Groovin The Moo- Bendigo
It could count as biased journalism but we’ll say it straight off the bat, we love Groovin The Moo. From organisation, to atmosphere and line up it really is a festival that rivals the best of ‘em in a lot of ways. Yet it still manages to maintain it’s rural charm despite the massive influx of citizens from the big smoke who descend upon it in increasing numbers every year.
There’s just a magic little vibe that’s kept dragging us back since the festival was in its infancy. This year can be looked at as a coming of age of sorts, as the festival boasts more international acts than ever before as well as some of our countries premier outfits and, ah, 360.
“Close to 12 hours of eclectic live music really does physically drain you, but come this time next year, we’ll be doing it all again.”
Having learned their lesson from a few years ago there was absolutely no headaches in getting into Bendigo’s Prince of Wales Showgrounds for Groovin The Moo 2012. Entry to the festival was absolutely seamless and it really shows that this festival is one of those rare gems that work hard to get better, rather than bigger.
Before this sounds like it will be another 500 odd words of smoke blown up organisers Cattleyard Production’s proverbial arse, the festival was not without it’s pitfalls. We walked into the Showgrounds and were welcomed by the most ridiculous toilet queues we have ever seen. The age-old festival lore of “thou shalt have twice the amount of port-a-potties than thou think thou will need” was blatantly shat upon. Probably because someone couldn’t get to a toilet. The queues did not subside all day and for the fairer sex, this was a definite sticking point.
Luckily the bladder cramps were quickly forgotten thanks to some wonderful tunes from a couple of class young Australian acts. San Cisco and Big Scary were unfazed by their early main stage billing and were rewarded appropriately by an appreciative early crowd. The hook laden pop styling’s of the former backed up by the more mellow vibes of the latter was a nice reflection on the eclectic line up that GTM is famous for putting together. This is a festival that strives to have something for everyone.
Our day almost came to an untimely end in the great Corby stampede that cut a path of decimation en route to the main stage around quarter past one. Luckily, glitter in the eye from a sign that read “I Wouldn’t Care If You Were My Brother” was the worst of the injuries sustained. Even more thankfully, our vision was spot on to enjoy a thumping set from Hermitude in the Moulin Rouge tent. Playing songs almost exclusively from the brilliant Hyperparadise the Blue Mountains duo blew collective minds very early. These are two guys who are really ahead of the curve as far as electronic music is concerned in this country and their performance on Saturday galvanised that.
Catching a bit of the The Maccabees set was a treat. The South London lads were obviously stoked to be playing their maiden Australian tour and the crowd sent that stoke right back at them. It was a happy little affair for all involved really. Andrew W.K ensured that disappeared rather sharpish. The self-titled ‘One Man Party’ was an more like a train wreck. Wether having over indulged in the party drink before hand or thought acting inebriated would be cool we’re not sure, but the New Yorker soon alienated the crowd with abuse and taunts. Bottles were hurled from the crowd and the whole scene became a bit embarrassing for all involved, both performer and the crowd. Having had a W.K experience before, we know that the man can offer a lot more than he did on Saturday. It still doesn’t mean he needs a bottle in the face to remind him.
The depressing sight was soon forgotten at the Moulin Rouge where the Purple Sneakers DJs were throwing a hell of a daytime disco. Playing everything and anything the genre-hopping maniacs are serious good fun. That was until we noticed our shuffling room fast decreasing ahead of 360’s approaching set.
Heaps of people went to see 360. He may have amassed the biggest crowd for the day to be honest for whatever reason so good on him and good on Groovin The Moo for giving the people what they want. It just meant there was more room for us to dance to Ball Park Music at the main stage. Front man Sam Cromack was hilarious, which complimented the unadulterated fun of Ball Park’s music perfectly. With quips like “You’re the best Moo we’ve played so far” and introducing his band as One Direction, you could tell that Cromack and his band mates were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd was.
There was a monstrous crowd amassed for City and Colour. You would be forgiven for thinking that Dallas Green and co might be a bit too slow and dreamy for their early evening timeslot but the crowd in Bendigo begged to differ. While there was an obvious amount of love for tracks from 2011’s Little Hell but even Green’s older City and Colour material drew some very hearty vocal backing from the crowd. Especially Bring Me Your Love’s ‘As Much as I Ever Could’, which was absolutely mesmerizing.
Hanging around the main stage for the start of Public Enemy’s set equated to witnessing some kind of bizarre, elongated introduction and no music from the rap legends. Luckily Muscles had the Moulin Rouge bursting. This will be a return tour of sorts for Muscles, who after a few years in the wilderness has just unleashed his brand new track ‘Ready For A Fight’ (which was received extremely well considering it’s very recent release) before his album, Manhood, drops later this year. Performing from some kind of jungle gym, the dance renegade sent the crowd into a frenzy with many favourites from his debut Guns, Babes and Lemonade. He ran into some technical difficulties during his set but the crowd was too excited (or overstimulated) to care too much.
Kimbra was a ball of colour when she exploded onto the main stage. Her admission that she’d never played a festival in the dark before couldn’t help but get us thinking about how far the beautiful kiwi had come in such a short amount of time. More than deserving of her prime time billing she charmed the pants off the crowd (literally, some guy threw his pants in the stages’ general direction). Songs from Vows obviously made up the bulk of the set but one of the real highlights was her inclusion of ‘Warrior’, her recent collaboration with Mark Foster and A-Trak.
One punter remarked that the Hilltop Hoods are fast becoming the second coming of The Living End. The Adelaide boys have become that headline Australian artist on seemingly every festival bill. It’s an accolade they deserve. Their already polished live show has now been stepped up a notch with the introduction of live drums and keys to compliment DJ Debris’ turntable work.
It was for many a live introduction to the Hoods’ newest material from Drinking From The Sun and it didn’t fail to ignite the frozen limbs of the Bendigo faithful. Closing out with I Love It and Rattling The Keys To The Kingdom brought raucous applause to close the set out but it wasn’t a set without it’s tepid moments. Stopping a song halfway through to amp the crowd up and get them more involved is an age old move in hip-hop. It works and people love it. Once per set. MCs Suffa and Pressure referred to it all too much during their set and honestly, it became a little grating. It didn’t take too much away from what was a very energetic performance from the godfathers of Australian hip-hop.
So good in fact, that many called it a night then and there. The sheer number of people who departed following the sets from the Hilltop Hoods on the main stage and Adrian Lux in the Moulin Rouge was unlike anything we’d seen at a festival before. It was a mighty shame, as the depressingly small crowd that stayed until the end of the Kaiser Chiefs were treated to a fucking awesome show.
Giving every generation of Kaiser Chief fans something to sing along to, the band played songs from every single one of their albums. From the early days of ‘Everyday I Love You Less and Less’ right through to the new material like ‘On The Run’, every single song was belted out with more gusto than any of their predecessors looked close to reaching. The five-piece were completely unperturbed by the diminishing crowd and played their headline set like it was their last. You couldn’t help but admire the absolute professionalism with which they went about their performance. And that was before the crowning moment of the set.
During ‘Take My Temperature’, frontman Ricky Wilson abruptly exited the stage. Still blasting out the lyrics, Wilson didn’t miss a beat as HE jumped onto the flying Slingshot Ball ride that was located to the right of the stage. As he was flung hundreds of metres into the air he still nailed his vocals. Showmanship at it’s absolute finest.
The closing of the Kaiser Chiefs set brought with it reminder just how bitterly cold Bendigo can get in April. Blowing hot air into our hands we hastened toward the exit. Close to 12 hours of eclectic live music really does physically drain you, but come this time next year, we’ll be doing it all again. For the minor hiccups that occurred during the day, as to be expected when orgainsing an event for thousands of people, you know that the Groovin The Moo organisers will be working until next year to make sure 2013 is the best chapter yet.
Tagged 360, A-Track, Adrian Lux, Andrew WK, ball park music, Bendigo, Big Scary, Cattleyard Production, City and Colour, Dallas Green, DJ Debris, fesitval, groovin the moo, Hermitude, Hilltop Hoods, Kaiser Chiefs, Kimbra, Mark Foster, Matt Corby, MC Pressure, MC Suffa, muscles, One Direction, Prince of Wales Showgrounds, Public Enemy, Purple Sneaker DJs, Ricky Wilson, rural, Sam Cromack, San Cisco, The Living End, the maccabees