Music Festival Review: St Jerome’s Laneway Festival

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-6-31-24-pmThe St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2017 poster art

What: St Jerome’s Laneway Festival

Where: Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide

When: 3rd February

Live music can invite a special sense of connection between one’s self and thousands of strangers; kind of like counting down on New Year’s Eve or seeing a photo of Earth from space. This feeling seems important to our experience of life, and illustrates the potential power of art to unite. Laneway in Adelaide this year delivered magic moments of discovery and community, revealing an exciting creativity in the Australian indie musical and artistic scene.

The atmosphere around the festival was buzzing with local culture and craft; including a mural drawn throughout the day by our previous artist spotlight-er, Henry Stentiford. The hidden bar, spooky dress-ups and dancefloor stumbled upon in the Vitalstatistix theatre set off the feeling we’d entered some wedding in wonderland: that to mull over our day-to-day problems was pointless for the time being, that having a great time absorbing new and original music was what we had come for.

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-57-39-pmHart’s Mill. Photo credit: Adele Liebelt + Nathaniel Spurrier

What we saw:

Julia Jacklin’s sleepy guitar and dreamy vocals suited an early slot well. The sun and smaller crowd left plenty of space to drift into a hypnotic stupor, owing mostly to the backing band’s steady snare and chord progressions.

GL was an unexpected discovery and performed their new-wave-y synth pop at the far end of the festival. Emphasis on the ‘performance’ aspect, which involved dancers in geometry garb and streamers accompanying each song; whether it was ironic, or so serious that it was earnest, we liked it.

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-57-30-pmHart’s Mill at twilight. Photo credit: Adele Liebelt + Nathaniel Spurrier

Former busker and one-woman show Tash Sultana wooed her crowd with her contagious energy and smooth vocals dappled with delicious improvisation; obviously an experienced live performer. Her impressive electric guitar solos soared over the crisp beats of her drum machine, with harmonies and other layers of sound added via pedals.

Aurora also proved a delight of the afternoon with her distinctive voice bringing one Norske folk-ballad after the other. Synth-claps, trills and other electronic ornaments were accompanied by her vibrant dance moves and ever polite giggles and exchanges with the audience. 

In Gang of Youths; a heart thumping, charismatic frontman gave the music a completely different presence than you’d expect from the recorded versions. Introducing their final song with ‘Thank you for supporting a band who wrote an album about cancer’; this is another U2 in the making, chiming guitars included.

screen-shot-2017-02-16-at-8-58-45-pmConfetti at Tame Impala. Photo credit: Adele Liebelt + Nathaniel Spurrier

We had to wonder what came first; Floating Points’ night slot, or the accompanying visuals that could only have been viewed after dark. Whatever the reason (it could just have been being on at the same time as Nick Murphy before Tame Impala), everyone present at the smaller gathering enjoyed a front-row viewing of a show that was very visually driven, building around the locus of several floating points (fancy that) on screen. 

And of course, the night finished off with the bang of confetti canons from Tame Impala. Whatever is lost in the course of playing such luscious psychedelic tunes live is certainly made up for in the enthusiasm of fans and the band alike for a suite of infectiously appealing songs, from Innerspeaker to Currents. The charisma and respect which has grown to surround Kevin Parker is in our opinion as it felt in that moment – thoroughly well deserved.

– Tin Do and Katerina Grypma

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