We missed getting tickets for Kings Of Convenience at the Sydney Opera House but we snagged some for Laneway instead. This year’s lineup includes the acoustic guitar masters from Norway and a lotta bands including Japandroids, Cloud Nothings, Yeasayer and more.
This year’s Laneway was held at the Sydney College Of The Arts in Rozelle and feels kinda big at this point. I actually regret missing 2012 because it had fucking Twin Shadow, Washed Out, SBTRKT, Toro Y Moi, Feist, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and M83, which is like what I was listening to all of 2012 minus Wild Nothing. Anyway, I’ve only ever been to one other Laneway and that was (gasp!) back in 2008! Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of the location. Nice buildings and all but doesn’t really feel laneway-ish if you know what I mean. Also, it was a mare to get around because there were a few choke points where shitloads of people would try to squeeze through in two directions. Plus, the shit rain meant we had to drop $5 on ponchos to stay dry. It was on and off all day and off at night, until we left.
First up, the non essential. Drinks were from Bulmers, who were really nice and had their own spot called Brick Lane where you could listen to classic records on vinyl through shitty Urbanears Plattan headphones and also make free badges, which was kinda fun. You could just cut something out from a zine or scrap paper or whatever, draw some shit on it or glue layers together and they’d stamp it into your own button. For free.
Food was ok, good even. I enjoyed the Kransky Hot Dog from The German Hut which was a juicy and generous feeling snag for $7 that came with sauerkraut, fried onions and your choice of wholemeal/white and also tomato/sweet mustard/hot mustard/bbq/chilli as you like it. Another good one was Jafe Jaffles who did a smart run of jaffles, which are sandwiches pressed in a toaster that splits it into two triangles and seals the fillings shut. I had a Reuben Jaffle, which came with a slice of corned beef, cheese, some sauce and a pickle for $6. Toko Surry Hills also had a pop up that did a brisk business selling cocktails and some food. I didn’t bother to try. There were also a mix of various food trucks and festival/market stalls that I’ve seen at every festival/market. Most were decent/ok. I think it’s a shitload better than whatever crap you used to get served in music festivals.
Toilets were another mare. 3 large locations but still long queues most of the time. We opted for leaving early during the afternoon acts to get ahead for the next show plus hit the loo/grab food etc. Overall, I think there were way too many people and at times, the venue felt really small, especially at the Courtyard stage, which was a dead end and I never got even close to it at any point.
KOC kicked things off early and I think most people hadn’t even arrived but they were surely the biggest names in the lineup and early birds were rewarded with a great performance. Eirik and Erlend were pretty affable and jovial, using some good natured humour to get the crowd warmed up. Later on, they brought out a backing band that included a drummer, guitarist and bassist for extra oomph. The backup guys wore infectious smiles that really got the crowd into the groove. I think one of the best tracks on the day had to be I’d Rather Dance With You Than Talk With You where everyone was just into it. Erlend climbed down to dance with the crowd near the end, which was pretty cool. He might look like a hipster nerd who dances silly but his sheer enthusiasm and joyfulness and that of his bandmates really gets to you. And anyway, this is Kings Of Convenience. Stupid sick enchanting melodies, guitars with hooks on end and gentle lilts all over. The performance was just superb.
After KOC was mostly a downer. The low point probably Holy Other, which I’ve been enjoying heaps on my headphones but as a live act, is boring as hell. Dude is also a short ass mofo. One other dude, Perfume Genius looked like he was gonna cry at any moment whilst he was singing and seemed to be really annoyed with the weather. Of Monsters And Men were good. Prolly queue that shit up. Despite every track sounding like Arcade Fire meets Mumford And Sons with a girl singing, I think everyone was pretty taken.
The pretty much last act for us was Jessie Ware and she blew us away. The crowd was also mad, making a lotta noise and really breaking it down. Her voice was super and was only marred by an apparent mic malfunction. Otherwise, the songs were just great and I really think she’ll go onto bigger things if her followup LP is going to be as good as Devotion. For me, she’s better than Adele or whoever but then again, I just like dance music as much as I appreciate a good singer. She was also hilarious and had lots of ditzy speels that switched easily into serious mode where she poses and preens and works her vocal chops, hard. Respect.
We skipped out the late night show mostly for work commitments but blew that by hitting up Chat Thai for supper. How the hell did I miss 2012?