Like this band A LOT.

Will I see them? Most definitely.

Youth Lagoon- Splendour In The Grass 2012After bailing back to camp, we gathered more of the crew to head back in for Youth Lagoon. The sky was clear and the weather was beautiful. The reports predicting a possible storm for that afternoon seemed ludicrous, as the weatherman is generally wrong, right?


We trundled in and just as we got to the Supertop, we felt the first drops of rain. Oh dear. Youth Lagoon were already in full swing, so we raced in and had a listen. Damn. They are good. I never realised it was just two dudes. Very classy.

As time went by, I realised that the band were slowly being drowned out (pardon the pun) by the sound of heavy rain and rolling thunder. The storm was here. And it wasn’t just a storm, it was hail, thunder, lightening and the heaviest rain I’ve seen in a while. Oh, fuck. We didn’t have any wet weather gear with us, and the campsite had been left fully open, with power cords etc strewn everywhere. We were sure disaster was imminent.

Youth Lagoon in a storm- Splendour in the Grass 2012

Note that all the people are looking at the storm, not the band.
It was loud, people. L-O-U-D.

Youth Lagoon in a storm- Splendour in the Grass 2012

Youth Lagoon in a storm

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Once the rain subsided, we made the dash back to camp to see what the damage was. Getting out of the Splendour site was challenging, as what had been a relatively damp field was now extremely boggy mud, topped with the remnants of hail stones. We also weren’t the only ones leaving, and there was a mass exodus out of there.

The camp had indeed suffered, and was in quite a state, although a couple of our comrades had beaten us back and had fixed most of the damage (Thanks Loz and Liesy). The tarps that had gone down were now back up, and all the electrical gear that had gotten wet (toasters etc) had been unplugged. The fuse box was switched back on, and we were good to go.

Having said that in one small paragraph, the cleanup did take some time, and we were also not in a huge hurry to go back to the swamp-land that the festival site had become, so decided to stay at camp for a while. Unfortunately, we missed Ben Howard, who I was vaguely interested to see. DZ Deathrays was also another on the to-do list. Their music isn’t totally up my alley, but a good friend of mine produced their album, and I’d heard they were awesome live. Oh well. Next time I guess.

Also missed were Emma Louise, Big Scary and Yacht Club Djs. Bummer.

We left camp at around 4pm to get to Michael Kiwanuka, which should have been plenty of time. Unfortunately, due to the storm, the queue to get back into the festival was huge. We’d not considered this, and neither had the Splendour organisers obviously.

The drug dogs were in full swing, and seemed to be having quite a bit of success. It annoyed me there was no bin for people to throw out their gear once they’d seen the dogs. This is quite common and I was under the impression it was mandatory after a girl died at the 2009 Perth Big Day Out from swallowing her whole ecstasy stash to avoid getting busted by the drug dogs. I’m not saying drugs aren’t a problem, but having dogs positioned that way at a festival is just plain irresponsible. Once the corner is turned on that pathway, there’s no return. You either :

a) run, and probably get busted;
b) walk through, and probably get busted;
b) swallow your stash, and probably get very ill, or die.

Granted, people shouldn’t be taking drugs inside (anyone with half a brain leaves them outside the festival and goes back for top-ups when required), but the simple fact is that they will. The dogs are not a deterrent, they just make people think of different ways of getting their gear inside. And sometimes those ways don’t end up going so well. Busting a few people for minor drugs is a waste of resources and clogs the court system. It’s simply ridiculous.

For most evenings at Splendour (or any other festival), you can look at the people on drugs (whether it be pot, pills, coke or whatever) and they’re generally cruising around, minding their own business and having a good time. Then you look at the people who have had way to much to drink, and if they’re not throwing up on you, they’re either trying to beat you up or fuck your wife. I know I mentioned it earlier, so apologies for the tangent again, but it just really pisses me off. Smoking a bit of weed or dropping a pill at a festival isn’t going to hurt anyone, so just lay off ok?


Surprisingly, there were a shitload of festival-goers with one day tickets who hadn’t yet been in for the day. There were also a bunch of 3-day ticketers. We asked them why they were heading in so late, and they said that because of the storm, traffic and everything else was a shambles. Makes sense.

It took us around half an hour to get inside, by which time Michael Kiwanuka had well and truly started.

Michael Kiwanuka (McLennan Tent 4:30-5:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I’ve never hear of Michael Kiwanuka before now. His Home Again album has become a favourite over the last few months, and I’m extremely keen to hear him play. The soul vibe on that album is sensational, and his voice is just flawless.

Will I see them? Indeed.

Michael Kiwanuka at Splendour In The Grass 2012

We only caught the last part of the set which was a major disappointment. He also finished 15 minutes early, which obviously shrunk our listening time substantially.

From the little that we heard, it was dead-on awesome. The band were amazing and his voice was incredible. I really should have looked into it beforehand, but with missing most of the set, we jumped on the Google to see if he had any more Australian shows post-Splendour. Nay- the tour was done, and this was the last gig in Australia. I guess one must always have a few sets they missed that they wished they’d seen more of. Michael Kiwanuka now sits on the list with Frightened Rabbit and Noah and The Whale as missed opportunities that’ll be snapped up at the first chance.

If he ever heads down here again, I’ll be first in line for tickets.

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I might add at this point, the proliferation of head-pieces by the young-folk is OUT OF CONTROL. Couldn’t go anywhere without a fucken Indian headdress blocking your view. I swear, they are to a music festival as the vuvuzela is to world cup soccer.

Bertie Blackman (Mix Up 5:15-6:15pm)

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Wifey is a big Bertie Blackman fan and I’m pretty partial to her as well.

Will I see them? More than likely

Bertie BlackmanWe trundled over to Bertie Blackman at the Mix-Up tent. We had little interest in Howler who were at the Supertop, and it was a bit of a wait at the McLennan stage for Kate Miller-Heidke.

Bertie Blackman’s set was really quite nice. I had not much of an idea of what to expect, as this was more Wifey’s department. She enjoyed it, so I guess it was good.

Splendour In The Grass 2012

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Getting between the stages was becoming a problem. With the downpour a few hours earlier, it was boggy as all hell, and the simple act of walking a few hundred metres was fraught with difficulty. The simple effort of lifting ones feet became tiresome as more and more mud got caked to ones boots, and you also had to dodge the dickheads who thought it’d be a great idea to jump into the massive puddles and splash everyone in their wake. The passage between the McLennan Tent and the other two main stages was particularly difficult. What had been a reasonably narrow road (see the photo at the top of this post that was taken that morning prior to the storm), was now a sliver of a path, surrounded by a mote of mud and wankers.

Kate Miller-Heidke (McLennan Tent 6-7pm)

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I’m not really a fan of Kate Miller-Heidke, but wifey is. I think she’s awesomely talented, but I just can’t seem to ‘get’ her music. I do think if I saw a live show I’d get into it though.

Will I see them? Well, wifey wants to so I probably will too, so long as she doesn’t clash with anyone I really want to see.
Well, as it happened, we just couldn’t get down to The McLennan Tent. It was just too boggy, and with such a short time between Bertie Blackman and Spiderbait, we figured we’d stay (relatively) un-muddy so missed the show. In hindsight, I’m actually quite bummed, as one of our friends, James, plays bass for Kate Miller-Heidke at the moment, and he said the show was particularly good. Dammit. Oh well, hopefully we’ll see her at a show in Melbourne down the track.

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Spiderbait (Supertop 6:15-7:15pm)

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Spiderbait are one of those bands like Grinspoon or The Living End. I only know the hits, but they’re generally awesome live, and a great band to see at a festival.

Will I see them? Depends on the timetable, but probably.Timetable update Fabulous. I’ll be there.

Spiderbait I don’t know what it was, but Spiderbait just weren’t on form for me tonight. We were a fair way down the back of the Supertop, which is always going to have an inversely proportional effect on enjoyment levels, but still, it just seemed flat. After reconvening with the rest of our crew, it seemed to be unanimous that Spiderbait just weren’t on form, even for the die-hard fans among us.

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Splendour In The GrassAfter leaving Spiderbait in search of food, we decided to have a bit of a wander around and see what else was happening. Food was got and we headed to the Mix Up stage for Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. I was looking forward to these guys quite a bit.

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Mix Up 7-8pm)

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I had heard of Hypnotic Brass Ensemble before the Splendour announce, as they’d played at Meredith 2010, which we didn’t go to. I’ve been Spotifying the shit out of this band. Fucking fabulous. Really looking forward to some good brass funk.

Will I see them? Yep.

Hypnotic Brass EnsembleWOOOOOOOOOOOOW. These guys are absolutely incredible. Eight brothers from Chicago who all play brass, and play it oh so well. Read more about them at their website or on Wikipedia.

If you ever get the opportunity to see Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, just go and do it. The show reminded us of being in New Orleans last year. The infectious sound of a brass band is hard to beat, and you just can’t help but dance.

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The Shins (Supertop 7:45-8:45pm)

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So, I’ve seen The Shins 4 times already. Loved every time. This one will be a bit odd, being that James Mercer is the only original member left after he fired the rest of them….. The new album isn’t grabbing me as much as Chutes Too Narrow or Wincing The Night Away, but still definitely keen to see them again.

Will I see them? Absolutely

The Shins at Splendour In The Grass 2012So, the original plan was to leave halfway through Hypnotic Brass Ensemble to go and see The Shins full set. When it came time to leave Hypnotic, wifey and I unanimously decided to stay where we were. We’d seen the Shins a bunch of times before, and we were having a great time, so why fuck with that?

Now, I don’t know if it was the high of seeing Hypnotic Brass, or if they genuinely were bad, but The Shins tonight were definitely NOT working at all. Honestly, to me, it sounded like a Shins tribute band, playing reasonable renditions of Shins songs. In effect, that’s exactly what it was, except James Mercer happened to be the singer for this tribute band. The old songs sounded hurried and uninteresting, and the new songs have never really grabbed me (as I said above in the ‘pre-Splendour’ bit). Mercer sounded bored, and the music didn’t have the spark that a Shins gig usually has.

The Shins Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012

The last time they toured in 2007, Wifey and I saw them at Splendour, and then raced down the Pacific Highway to see them a couple of days later at The Enmore in Sydney. That is to say, we’re big fans, or used to be anyway.

For those who care, the setlist from the Splendour 2012 set is just over there –>

I’ll certainly see them again on their next tour though. And it was probably just me anyway- I was in the mood for dancing, and funk music. I’ve spoken to a few people since the show, and while some agreed with me, the bulk of people have rated the show highly.

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One of the things about the Byron site is that there’s no amphitheatre, as there is at the Woodford site. Up until this point, I had missed it a bit, as when you’re weatching a band on main stage, you can see them from where-ever you are. It didn’t occur to me until now that there’s another really good thing about a big hill: drainage. There was absolutely nowhere for all the water from the storm to go. Neither was there anywhere to just sit down and take a load off. Trudging through mud for a few hours is pretty tiring stuff (woe is me), and to be honest, we were buggered after only being back on the site for a couple of short hours. We made the call to head back to camp and have a rest, so that’s what we did. Unfortunately this meant missing Canyons as well as Gypsy and The Cat, who we heard loud and clear from camp.

On the way back, nature called. Here’s a snapshot of what greeted me in the mens….

Liquid shit?

Liquid shit?

No, it’s not liquid shit, but just torrents of mud and water with no place to go. The drainage was obviously cactus, so I guess this was inevitable with the thousands of people trudging through to take a piss. It was unfortunate that a few figured that if there was already a massive puddle on the ground, why not add to it. So yeah, there were dudes just pissing into the middle of the floor. Fucken young people.

It was around this time that Wifey’s gumboots sprung a leak. This could end very badly. Props to her though, she battled on through the night to fight another day (in new gum boots).

We had intentions of seeing both Afghan Whigs, as well as Kimbra, but once again, general movement and the queues to get in made it difficult. We did hear a bit of Kimbra’s set as we walked past the Mix Up stage on our way to Explosions In The Sky at the McLennan Tent though. From all reports it was a great show. I’ve not yet spoken to anyone who saw Afghan Whigs, but am keen to hear how it was- if you were there, tell me about it in the comments section.

Although there was no real way we were going to see At The Drive In, I was still hoping to maybe catch a song or two. Again, it just wasn’t going to happen.

Explosions In The Sky (McLennan Tent 10:30-11:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Explosions In The Sky are one of my favourite bands. I saw them last year at The Forum Theatre, as well as at the Meredith Music Festival, and when they were announced for Splendour In The Grass, they were the band that got me over the line to buy a ticket. I really enjoyed seeing them last year, and am hoping this time around they’ll play a few more older songs, as they’re not touring a new album this time.

Will I see them? Absolutely, no question about it. There is no band on this lineup that could sway me from being at this show.

Explosions In The Sky - Splendour In The Grass 2012To be perfectly honest, when the Splendour 2012 lineup was announced, I was pretty iffy, verging on the side of not going, until Explosions In The Sky were announced. I wasn’t planning on missing this.

Explosions in the Sky Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012I’m hoping the setlist to the right gets updated, but I can tell you that it was pretty similar to the set the played at Fuji Rock in Japan the following night.

Postcard From 1952, Let Me Back In, The Birth and Death of The Day and most importantly, Your Hand In Mine were all played. Hearing Your Hand in Mine live again was pretty great. It’s one of those ‘our’ songs that Wifey and I have, and she wasn’t at the last show I heard the song at (The Forum In December last year) and they didn’t play it when we saw them at Meredith.

Actually, the more I think about it and look at that Fuji Rock setlist, I’m pretty sure it was exactly the same:

  1. Catastrophe and the Cure
  2. Postcard From 1952
  3. The Birth and Death of the Day
  4. Your Hand in Mine
  5. Let Me Back In
  6. The Only Moment We Were Alone

This was an outstanding show, and the best I’ve seen from Explosions. There was quite a bit of chatter amongst the audience which was frustrating, but you can’t have everything. The band seemed to really enjoy this show, and were far more into their performance than the last times I’ve seen them. Munaf Rayani threw his guitar down at the end of The Only Moment We Were Alone (the end of the set) and jumped into the audience. You can see that on the bottom video at around the 10 second mark.

One thing that was odd (but quite cool) was that when we arrived at the tent half an hour early (I wasn’t taking any chances with this show), the band were on stage sound-checking themselves. After the show was done, they came back out and packed their own gear. How rad is that?

If you’re into Explosions, then there’s a great interview with them on MusicFeeds.tv that was done at Splendour.

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Jack White (Supertop 10:45pm-12am

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I’ve never been a White Stripes fan, and Jack White’s solo album does nothing for me. I just don’t understand what all the fuss is about. He’s really not that good you know.

Will I see them? Probably not, unless there’s nothing else on.
Well, when the timetable was released it was pretty obvious that I wouldn’t be seeing Mr White, as he was a direct clash with Explosions. So no, dear people, we only had the pleasure of hearing Seven Nation Army being played as we made our way back to camp (via the Turkish place for a Gozlame).

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Saturday 28 July

After having a relatively early night on Friday, and not really hitting the beers too hard, we were up with the birds on Saturday. It was a nice change from the usual Splendour fare, as we were through the showers and toilets before most people were even awake. Even though we’d brought breakfast supplies with us, we decided to treat ourselves to bacon & egg burgers at the campground kiosk. A great way to start the day.

Once again, I did a recon into the Splendour site as soon as gates were open to see if any more bark had been laid. I saw this on Twitter, so figured we were all sorted:

and then walked in- no bark, but it did seem better…

Splendour in the mud

Nay, I was wrong. No bark, or none that I could see anyway. To be fair, the whole site was well and truly fucked. It was reminiscent of Splendour 2003 when it rained all weekend. The difference here was that it only rained for about half and hour, but there was so much of it, the site couldn’t possibly recover, especially with 20 000 people thrashing through it for 12 hours the previous day. I texted the news back to camp, and received the response I was expecting from my wife: “Buy me gum boots”.

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Saturday 28 July

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Saturday 28 July
Click for larger view

Wolf & Cub (Mix Up 12:30-1:15pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Liking these guys a fair bit. I’ve heard the name around, and know a couple of songs from the radio. See The Light is a bloody great song- keen to hear it live.

Will I see them? Yep- looks that way from the timetable. They only clash with Bleeding Knees Club, who I have no intention of seeing.

Wolf & Cub- Splendour In The Grass 2012Wolf & Cub were good. I thought they’d be better live though. That’s not to say they’re by any means bad in the slightest- the records just give an impression of a more energetic live show. I mustn’t forget that it’s not long after midday and there’s not a hell of a lot of people around, so I guess that makes it harder to be rock and/or roll. Overall I do rate them though and will definitely make an effort to see them again.

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I would like to interject briefly with a mud report:

Splendour In The Mud

Which is eerily similar to a photo I took at Splendour 2006. OK- it’s not that eery, it’s just a picture I took of my feet. Point taken.

Splendour In The MudSplendour In The Mud

As you can see, there’s not that many people around, which should have pre-warned me that the queues would be hell later. No matter. Hindsight’s beautiful ain’t it?

Bleeding Knees Club (Supertop 12:30-1pm)

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I don’t know what it is, but there’s something I can’t stand about this band. I don’t know if it’s their terrible publicity photos, their idiotic name, or the fact that I just can’t get into their music. Granted, I can fully see why they have an audience, as they do seem to do what they do quite well, if you’re into samey surfer music.

Will I see them? Highly doubtful

Bleeding Knees Club- Splendour In The GrassBleeding Knees Club- Splendour In The GrassAs it happens, I did go and see Bleeding Knees Club after I’d had enough of Wolf & Cub. They were actually really fucking good. I still stand behind my comments about them being samey surfer music, but they do it very well.

The band really know how to work a room, which is something for such a young group. Bleeding Knees Club were very much like the Ramones, in that if you caught 5 seconds of a song, you’d be hard pressed to tell it from another, but all in all, I was impressed. Can’t say I’d go and see them again unless it was at another festival, but still damned good, and a nice surprise.

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Splendour In The Grass- Very Small MallTime for another wander before The Cast Of Cheers started. There was one gumboot place on the site, and they were making a KILLING. Good on them I say. With new gumboots in hand for the Princess, it was off to Cast Of Cheers.

The Cast Of Cheers (Supertop 1:20-2pm)

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I’ve only found a few songs of these guys, but I don’t mind them at all. That Animals song is getting flogged on Triple J, so guessing there’ll be a fair crowd to see them.

Will I see them? Yeah, probably, if the timetable works out.

The Cast Of Cheers - Splendour In The GrassYup- liked. Tended to get a bit samey, but still pretty fine stuff.

For tose who don’t know them, I’d say the best comparision I can come up with is Bloc Party, but poppier.

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Again, it was time to head back and seek out the rest of my crew and tell them my findings from the recon mission, and to deliver new Gummies to the wife. Mosman Alder were missed, as were Tijuana Cartel and Last Dinosaurs.

Here We Go Magic (McLennan Tent 2:45-3:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I’ve been into Here We Go Magic for some time. I first found them on a compilation that featured the song Fangela by them. Awesome song. I’ve not had a chance to listen to their latest album as much as I’d hoped, but looking forward to seeing them.

Will I see them? Yep- they don’t clash with anything major, so I’ll be there with bells on.

Here We Go Magic - Splendour In The Grass 2012 Again, the holdups getting in were INSANE, but I shan’t complain- just mentioning it, that’s all.

So yeah, Here We Go Magic were….. um, good? I guess?

Their singer seemed horribly out of tune and the sound was awful. It was far too loud and the mix wasn’t brilliant. The band played well, and I really don’t want to sit on my high-horse from the comfort of the audience and bag a band, but to be at the level of international touring (they’re from New York), you’d think they’d come across better than seeming like an opening band at the local pub on a Wednesday night.

I wanted so much to enjoy this show, and I just couldn’t.

It was just so so bad.

We wanted to get to the Supertop for Shihad anyway, so we left early. I’ve no idea if they played Fangela, and I don’t really care. Biggest disappointment of the weekend.

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The trudging through the mud seemed to be getting worse as they time progressed. Getting back to the Supertop was hard work, and I’m pretty sure it was then we realised there was no way we’d make it back to the McLennan Tent for Jinja Safari. Dammit.

Shihad (Supertop 3:30-4:20pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I love this band. Just love them. There is no finer live rock band on the planet as far as I’m concerned.

Will I see them? I reckon the only reason I wouldn’t would be if they clash with Explosions In The Sky, and seeing as they’re playing on Friday, I think it’ll be ok.

Shihad- Splendour In The Grass 2012 You just CANNOT beat this band for professionalism, tightness, everything good about music. I’ve seen Shihad at least a million times, and I have NEVER seen a bad show.

Sort of ironically, Wifey and I were discussing this when they went into Run, and Jon hit some bum notes. Well, first time for everything I guess. Still the finest rock band in the known (and unknown) universe.

Shihad Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012

What a setlist- all killer, no filler. The anthemic singalongs in Pacifier and Run were sensational.

Quite seriously, I really think that Jon Toogood and Guy Garvey (of Elbow) are the two finest frontmen in music. Totally different styles of music, so really quite incomparable, but their ability to involve the audience is second to none.

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Friends (Mix Up 3:45-4:45pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

No idea.

Will I see them? No idea.

Friends - Splendour In The Grass 2012Yeah, kinda cool. Liked it quite a bit, but didn’t really see that much of them.

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When Shihad were done, Wifey decided to head back to camp as she wasn’t feeling 100%, so I went to see Friends, with some, err, friends.

Now, on her way back, she came across an extremely pissed under-age guy, lying on the side of the road. This guy was utterly paralytic and couldn’t move. Her description of him had more detail, but the point is, this guy was off his face at around 4pm. The pissed guy had a group of people around him laughing (not helping), so she went and got a cop. She got the cop to help as she was powerless and couldn’t do anything to help while this poor guy was surrounded by a gaggle of laughing ‘mates’. WTF?


The anti-drug police presence at Splendour 2012 was off the scale, and plenty of people got charged for pot possession, yet as far as I could see, no-one got hassled for being drunk and disorderly, or for drinking under-age.

Believe me, I saw a lot more pissed fuckwits ruining other peoples days than I saw saw pot smokers. No, I’m not a pot advocate by any stretch of the imagination, but seriously, how many pot smokers have you seen recently who’ve been a danger to themselves or others?

Sorry for the rant, but it pisses me off immensely, and was made worse on Sunday, as I’ll tell you if you could be bothered to read on.


Jinja Safari (McLennan Tent 4-5pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I missed these guys at Splendour a few years back so hoping to see them this time around.

Will I see them? Well, the timetable’s now out, and this one’s going to be difficult. Might race off after Shihad to catch the end of Jinja Safari and then head back to main stage for the end of Band Of Skulls. HA- like any of these plans are actually going to come to fruition.
Yep- as predicted, no go. I heard from many that they were awesome. Oh well, maybe I’ll see them at Splendour 2013?

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Band Of Skulls (Supertop 4:45-5:45pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

So, I’ve never liked Band Of Skulls. Maybe it was their name that pissed me off? Who knows? They had that Death By Diamonds and Pearls song out a few years ago which just shat me to tears. I remember they played Splendour 2010 and they were one of the bands at the top of the list of what not to see.Anyhoo- I digress. I have been pleasantly surprised by their new album, Sweet Sour. It’s rock in all the right places, with enough light and shade that it doesn’t feel like yet another band wishing they were born 20 years ago.

Will I see them? Yeah, just maybe

Band Of Skulls - Splendour In The Grass 2012Oh, the humanity. That was just awful. Never again.

OK- it wasn’t that bad.

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It’s still muddy, in case you were wondering.

Splendour In The Grass 2012

Splendour In The Grass 2012

Splendour In The Grass 2012

Although, here’s a lovely photo, taken around the same time that I found on Twitter, taken by Tobias Jones:


Seekae (Mix Up 5:30-6:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I’ve been listening to these chaps quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I like it very much. Sort of like Holy Fuck without so much intensity.

Will I see them? With any luck

Seekae- Splendour In The Grass 2012Lovely chilled vibe. There were parts admittedly where I wished the drummer would cut loose a bit more to give the songs a bit more drive, but overall I really liked Seekae.

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Splendour In The Grass 2012

Ladyhawke (Supertop 6:15-7:15pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

At Meredith 2011, we heard Ladyhawke from the campground, but didn’t actually see her set. Pretty keen to see it this time. I like most of what I’ve heard, so am planning on being there if there aren’t any timetable clashes.

Will I see them? Looks like I’ll be there after Seekae.

Ladyhawke- Splendour In The Grass 2012Nice, solid, tight tunes. Nothing earth shatteringly brilliant about it, but not a bad way to spend an hour on a Saturday night.

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Mudhoney (McLennan Tent 7-8pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Someone once asked me why I thought Mudhoney had limited success (comparatively) to other Seattle bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. The answer is actually quite simple: Pearl Jam and Nirvana were good.

Will I see them? No sir.
No, I didn’t see Mudhoney. Wade did though, and was astounded at how horrible they were. I did hear from a few people that the best part of it was watching the girls waiting for Lana Del Rey staring in horror at what was before them. That may well have been worth it.

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After Ladyhawke, I went back to camp to meet up with Wifey and the rest of the crew. I had hoped to see Muscles as he’s apparently quite good, but figured it was an easily missable set, as he seems to play every festival this side of the equator.

I have less then zero interest in Tame Impala as well, so wasn’t missing much by leaving.

The next mission was getting in to see Lana Del Rey. I don’t like Lana Del Rey. I find her boring and insufferably depressing. Having said that, I totally appreciate that musical taste is a wonderful thing, and if we all had the same taste, the world would be extremely boring (and we’d all be at the same stage watching the same bands and have nothing to talk about at the end of the night). I can also understand that someone could say exactly the same thing about Explosions In The Sky, who are one of my favourite bands.

So I decided to head off with the rest of the crew to see Ms Del Rey. As did the rest of the festival.

Splendour In The Grass 2012

Lana Del Rey (McLennan Tent 8:30-9:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I’m not a fan of Lana Del Rey’s music. I’ve listened to the album a number of times, but I can’t help but feel it all sounds the same. I just don’t get the hype.

Will I see them? Well, considering she’s on the Saturday, I’m going to guess she’ll be headlining main stage, so it’ll depend on what else is on. By the looks of Saturday’s lineup, Hilltop Hoods will be headlining Mix Up, so would imagine I’ll see them.

Hang sec.

Maybe she’s second to headline on the Saturday- just noticed Bloc Party are playing Saturday as well, and being they’re the darlings of the Splendour organisers, they’re surely headlining main stage? Who know? Who cares? We’ll just wait and see I guess.

Lana Del Rey- Splendour In The Grass 2012Lana Del Rey- Splendour In The Grass 2012WHAT. THE. FUCK.Even I, a hack who hasn’t promoted a band in half a decade, can see that having someone like Lana Del Rey at the McLennan Tent is sheer lunacy. She’s possibly the most hyped new artist on the lineup.

I knew before we set out that this was going to be worse than Gotye at the McLennan Tent in 2007, or The Jezabels at McLennan in 2011. At least for the Jezabels, it was at the Woodford site, so there was more room.

It was madness. People everywhere trying to get through the narrow passageway to the tent, and once there, it was almost impossible to hear.

I will say, I enjoyed the set more than I thought I would, but it would have been so much better at a different stage. Her cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box was bizarre. To me, it sounded just like every other LDR song, just with different lyrics.

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Miike Snow (Supertop 9:15-10:15pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

The last time I saw Miike Snow was at Splendour 2010. Loved that show, and although I haven’t listened to the new album too much, I’m keen to see them again.

Will I see them? Yep.

Miike Snow- Splendour In The Grass 2012

Miike Snow Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012

Yeah, nice. This was a great gig, and I actually knew a lot more of the set than I thought I would.

I was surprised that they were in the second-to-headline slot on main stage. I would have thought Lana Del Rey or Tame Impala would be in this slot and that Miike Snow would play before Hilltops at the Mix Up stage. Considering they played Mix Up at 2pm the last time they were here, only two years ago, that’s a fairly significant jump in rankings.

Either way, it was a great set, and the crowd went off. Interstingly, something happened here that I’d not noticed all weekend. Even when Miike Snow were playing, I could hear 360 playing in the Mix Up tent. And quite loudly too. I figured that either 360 were REALLY loud, or Miike Snow was really quiet. It wasn’t too much of a bother, as we were on the side of the Supertop that was furthest from the Mix Up tent. I imagine on the other side it would have been quite intense.

Some dude did the obligatory climb-the-tower during this set as well. The band even dedicated a song to him. Well done! He got quite a cheer from the audience too which you can see if you can stand looking at the super choppy video I took below.

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It was decision time. Do we see Bloc Party, Hilltop Hoods, or The Dirty Three to close out day 2 of Splendour 2012?

My relationship with The Dirty Three has been sketchy at best. I find the majority of their albums sound like a cat being thrown claws-first against a blackboard while a drummer gets ripped in the background, playing to a totally different time than the rest of the band are playing at. I have, however, seen some astoundingly good live shows from them.

Tonight, majority ruled, and Dirty Three were no longer in contention. Now, Bloc Party or Hilltops? We’ve seen both bands plenty of times before, and although I’m probably a bigger Bloc Party fan than Hilltops, the decision was made for a bit of hip-hop. Wifey made the decision really, with the well founded comparison to our afternoon with Hypnotic Brass vs The Shins. She was right- I wanted to dance.

Hilltop Hoods (Mix Up 10:45-11:45pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Will I see them? More than likely.

Hilltop Hoods- Splendour In The Grass 2012These guys know how to get a crowd going. Absolutely sensational gig.


Words can’t describe it, except to repeat the following quote from my wife:

Hilltop Hoods are the Shihad of hip-hop

To understand that, read about Shihad above.

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Saturday night was rounded off with what was becoming somewhat of a Splendour 2012 tradition: a chicken gozleme from the Turkish joint. Life, my fiends, is good.

Sunday 29 July


Fuck. Sunday already. We’re almost done. How bloody depressing.

At this point, I’d like you to meet this fine lass to the left. Her name is Minihaha, and she makes this all possible. She saves my photos when my camera runs out of space and lets me type wantonly whenever I feel like it. She comes to all the multi-day festivals with me and has travelled around the world by my side.

Now, meet this guy:He comes to most multi-day festivals with me and is as close to a best mate as one can get. He was one of the best men at my wedding, and I sort-of introduced him to his wife at Splendour 2002.

He also went waaaaaaay too hard last night. That photo was taken around midday. I’ve been up for 4 hours already and have showered, shat and eaten. Yay me.

Righto- day 3. The final frontier. Shit is serious now.

Two things happened to me this morning which were a bit of a bummer. One was that my phone died. Wouldn’t even charge. Just totally dead. Kablammo. That’s made this process of writing about the weekend a little more difficult, as I usually go through my sms’ to work out whrre/when I was…. no biggie- got a new one when I got home.

The other, was that when we were heading in for Gossling, I got singled out by a drug dog. I didn’t have any pot on me and hadn’t been near pot all weekend. Truth be told, I haven’t been near pot in close to a decade.

I appreciate the police were just doing their job, and the officer who searched me was very nice about the whole thing, but it still shat me, being that drugs are NOT the problem at these events. I was searched fairly thoroughly (no rubber gloves thank God), and the officer went through all my pockets, camera, wife’s phone etc to check for anything suss. Obviously, I was clean as a whistle.

If you’d like to read more on what I think of drug dogs at festivals, feel free to look at my rant above.

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Sunday 29 July

Splendour In The Grass playing times- Sunday 29 July
Click for larger view

Gossling (McLennan Tent 12:30-1pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I like this Gossling band/girl. She’s playing at The Empress (venue up the road from our house) in a few days, so hopefully will get to that, and to this show too. To me she sounds a little like Portishead with Sarah Blasko on vocals.

Gossling- Splendour In The Grass 2012After the adventure with the drug dogs, Wifey and I made our way to McLennan for Gossling.

Nice, but I will admit the cutesy voice started to get a bit grating after a while.

Not a bad set, although the cover of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool‘s Dance The Way I Feel was questionable. It just sounded…. wrong. You be the judge:

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The Medics (Supertop 1:20-2pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

From what I’ve heard, I’m liking this a lot and hope they don’t clash with anything major. Predicting they’ll be on early so with any luck I’ll be able to see them.

The Medics at Splendour In The Grass 2012This, people, is a band you MUST see. Incredible. I’ll be making every effort to see them whenever possible.

Four young dudes who are stupidly talented. Some great rock music with sensational vocals coupled with some great post-rock grooves (think Mogwai / Explosions In The Sky with vocals). Very. Fucking . Cool.

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Shihad Q&A

Shihad- Beautiful Machine Q & A- Splendour In The Grass 2012The weekend had taken its toll. I was tired. Really bloody tired. It was time to go back to bed. Yes people, I went to have a nanna nap.

On our way back, we stopped in at the forums to see the Q&A with Shihad. Funny dudes. We missed the screening of the Beautiful Machine doco, but am very keen to see it once it gets released in Australia.

Once that was done, we strolled back out (avoiding the dogs).

The alarm was set for 4pm and we went back to camp, climbed into the back of the van and slept. There were a bunch of bands I’d wanted to see that afternoon, including Electric Guest, Zulu Winter, Django Django and Father John Misty. I’m not too cut up about it, as if I hadn’t have slept, I would have had a crap night.

Fun. (Supertop 4:30-5:20pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I love this album. Very Queen. The dude sounds so much like Freddie Mercury it’s scary. Great music. Great sing-along material. Do yourself a favour. Will definitely be seeing this band.

fun. Splendour In The Grass 2012Fun were top notch. Easily one of the highlights of my weekend. When listening to the Some Nights album, there were some parts I was unsure how they’d do live. There’s a lot of instrumentation, especially horns on the album. Surprisingly (or not), this is one talented bunch of guys (and girl). Everything (except the horrible vocoder) was played by the band.

The sing-along through We Are Young was lovely, and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if these guys headline Splendour in years to come.

Will definitely see again if given the opportunity.

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Metric (Supertop 5:40-6:30pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Pretty keen on seeing Metric. I’m quite into the Fantasies album, and there are a few tracks from that I’d love to see live.

Metric at Splendour In The Grass 2012I’m a big fan of Metric’s Fantasies album, but apart from that, I don’t know too much else.

After tonight’s show, I’m also a big fan of Emily Haines’ shorts.

We watched a fair bit of the gig, and I was very happy to hear Help I’m Alive. Not much else from Fantasies was played. I was very keen on hearing Sick Muse, Satellite Mind and Twilight Galaxy too, but alas, they weren’t played.

Metric Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012

The power went out during Breathing Underwater which was a bit of fun. The lights were on but there was no sound. The band bailed, so we did too. We went out to the merch tent and had a drink, but still no sound, so figured we’d bail back to camp again. We had a few hours before anything we wanted to see was on anyway.

Turns out, Metric did go back on after the sound was restored. They still didn’t play the songs I was after though, so I’m not too bummed we bailed early.


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I had planned on getting to Blue King Brown after Metric, but somehow that didn’t happen. I was finding it quite discombobulating not having a phone. Not only is it my timepiece, but I had the timetable in my phones calendar. So basically, I didn’t know what was on or where it was. And even if I did, I had no watch. Woe is me. Luckily Wifey was on the case.We missed Missy Higgins which was someone Wifey wanted to see. We also missed Wolfmother which was lucky.

We went back in for The Kooks and on the way passed Azealia Banks. I mention this for only one reason. Hate. Pure, unadulterated hate. What the hell is this shit? This isn’t Splendour music- it’s not even Triple J music. How the hell did she sneak in here? I’ve not been less interested in seeing an artist live for an extremely long time. stay away from that shit. Horrible, just fucking awful. I read later that for her whole allotted hour, she played for a grand total of 25 minutes. For any of you that were there, and were disappointed by the short set- that’s karma for having shit taste in music.

The Kooks (Supertop 8:15-9:15pm)

The Kooks at Splendour In The Grass 2012The Kooks were a band I was quite keen to see. They aren’t the sort of band that I’ll sit down and listen to a full album, but when their stuff does come on, I like it. Does that make sense?Anyway- they were good, but we were so far back it was hard to really get into it. The audience grew substantially in a very short period of time as people started to jostle for their positions for The Smashing Pumpkins. I daresay that Azealia Banks’ short set attributed to the masses of people too.

I don’t really feel like I got to see The Kooks, so will have to see them when they tour next.

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Nina Las Vegas (Mix Up 9-9:45pm)

Nina Las Vegas at Splendour In The Grass 2012HOTTEST DJ EVER.I’m in pure lust with this woman. She also knows how to get a party going. I can’t recall what she was playing, but it suited the mood perfectly as we waited for Gossip.

Let’s look at another photo of her before we move on shall we?

Nina Las Vegas at Splendour In The Grass 2012

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Gossip (Mix Up 9:45-10:45pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

Not so much into their new album, but great live. Music For Men is a killer album so hoping to hear plenty of that. Saw them at Good Vibrations in 2010 and they were awesome. Timetable’s just come out and they clash with Smashing Pumpkins. Not sure what’ll happen here, but I daresay the bulk of the time will be at Gossip.
Gossip at Splendour In The Grass 2012So yes, it was decided we’d see Gossip over Smashing Pumpkins. With the two stages so close to each other, we figured we’d stand a pretty good chance of seeing a fair bit of both bands, which is what we did.Gossip started strong, but lost me after the first 2 or 3 songs. Beth Ditto is sensational live, and the band were amazing, but it just seemed to lack energy. We were pretty close to the front, so we really were in the thick of it. But, let’s be honest, it was the last night of a 3 day festival, and we were knackered. Chances are, Gossip were incredible, we were just too tired to notice.

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Smashing Pumpkins (Mix Up 9:45-11pm)

Click for my prior thoughts…

I have quite mixed feelings about this one. I’ve seen Smashing Pumpkins once before at V Festival, and it was atrocious. I’d like to see them again though, as they were one of my favourite bands years ago. Chances are I’ll never see them again, so it’d be nice to have a better send-off than that V gig.
Smashing Pumpkins at Splendour In The Grass 2012

The Smashing Pumpkins Setlist Splendour In The Grass 2012 2012, Oceania

So yeah- towards the end of Gossip, I went over to the Supertop to have a look at Smashing Pumpkins, and managed to catch 1979 and Cherub Rock. When I got back to the Mix Up tent, Wifey had moved to the back, and could hear both bands loud and clear.

It’s more obvious in the Pumpkins videos below than the Gossip ones, but you can clearly hear the other band playing in the background. Odd- and curious as to how that happened. This was the 10th Splendour on that site and I’d not noticed that sort of bleed before.

I was curious to see Smashing Pumpkins this time around for a few reasons. Gish and Siamese Dream were two of my favourite albums when I was younger. When I lived in my first share house in the early 90s, Smashing Pumpkins were huge, and Siamese Dream was THE album of the decade. When we saw them at the 2008 V Festival in Sydney, it was, without doubt (and without a shadow of humour) one of the worst shows I had ever seen. I remember hearing Billy Corgan interviewed at the time, basically telling people to fuck off if they wanted a ‘best of’ Pumpkins show. Yeah, fair enough, but it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. That gig felt like a one hour guitar wank with the biggest megalomaniac in history on stage. This show, though, had what I wanted (or a lot of it anyway). Even though I only saw the end of it, I was happy that the last Smashing Pumpkins show I saw wasn’t utter rot.

Smashing Pumpkins at Splendour In The Grass 2012

It’s not as apparent in this video as it was at the time, but I ran between Gossip and Smashing Pumpkins a couple of times to try and show how close the stages were, and how much sound spill there was.

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As was the new Splendour 2012 tradition, the night was rounded out with our new Turkish friends.yummy Turkish

The Wrapup

All in all, I had a great time, obviously. The lineup wasn’t as strong as previous years, but with a smaller venue and smaller capacity, so therefore a smaller budget, that’s not at all surprising.

There were some things that I was very surprised about this years event. Obviously, the Splendour folk have no control over the weather, and although more bark would have been great, I’m sure they did everything in their power to do what they could. There were some major logistical fuckups though, which could easily have been avoided. The capacity this year was bigger than previous years at Belongil, being that the festival site also took up the area that had been used for camping in previous events there. It didn’t seem like there were more facilities though. Yes, there were more outlets to get your drink tickets, but there didn’t seem to be any more toilets or bars. I may well be wrong about that- I can only go on what I experienced, and that was the worst queues I’ve been in at a Splendour In The Grass. There were also some questionable decisions about placement of stalls- eg: there was a drink ticket station at the entrance to the event, directly across the path from the forums. The queues from the ticket outlet had no choice but to spill into the pathway, essentially blocking it, while the popular forums (especially the one with Billy Corgan) also spilled into the same path. Chaos I tell you, chaos! There was the sound spill issues between The Supertop and Mix Up as well.

There was also another thing I forgot to mention before- the Splendour mobile app. Most people at our site have iPhones, and I have an Android. The Android app was absolutely useless. The bands weren’t listed chronologically (they were listed by stage which is useless when working out your timetable), and you couldn’t save your lineup choices. Every time you closed the app, it would erase the artists you’d earmarked to see. It was finally updated on Sunday morning, which was a tad late. I’ve no idea if those issues were addressed as my phone died not long after. Related? Nah, surely not.

As far as the iPhone app went, the notifications about the bands just said (null) is playing at the Supertop. Kind of useless right? God knows how these things went to production without being fully tested. They were also only released the day before the festival, which screams rush job to me.

One thing I will say is that on the Friday night, the queues for the shuttle buses back to the offsite camping, and into Byron were ridiculous. Props to Splendour though, as the issues seemed to be rectified by Saturday and we didn’t notice any more of them.

As Wade pointed out at some stage over the weekend, they’ve got the blueprints down for this site- after 10 festivals here, how do you fuck things like that up? Especially when Splendour are normally so good at improving every year. There were times over the weekend that felt like there were some serious cost-cutting going on. Again, I may be wrong- I can only go on what it felt like. It’s taken 12 years for Splendour to get my goodwill to the level that it’s at now, but there were points through the weekend where they almost lost it all within minutes.

Will I be back next year? Who knows. I hope so, but this years event has been the first where I’m a definite “maybe”. I was 25 for my first Splendour, I’m now 37. With the trappings of modern life and age, things like this get harder to do. For the first time we have a mortgage, and there’s also the very real possibility of a mini-Saminator in the future (near or far, who can tell).

Splendour isn’t a cheap weekend by any means. When we lived in Brisbane years ago, it was the cost of a (much cheaper) ticket and then whatever food/grog we needed to consume over the weekend. Now we’re well away from Brisbane, the costs of flights, campervan hire etc are added to that. Yeah- I’m a privileged white guy whinging about a couple a queues and the fact that I’m having second thoughts about dropping a few thousand dollars on a weekend away with my mates. Apologies are null, as that’s my reality now.

Being that I’ve been to every single event, I do hope to make it to number 13, especially as it’ll be at the new site in Yelgun, finally. Maybe Splendour could offer a discount/free ticket to the people who’ve been so loyal over the past 12 years? C’mon guys- do it.

Worth a shot yeah?

Until next year Splendid folk, I reckon I’ll be back (but don’t tell the wife yet),


Did you see Splendour In The Grass @ Belongil Fields, Byron Bay (Fri 27 Jul – Sun 29 July 2012)? So far, 7 people have commented, why don't you too?

went to this 11 years ago