festival review: festival of the sun, day two, dec 10 2011
Day Two: Sunday Tenth
Ben Wells and the Middle Names were the first band of the day two on my itinerary. The festival floor was noticeably more empty, as most revellers were clearly recovering from the night before. Which is a shame, as Ben Wells were definitely one of the highlights of the day. Harmonising female and male vocals radiated across the festival grounds, while ‘Robin Hood’ added a more upbeat element to their set.
Getting into the Christmas spirit, Pigeon came out on the main stage clad in Santa costumes. But their music was different from anything their clothing could give away. Their song ‘Apex’ woke up the crowd, and saxophone solos and synthesisers featured extensively in their set. Pigeon’s electronic take of ‘Another Day in Paradise’ was met with delight. It seemed they were channelling the Art vs Science performance from the day before. Keeping the crowd jumping, the Brisbane band were definitely up there among the more entertaining bands of the festival.
Larissa McKay, keyboard at the ready, brought a notably more subdued set to the atmosphere. As she sang “doomed now that I met you”, her ballads resonated with those present. An acoustic piano cover of the song ‘Bulletproof’ brought a smile to the Sydney local, who was clearly enjoying her first Australian camping festival performance.
Clad in denim jackets, The Delta Riggs, channelled the 60s, both in their clothes and in their sound. The psychedelic bass went into overdrive as they sang “I want to rattle the cage I was put in by the man” in their track ‘Counter Revolution’, which was undeniably catchy. Their set was characterised by rapid drums and heavy guitar as their front man, Elliott Hammond, paced around the stage.
One man band Claude Hay was next up on the acoustic stage. Carrying what looked like a bass-and-guitar combo, his co-ordination and musical ability was instantly appreciated by the crowd. Switching between instruments, singing “O, I’m going get me some of that” over percussion and guitar, his set was a freakish display of musical aptitude.
The Medics brought an atmospheric sound to the bands of the day. The Brisbane-based band have been compared to fellow Australians, The Temper Trap, in the past, and it seems like an apt description. ‘Beggars’ is one such example, as tom toms and slower guitar licks filtered through the festival grounds throughout their set.
Acoustic guitar in tow, Microwave Jenny were nothing short of charming. The female and male vocals skilfully complimented the talented guitar riffs. A gleeful crowd sang along to a censored version of ‘Forget You’ by CeeLo Green. The pair’s brand of upbeat and almost innocent like music caught the attention of the festival goers, and they seemed to be genuinely enjoying their time on stage.
Benjalu continued on with the mellow theme set by Microwave Jenny. ‘By the Ocean’ seemed appropriate for Festival of the Sun, as they sang out “Ooo” repeatedly. Clearly a talented band, the Newcastle band showcased their talents in their newest track ‘Another Way’, to the approving nods of punters.
Having heard so much about Guineafowl and their amazing live performances, they didn’t disappoint. The festival-goers got right into clap happy song ‘Botanist’ as the Bondi locals exhibited their talent to the receptive audience.
Looking like they walked straight of an American cowboy movie (think suspenders and epic facial hair), Brothers Grim were an entertaining addition to the line up. Charming and hilarious, the crowd didn’t seem to mind that he thanked the ‘Port Melbourne’ crowd. Tales of pants and tents (it’s not what it sounds like), and songs like ‘Friends like These’ seemed like a formality compared to their entertaining stage talk.
The Snowdroppers have become known for their cheeky brand of performing, and this set was no different. Dressed ever so slightly like Brothers Grim, with double bass to boot, ‘I’ve been working hard, all day all night’ was religiously chanted by the mosh. A playful rendition of their song ‘Good drugs and bad women’ was likewise well received by the festival goers.
Hungry Kids of Hungary came out to crowd eagerly anticipating their distinctive brand of upbeat music. They didn’t disappoint, and played ‘Coming Around’ to open their set. The mosh seemed to know the words to all their songs as ‘Let you down’ and ‘Wristwatch’ went off. With help from members of The Medics, ‘Scattered Diamonds’ seemed to capture the mood of the festival, with pure joy exuding from the bands and the crowd alike as they prepared the stage for Dan Sultan.
Known for his charisma, Dan Sultan brought yet another kind of feeling to the closing end of the festival. Band friendly tracks like ‘Your Love is like a Song’ kept the masses involved, while newer tracks off his new album ‘Get Out While You Still Can’ seemed to be known by most in the crowd.
Wearing an oversized t-shirt and hiding behind a mane of blonde hair, Ladyhawke came out to an enthusiastic crowd, though it was notably quieter than the night before. Periodically dark lights, a stationary Ladyhawke churned through classics like ‘Paris is Burning’ and ‘Dusk til Dawn’, with the help of the Port Macquarie crowd’s anthemic singing. For those who perhaps weren’t as familiar with her music, most sang ‘You set me on fire’ as ‘Back of the Van’ played. Fans also got to hear new songs like ‘Anxiety’. It was abundantly clear that the song all were waiting for would end the set, with ‘My Delirium’ wrapping up the festivities.
Festival of the Sun has modest roots, starting out after someone hired a band to play some songs for a birthday on the beach. More than ten years later, the festival has grown to a 3000 strong, byo celebration of Australian music, while still keeping its original spirit. With the interesting array of people that only a BYO festival brings, it is a festival on its own, and well worth the trek to Port Macquarie.
Check out the review of day one here!
Photos credit: Ellise Cummings and Angelique Lu