St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Melbourne 2017 – Review

Born from the laneways of Melbourne, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival has quickly become the biggest and best one-day festival in Australasia.

In 2005, Laneway Festival began as somewhat of a block party in Melbourne’s Caledonian Lane, featuring a line-up including Architecture in Helsinki, Eskimo Joe and The Avalanches.

Every year after 2005, it grew to a new city, until in 2011 it had expanded to every major city in Australia as well as Singapore and Auckland. By this time, Laneway had played host to acts such as Tame Impala, The xx and Run the Jewels among many other incredible artists.

Possibly even more impressive on the Laneway organisers’ behalf is that it has given artists the chance to perform on the big stage when they were little known and have then gone on to become superstars. Musicians such as Flume in 2013, Lorde in 2014 and Tash Sultana at this years festival have been an example of Laneway unearthing future stars.

The 2017 edition of Laneway Festival was no different to the plan that the organisers have stuck to throughout its previous 11 years. On the bill were a bunch of new artists such as imports Whitney, Car Seat Headrest and Tourist and Australians D.D Dumbo, Julia Jacklin and Camp Cope; all who have huge hype surrounding them as a result of great records in 2016.

The aforementioned artists put on terrific afternoon performances, easing and, at times, accelerating the crowds of punters into what was to be a great night ahead. However, the lesser known band that particularly exceeded expectations was Koi Child, who are destined to be festival favourites in the future. The Perth hip-hop/jazz seven-piece kicked off the proceedings in a funky fashion, jamming out on their assortment of brass instruments, which is always refreshing.

Another seven-piece were making the crowd move in the late afternoon, but in a different way to Koi Child. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard swapped the brass of Koi Child for a double dose of drums, face melting guitar riffs and the odd dusty old harmonica, causing the masses into multiple circle pits scattered throughout the crowd. The crowd went crazy right from the first song of King Gizzard’s set and continued until the end, even when the band unleashed unreleased material.

Not only is Laneway a festival for discovering little-known artists, it also has the ability to book world-renowned musicians, which it showed again this year by persuading Tame Impala into completing their Currents album world tour at Laneway.

Laneway was a perfect ending point for Tame Impala’s Currents album tour. The previous occasion Tame Impala played at Laneway was in 2009, before they had even released their debut album Innerspeaker. In comparison, Kevin Parker’s band was closing the festival, with the show incorporating an extravagant light show and confetti canyons blasting every 20 minutes, not to mention the performance of the band was unrivalled compared to other acts.

For everyone that attended Laneway, it was the music that brought them to the festival. But, it may have been the little things like food stalls that nobody really gives thought to that made Laneway great. The punters at the festival were spoilt for great food choices, not just basic take-away, making a long day a lot easier to get through.

Polyester Records were also selling records and hosting artist signings in a small stall at Laneway, which is something I’ve never seen at a festival before. The idea for the record stall is a fantastic one, especially at this point in time as the revival of vinyl continues to increase.

The only downside of Laneway was the number of clashes in the set times. The worst clash were the acts closing out the festival – Tame Impala and Jagwar Ma. The two bands make somewhat similar music with their blend of rock and electronic, therefore many people, myself included, were let down when it was announced they would be performing at the same time.

It is always a given that clashes in set times will appear when the line-up is as jam-packed as the one at Laneway. Therefore, as that is the only negative of the day, all people involved in the festival can be proud of the show they organised. I will definitely be attending the festival again in the future.

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