22 February 2018 by SavageThrills
Which Acts Blew Minds At Melbourne’s Laneway Festival
Let’s face it, Laneway Festival will always be at its shining best in Melbourne. Beginning from humble origins as an actual festival held in a laneway almost 14 years ago, the now international music gathering is one of the largest and diverse in the Southern Hemisphere. 2018’s rendition brought along with it many amazing international and local acts to fill another incredible bill. Laneway Festival has always been a true representation of Melbourne as a city. The essence of such a diverse music rich city, all rolled up and packaged into a little festival. Well not so little anymore! Is what drives festival goers to turn up year after year to enjoy a quality curation of select music.
One of the many talented Melburnians, KLLO treated patrons to a fantastic set. Touring well before their initial release Blackwater, they’ve recently been hitting it hard at home. Chloe Kaul’s vocals are in her prime and Simon Lam and Kaul’s synth and MIDI work is an experience in itself. They got the crowd grooving to their tracks regardless of their dreamy sound. Heading over to catch Billie Eilish the sixteen-year-old from California potentially brought her best international performance of all-time. Despite starting 20 minutes late due to delays, Billie Eilish opened with bellyache and the electricity in the crowd was clear. A strong highlight of her set was the transition from watch to &burn, really increasing the hype of the audience. Closing out with her popular ocean eyes and a friendly, “thank you for standing in the fucking sun. That takes courage.”
UK producer, BONOBO, has shared a vast six full-length albums and is commonly renowned as one of the most profound electronic acts on the globe. The question is, does the DJ still have his magic touch and absolutely impress at Laneway ’18? The quick answer is an astounding yes. Bonobo provided an exciting and hyper set featuring classics from Music is my Wife, Migration and more. If you missed BONOBO, you missed a massive experience. Starting just as the hot afternoon came to a cool, Loyle Carner enthralled patrons with his charming stage presence. His DJ, Rebel Kleff, joining him on-stage for a fantastic show. The pair shared the mic for No Worries and proved their demand with Ain’t Nothing Changed. An immediate stand-out from the set was the Like A Version cover of George Benson’s 80s disco ‘Give Me The Night. The pair rounded their set with a surprising slam poem by Carner.
The indie-folk extraordinaire graced our down-under stages once again with his presence. Josh Tillman, otherwise known as Father John Misty, kicked off with 2012’s Funtimes In Babylon. It’s clear the ex-Fleet Foxes drummer catered his set to his dedicated fans. Tilman shied away from previewing any new music, rather performing classics like Pure Comedy. The audience really got moving as Tillman picked up an electric guitar for Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings. And, of course, he concluded with a serenading I Love You, Honeybear.
Without a doubt, one of the most powerful acts of the day. A highlight of many throughout 2018’s Laneway, Paak brought an unquestionably implausible hip-hop set. By the time he entered the stage, the heat of the day had begun to settle and the crowd perked up. The electricity, as he performed, was felt across the venue, with everyone converging on The Very West Stage for his set. Sampling from other hip-hop classics, such as Snoop Dog and the likes, everyone had Anderson.Paak in their top 3 for the day.
Once again, the Canadian fun-loving indie-rocker returns to his second home on the Melbourne Laneway stage. Playing in front of what felt like a state’s population worth of ecstatic fans with the vivid retro video game backdrop, Mac DeMarco blew everyone away once again. There isn’t much more to say about our Canadian brother. He guarantees a great show with hits that everyone will know and love and brings a happy vibe that the crowd absorbs. He did, however, surprise us with an intricate tambourine solo on-stage with Alex Cameron during his set earlier in the day, which was also another delight.
Veteran shoe-gaze outfit Slowdive recently released their first album in almost 20 years to critical acclaim. Their return to the stage has been a consistent success and a nostalgia trip for many. Their set ran into the sunset and as the light faded the atmosphere of their music hit the audience. Honouring us with tracks from Souvlaki, Just for a Day, and of course their newest self-titled, the band provided a chilling and moving set. What better setting to watch Grammy Award-winning indie rock band from Philadelphia, The War On Drugs has been around since the mid-2000s. They are huge in the scene and have collaborated with many other influential artists alike Kurt Vile (Laneway ’19 PLEASE). The band played many tracks of their critically acclaimed 2017 A Deeper Standing. and of course the hits from their prior releases that everyone loves. It was clear the crowd was there to support one of their favourite acts. Nearly every track had majority singing along to most if not all the lyrics. A wonderful way to end the festival.
Photography © Ryley Clark follow him on Instagram.