Linda Dunjey – pond-laneway-festival-fremantle-1-4

Review: Laneway Festival, Perth, 11 February 2018

The name Laneway no longer feels befitting of what this festival has become. While staying true to the lineup’s eclecticism and spirit, Laneway has become more of a main road on the Australian festival circuit.

What had once begun as a series of Sunday sesh’s on the east coast has now blossomed into a major showcase of seminal and contemporary artists.

The Fremantle and final leg nestles on the Esplanade Park, an estuary of heritage listed streets. An important patch of land in the port city, and a cultural hub.

For those arriving early the sun had a noticeable sting and the majority of main stages weren’t covered by the shade of the tall pines. Not that this was a deterrent.

With a diverse and well reputed lineup it was disheartening to see amazing female talents like Stella Donnelly, Billie Eilish and Amy Shark take such early positions on the set times, however there was a tremendous show of support as large numbers flocked in early. Billie, in particular, had serious swagger as a performer. Sporting heavy camo attire, she completed a flip on stage and belted out a great rendition of ‘Ocean Eyes.’

The clement weather arrived courtesy of the famous ‘Freo doctor’ and it seemed fitting that this coincided with Mac DeMarco’s arrival. His stoned, mellow magnetism, the floaty guitar riffs and up beat keys delivered a dream-like soundtrack.

There was even something for the early-nineties gamer with Super Nintendo standard ‘EarthBound’ visuals playing in the background. After inviting The Internet on stage to perform together, it made what felt like the entire crowd clap to their grooves in unison.

The energy was brought immediately by Anderson .Paak and The Free Nationals. The enthusiastic belting of lyrics ‘You might not never come down’ was a promise of intent. Anderson has been a crowd favourite across the tour and there was no decrescendo for the final leg, emploring the audience to bounce.

Phones dangled precariously above heads trying to capture the action, bodies clambered upon friends in attempts for better views. Anderson dedicated ‘The Bird’ to the audience and merged in other classic beats throughout the set including Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg’s ‘The Next Episode’. This set was a real highlight.

A break in genre didn’t call for a break in intensity when the live electronic sets of Bonobo and Odesza apprehended the main stages. Bonobo’s live show was an unrelenting set, showcasing impeccable recreations of his productions. Songs such as ‘Cirrus’, ‘Towers’ and the closing track ‘Kerala’ flowed like running water if water could pluck strings, touch keys and bang drums.

Odesza’s illuminated drum troupe, Odesza Drumline, took the night to a new level of wonder. The colourful fluorescence presenting the dusty-orange Australian sunset, accompanied with the stoic synchronisation of the performers took it from show to full blown performance.

The intimacy of The Future Classic Stage worked as a favourable setting for Canadian four piece, BADBADNOTGOOD, although their performance was befitting of main stage billing. The group entranced the crowd as the spotlight of instrumental solos was passed between members like a seamless baton exchange.

Despite the band playing songs from their repertoire it had an effortless jamming quality. The imaginative beat making was like waking up in a downtown jazz bar at some early hour. Yet another dynamic to an evening that had given so much.

Similar to last year’s closing with Tame Impala, Pond was the perfect rock-psychedelic-boogie to end the day. Unlike Tame Impala, Pond was far more experimental with their psych-rock voyages. Nick Allbrook’s presence on stage is enough for local musicians and music nerds to swoon over. His elf like appearance and cheeky giggle between songs made for a fairy tale ending.

Their new twist on romanticism and psychedelic touch, combined with abstract and colourful light shows swept people off their feet. An appropriate end. A successful Laneway.

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