Normally Canberra plays host to the great thinkers of this nation, but this weekend it took a back seat to the great drinkers, as thousands of punters attended Groovin’ The Moo.
They turned out in droves (ahthankyou) to witness both international and national bands rock the shit out of the city, which is a tough ask given that Canberra normally calls it quits around 5pm. However, the likes of Silverchair, Vampire Weekend, Tegan and Sara and Spoon were enough to keep people interested.
Split between two main stages and a tent, Groovin’ the Moo proves that not every festival has to be massive like Splendour or Big Day to hold it’s own.
Jonathan Boulet and his band rocked up after a quick pit stop at General Pants, and their brand of electro pop went down a treat. Wrapping it up with ‘Community Service Announcement’ was a good move.
Given that Groovin’ The Moo is all ages – from the kiddies to the geriatrics – alcohol was only to be consumed in licensed areas, meaning you felt somewhat like cattle, which was strangely appropriate. It did put a bit of a dampener on things, but there was still ample room to watch Kisschasy inject a bit of Aussie punk into proceedings. They’re unashamedly fun and in between them and Muph and Plutonic, it was damn near impossible not to be smiling.
Lisa Mitchell had one of the bigger crowds of the day but her set was disappointing. Groovin’ The Moo is bang on for her; it’s chilled out and wistful, but the petite singer seemed uncomfortable. She did her thing but there wasn’t the same confidence of her BDO set.
As the sun went down, the smoke went up, showing some signs that the drug culture in Australian music festivals isn’t completely dead. It was harmless fun and as Spoon took the stage there was a delightful haze hovering above the crowd. Spoon were one of the stand outs; the Texans know how to impress and when they busted out ‘That’s The Way We Get By’ people were jiving like there was no tomorrow.
Some technical issues during the Tegan and Sara set called for some improvisation from the Canadian twins. The crowd was made to sing Happy Birthday to Sara, even though it wasn’t her birthday. While they’re not exactly festival style musicians the duo did well. Every quirky girl there was in raptures.
Temperatures dropped below ‘oh my god I can’t feel my hands’ but that did nothing to stop the crowd’s enthusiasm. Grinspoon are always good value and Phil Jamieson was on fire, which meant that come Empire of the Sun, people were ready to party.
Luke Steele looked like he rolled Lady Gaga for her outfit but the hard core Empire fans were cool with it, and he made his way through his set with help from a cast of characters, with girls wearing fish heads, young children dressed up and bad eighties graphics in the background.
Next up were the boys from New York, Vampire Weekend. Given the current vampire hype it’s no surprise they’re popular but perhaps it has something to do with their infectious tunes. As international guests there was some pressure on them to perform, but as they kicked off ‘White Sky’ any apprehension was gone.
An hour set flew by, and it was downright fun. People were dancing, which was a good call given it was minus five degrees, and by the time they played ‘Horchata’ they’d won over a whole legion of new fans.
Wrapping things up was Silverchair. Daniel Johns had a good buzz on, and was Mr. Charisma, cracking jokes like it was no one’s business in between dropping tracks from Diorama, Neon Ballroom and even a couple of newbies. Despite their two-year breather the ‘chair have still got it.