Live Review: Laneway Festival 2011 - Auckland New Zealand
Second year for the Laneway Festival in Auckland and a new venue, this time at the newly renovated Aotea Square. After last years problems which included Daniel Johnston stopping his set because he was being drowned out and lines so big it was impossible to buy alcohol, it had improvements to be made, it passed exceptionally.
Now before I start the band reviews I must add in theory I could've reviewed every bands performance, but I chose to stand infront of the stage that had the bands I had come to see (Ariel Pink, Warpaint, Deerhunter and Beach House) So for didn't pay that much attention to during their performance as I was watching others set up, so I don't think its fair to review those bands as it just couldn't be a proper review.
An Emerald City
A dour start to the day, the New Zealand instrumental act added nothing to the festival as it was way too boring. Its a shame that they were chosen for this festival as theres plenty of decent indie acts in New Zealand that could've started the festival a lot better than this BIS (Boring Instrumental Shit).
Rating: 45 minutes too long/10
The reformed band from New Zealand would obviously bring fans out of the woodwork. It did, but the band really looked and sounded out of place. Those that didn't know any of their stuff left quickly as it didn't go with most music tastes of those there. Hell if Megan had her way she would've stopped the set 10 minutes in.
Rating: Dad Rock/10
The last of the New Zealand openers and this was by far the best. One of he big surprises for me and a little embarassed I'd never checked them out before this. They were such a nice, summery indie band, they drew a pretty big crowd and no one was interested in leaving. The reception they got showed there was definately some Laurence Arabia love going on and a welcome change to the flat start to the day.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
First of the bands I had come to see and it was definately a lot of fun. Dressed Bizarrely the band churned out songs from their latest album Before Today and sounded pretty good for the most part. The most noticable part of the performance was that of people leaving during the set. I guess people don't understand this band, so seeing them live being your first time hearing them probably wasn't the best. The set did lack a little spark at times something which was dissapointing but ending the set with Round and Round, then Bright Lit Blue Skies definitely made it a highlight.
With a great EP and last years debut album "The Fool" being one of my favourite albums of last year, this was definately a must see for myself. Warpaint came out and played one of the best sets of the day, the most notable part was the energy that Stella Mozgawa produced behind the kit wasn't something I'd expected from listening to the album. The soft vocals came through so well with "Undertow" being the crowd favourite. The addition of tracks from "Exquisite Corpse EP" particularly the EP opener "Stars" was my biggest highlight. Megans review "They were sexy"
The band that produced the line "1. Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest" and the band I wanted to see the most was next for me. The set started off with the beautiful track "Desire Lines" off the latest release. The set included tracks from all over the discography with "Little Kids", "Hazel St." and one of the best from the set "Nothing Ever happened". Deerhunter were performing perfectly, the crowd were in it at all times having a lot of fun and not even the signs of rain could stop this from being my favourite set. The only dissapointment was that the sound cutout for about 10 seconds during the closer "Helicopter" the band didn't seem too impressed but their mood changed pretty fast when the crowd gave them a big applause while the sound was out.
"Teen Dream" was my second favourite album last year, so to see them live was to be a lot of fun. The set started with Alex Scally asking the crowd "Are you ready for the sexiest slow jams?" the crowd was and the set was beautiful. Walk in the Park followed by my favourite track of theres "Norway" got the set off to a great start. The point in which it hit its peak was during the song "I Take Care" how anyone could not like this track purely because its possibly the nicest song ever. Second best set of the day and the vocals by both were perfect, which is my favourite aspect of the band.
Being a fairly big Foals fan, the idea of them closing the festival was alright with me. Being one of more dancier bands it was a great way to finish a great day. Big ups first of all to the band playing songs from both albums. Balloons and Red Sock Pugie from the debut album "Antidotes" were two of my set highlights and really got the crowd going. The amount of space covered by leader singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis and the energy he produced was incredible and showed why they've got a reputation as a quality live band. The best song of the set was easily "Spanish Sahara".
Laneway Festival for 2011 was defintely a great day, my favourite festival I've been to without a doubt. The bands were relevant in terms of releasing quality albums in recent memory, something Big Day Out took little notice to. The smallness also was a huge positive as it was nice not having to walk to far for anything. Massive big ups, I'll definately be back.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Best Dressed/Least Hetero: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Bassist
The Humpty Dumpty Award for Best Headslam: The random dude who must've snuck backstage and when caught ran, tried to jump the barrier, clipped his foot, fell head first, got up and continued to run. All this during Spanish Sahara, definately a funny moment
Worst Attempt At Being Popular: Ladyhawke, she blew so bad, what made it worse was that she hasn't been popular for atleast a year and back then I still thought she sucked.