Featuring its most diverse and cred-filled lineup yet, it’s no surprise the Bendigo leg of Groovin’ The Moo sold out in record time this year (two days). However, mother nature and the phone gods weren’t completely on side, as 15,000 punters and I endured shivering conditions and terrible reception at the Bendigo Showgrounds – the first stop for regional Australia’s biggest music festival. Thankfully, most of the artists turned up the heat on stage and delivered some quality performances to warm our hearts.
Indie star of the moment Matt Corby naturally drew a large crowd in the early main stage slot – most of whom were left swooning at his Jeff Buckley-esque vocals without knowing exactly what song he was singing. That was until his second last song, where he broke into those distinctive “oooh-e-ooo’s” of Brother. Cue mass sing-a-longs, girls scrambling to get on tall guys’ shoulders, and the birth of a festival anthem.
Words can’t describe how awful Andrew WK was. Billed as his “one-man-party-tour” – Mr W.K. was pretty much the only person at the party as the crowd bottled him repeatedly during his set. Check out the footage and a more detailed review of his performance here.
Byron Bay metal stars Parkway Drive shook the Showgrounds to their foundations during their blistering set in the late afternoon. Massive circle pits and dust constantly rising from the ground was the order of the day as the band tore through tracks from their album Deep Blue, including Unrest, Karma and Sleepwalker – and old hits such as Boneyards.
Making a dash over to the Moolin Rouge tent, the crowd was equally as amped (but not tearing each other apart) for Oz hip hop’s biggest mouth – 360. In the second half of his set, Six had the crowd bouncin’ en masse to tracks from his album Falling and Flying, especially hits Child and Boys Like You, and set closer Run Alone. Live partner Bam Bam also had a moment to shine by unleashing some rhymes over the top of some Skrillex tracks.
Dallas Green – aka City and Colour – provided a nice soundtrack of mildly upbeat tunes as the sun went down – and following a slight delay, American hip hop veterans Public Enemy kicked off everyone’s night with some serious swagger and bucketloads of old-school coolness. Naturally, there was also a tribute to former Beastie Boy Adam Yauch – who had lost his battle with cancer overnight.
Muscles brought his techno extravagance onto the stage by performing inside a weird dome-like structure and wearing a flashing helmet for a good chunk of his set. He treated the crowd to tracks from his upcoming album Manhood, and led the crowd in mass singalongs for his hits Ice Cream and Sweaty.
Kimbra raved about how she was “playing a festival at night time” during her well-executed set, which featured tracks off her album Vows and the live debut of her Converse collaboration with Mark Foster and A-Trak – Warrior. She was followed by Adelaide’s finest – Hilltop Hoods – who churned out their finest hits (The Hard Road, The Nosebleed Section, Chase That Feeling, Still Standing) alongside tracks from new album Drinking From The Sun (I Love It, Good For Nothing, Speaking In Tounges). They also took a leaf out of Jay-Z’s book by getting everyone to wave a bit of clothing in the air during closer Rattling The Keys To The Kingdom.
Closing out the day was Leeds rockers and seminal festival favourites Kaiser Chiefs. Proving they were chosen as main stage closers for a reason, the band tore through a greatest-hits set, including Everyday I Love You Less and Less, Ruby, Never Miss A Beat, The Angry Mob and closer Oh My God, with their album artworks in the backdrop. Frontman Ricky Wilson was also at his crazy best, jumping into the crowd for Everything Is Average Nowdays and dashing over to take a ride in the slingshot nearby during Take My Temperature. Impressively, he was still belting out the vocals pitch perfect while being tossed around high in the sky.
Wilson sang repeatedly: “I live for these moments, just like this one” during the Chiefs’ new single On The Run – and it’s a pretty apt line to describe most festivalgoers’ day. Groovin’ The Moo continues to go from strength to strength – fingers crossed they can take it up yet another notch next year and continue to build on what is now officially a Bendigo institution.