Gig reviews can to a certain extent be a dime a dozen. Everyone has an opinion but at the same time those opinions don’t necessarily tell you about the details that would determine how your day would have gone. Because lets face it, a music festival is a hugely subjective experience.
So I decided that rather than review each festival I’ve attended, I’d do something a little bit different and give you a taste of my personal experiences versus the experiences of the music fiend who gave you the twenty tracks you should listen to before 2014.
So let’s kick things off with my thoughts…
‘We’re for fun, not for profit’
Set on a farm in the Coromandel, Chronophonium was a reminder of the hippy gatherings my parents would throw me into as a child (does the Jig on Sunday mean anything to any of you??) Two small stages (plus a free one where anyone could sign up to play!), a bundle of indie bands, camping and a river to swim in. What it equated to was bliss, music fuelled bliss.
one word cruisy
best act Sheep, Dog and Wolf, because while I knew that sweet Daniel was good, watching him live loop was insane. Doprah also, because Indi is the greatest thing on stage and their sounds are so so sweet.
weakness Myself, getting way too tired and not staying up late either night. Poor effort.
would I buy tickets Yes. At $60 it’s affordable while also being a really lovely way to spend a weekend.
This year Big Day Out returned, this time round at Western Springs. I was lucky to go thanks to my Uncle Simon’s generosity (thanks Si!) The venue change made the day. Except for the year that no one turned up, never have I ever had such a cruisy Big Day Out. Travelling between stages was a breeze, the bands were all on top form and then there was Chow Town – six of Auckland’s favourite restaurants selling their wares for a cool $6, $10 or $15. I dined on Salmon Tataki and Ribs from Masu, Peking Pork Belly Buns from The Blue Breeze Inn and Truffle Oil Fries from Baduzzi (each only $6 each! craziness)
one word manic bliss
best act In spite of everything leading up to this BDO, every act I saw killed it. Best goes to Major Lazer though, for making me lose my s***.
weakness The bars and port a loos. It was pretty obvious that BDO didn’t cater for the number of people who turned up. This was exacerbated by the fact that the $185 price point has pushed the festival out of the range of most under agers meaning that nearly the whole audience wanted to be in the bars. Time for a rethink of how we do drinking at festivals? I think so. The sheep pen doesn’t work.
would I buy tickets? It’s a tough call. At $185 it’s a steep price for what it is and this year the bands didn’t quite sell it for me (in spite of being amazing in person – Pearl Jam? nah). Once upon a time BDO would be where you go to discover new bands. If this year was anything to go by that’s no longer the case. If BDO want people to pay the steep fee they need to step it up. Or cut the fee and go back to promoting soon to be stars (as opposed to once weres…)
For a few years Laneway was the shining star of my festival season. This year, not so much. The line up was amazing, but the crowd was too big, the stages too low (I couldn’t see a single act on stage), and putting the major hip hop acts on the Cactus stage was plain dangerous.
‘The size of the festivals, the locations and the way we encourage community all form part of the way in which the Laneway team strive to present an urban music experience like no other.’
This year the size was a fail. It’s a shame because the acts were all amazing and it was in many ways still great. But basic things like not being able to move around and not being able to see the acts on stage were a major blow.
one word stressful
best act Chrvches, because I love them (even if the sound cut off half way through the set) and Danny Brown in a love hate way – he was great, his crowd was dangerous.
weakness As mentioned, the stage height and crowds. It was shades of the Rage BDO, but without Rage to make it okay. Also the scheduling, hip hop acts at the Cactus stage, fizzling out with Cat Power (grim) and The Presets…
OH AND YOU WEREN’T ALLOWED TO TAKE IN FOOD. Which meant that with my dietary limitations and hypoglycemic tendencies I was shaking with hunger by the end of the night.
would I buy tickets? In the past my Laneway experience has been amazing so in spite of the above, I tentatively say yes. From what I’ve heard the festival will be moving again too so hopefully that will straighten out the bad aspects of this years festival.
(I’ll let Adam gush on Danny)
p.s. I didn’t count the Lorde gig because that didn’t happen on the same day. The Lorde gig was amazing. Doprah, Watercolours and Lorde herself make a stunning trio and it was total aural bliss. They killed it. The stage was still too low off the ground though.
the pick of the bunch? Big Day Out. It was an easy place to be for a day, loads of space to relax if need be, wicked bands killing it on stage and great food.