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Camp Cope perform at Falls Festival in Fremantle. Picture: Liam Thomson. Full gallery

Review: Falls Festival, Fremantle, 6-7 January 2018

8
Delightful, mostly.

A stunning summer’s day greeted festival-goers who braved lengthy queues to make it inside the Fremantle Oval gates on Saturday – ready for Falls Festival’s second-ever sojourn in WA.

Methyl Ethel established themselves as an early highlight, grinding out heady doses of never-quite-ethereal dream-pop between their constant swapping of instruments. Joined by the immensely talented Stella Donnelly and occasional saxophone, Jake Webb’s songs found a niche in the 30-degree heat, sizzling but never burning out in the glare.

Elsewhere, Julia Jacklin conjured earnest songwriting on the Valley Stage, to a reasonable crowd. Possessing an aura parts Patti Smith and Jessica Pratt, Jacklin’s more sparse song selections wavered in comparison to the band numbers, struggling to land safely in the breeze.

Not far over at the Clancy’s Fish Pub Micro Venue, Carla Geneve’s songs found a more suitable place with the fingerpicked ‘I Hate You For Making Me Leave The City’ pleasing wall-huggers and window-watchers alike.

As the daylight negotiated a longer stay than usual, DRAM tiptoed the lovelorn line with a charisma that refused to fade for his nearly hour-long set. “How can one person have so much fun?” queried a nearby punter, a fitting summation of a thoroughly entertaining performance.

Glass Animals delivered plumes of smoke and a Gnarls Barkley cover to a considerably full crowd, unsurprising given the band’s colossal following in Australia. Fleet Foxes dialled back the intensity on the opposite stage, showcasing a delicate, yet impressively layered sound to the evening audience. Shrugging early technical difficulties, the band, led by songwriter Robin Pecknold, delivered gorgeously arranged versions of newer songs such as ‘Third of May/Ōdaigahara’ and older fan favourites ‘Helplessness Blues’ and ‘White Winter Hymnal’.

When darkness finally arrived, Flume pushed the Falls Fremantle sound system to its limits, justifying the cost of entry for many a punter. Elsewhere at the local stages, Reef Prince intimately introduced an ecstatic audience to his trap-rap stylings, sparing nothing with live drums and mixing.

With a noticeably more laidback vibe to the previous day, Sunday at Falls began with the dimed out grunge sounds of Bad//Dreems, a band by no means reinventing the wheel, but managing to win favour with infectious charm.

Sidestepping to Everything Everything, the day kicked into gear with pop hits ‘Run the Numbers’, ‘Cough Cough’ and ‘Distant Past’ forcibly shaking the crowd.

As afternoon beckoned, festival mainstays Dune Rats matched power chords with inflatable beer cans in a bewildering performance. For a band that has either stumbled upon or collectively embodied an Australian youth subculture, the linear songwriting and essentially self-parodying lyrics never fail to draw questions from this reviewer. Maybe that’s the point.

Dashing over to catch self-proclaimed “angry feminist band” Camp Cope, previous questions regarding the existence of certain bands were quelled.

Camp Cope are quite simply a very important band. After calling out lack of gender diversity at this year’s festival and printing t-shirts standing in solidarity with victims of sexual assault, the band’s words between songs aimed to incite a sense of moral responsibility among festival-goers in tackling what is undeniably a global issue.

Such sentiments unfortunately fell on deaf ears, as some witnessed and experienced the unsolicited advances of a drunken galoot, thankfully expelled by the security team. Such actions exemplify the significance of a band like Camp Cope and the discussions they create within the music industry.

Camp Cope are quite simply a very important band. After calling out lack of gender diversity at this year’s festival and printing t-shirts standing in solidarity with victims of sexual assault, the band’s words between songs aimed to incite a sense of moral responsibility among festival-goers in tackling what is undeniably a global issue.

Back at the main stages, the impressive run of one-man show Vince Staples and Brit-pop icon Liam Gallagher carried out the afternoon, with perhaps surprising crossover between the fans either act pulled their way.

Back at the local stages, standout sophisti-pop outfit Segue Safari impressed a considerably crammed audience with interlocking guitars and earwormish hooks, while later on beat-influenced instrumental 4-piece Grievous Bodily Calm wowed their dedicated followers, keyboard player Josiah Padmanabham at times chasing God with his truly transcendent solos.

Later in the evening, The Kooks took up residence on Stage Two for a selection of sing-along Britpop, reconstructing memories of the mid-2000s with the sombre ‘Seaside’ and whispered verses from ‘Naïve’. Never a band to outgrow their earlier albums, the band provided their audience what was expected of them, even if this did at times consist of middling pop rock.

Closing out the main stage and the festival as a whole, rap duo Run The Jewels brought a sense of swagger and intensity previously lacking from some of the main stage acts, gliding through hits ‘Blockbuster Night Part 1’ and ‘Talk to Me’ in a relentless display. Killer Mike and EL-P’s onstage chemistry brought each track a sense of urgency that the (what seemed to be) full capacity crowd revelled in.

A fitting end to an exceedingly enjoyable weekend.




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