Groovin The Moo, Bendigo VIC – 30/04/2011

Written by Chris Chan on 2nd May, 2011

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Nearly fifteen thousand people arrived to the sold out Groovin’ The Moo in Bendigo on Saturday. The sun was out, and both the temperature and spirits where high.

Local outfit Oh Pacific and Ipswich act The Redcoats got the day underway on the outside stages, and the crowd continued to grow as winners of the Triple J Unearthed competition, The Bride Stripped Back played their set, and by the time The Jezabels came on the festival atmosphere had set in. It was easy to see why there is so much buzz surrounding these guys, as vocalist Hayley Mary seduced the crowd. New York group Darwin Deez seemed to be enjoying themselves, and looked as cool as they sounded playing in front of a psychedelic background.

In the ‘Moolin Rouge’ tent, Ballarat band Goldfields entertained a large crowd, but it wasn’t until Horrorshow hit the stage that the crowd in the tent really woke up. Emcee Solo controlled the crowd and flowed with ease, but in some areas the sound coming from the large speaker stacks was distorted. This was a shame as the bass distortion made it hard to fully hear the group’s beautiful production.

While Norwegian group Datarock and Darwin Deez rocked the ‘Udder Stage’ and the ‘Triple J stage’, turntablist and producer Sampology amazed the audience in the ‘Moolin Rouge’ with his audio visual routine. He was joined onstage mid-set by fellow Brisbane local, the world class beatboxer Tom Thum. His pre-recorded ‘live’ battle sequence was a highlight, as was Sampology’s sampling of Charlie Sheen interviews and the Muppets.

UK group The Go! Team, Architecture in Helsinki, The Aston Shuffle, Art Vs Science and New York producer AC Slater kept the dance vibe going in the tent, as the venue started to fill up.
Washington put in a great performance and she may have stolen a few hearts as she sung her way through songs like How To Tame Lions. Her voice seemed to float over the crowd, and seemed to add to the atmosphere. Next to step on stage were hip hop legends House of Pain, who showed they still have it as Danny Boy, DJ Lethal and Everlast worked through classics like Top O The Mornin To Ya and Jump Around. It seemed like every person in the festival was either running to the stage or dancing as they closed with Jump Around.

Gyroscope sounded excellent, playing hits such as Some Of The Places I Know and Snakeskin, as well as an impressive cover of Midnight Oil’s Beds Are Burning, which of course got the crowd singing along enthusiastically. The Drums played a smooth set, opening with their track What You Were, and Gotye was excellent as always, including the hits Learnalilgivinanlovin and Hearts A Mess, but it wasn’t until his set was coming to a close that it became evident who the crowd had been waiting for. The Birds Of Tokyo came out swinging with their epic style of pop/rock, and had the crowd screaming for more by the time they had finished their set. They played all of their live favourites, including Wild Eyed Boy and Plans.

By the time Liverpool lads The Wombats came on, the sun was down and the temperature had dropped with it, but this didn’t seem to concern the crowd as they sang along to an assortment of songs from their new album This Modern Glitch. A definite highlight of their set was Jump Into The Fog.

Bliss N Eso cemented their reputation as one of Australia’s premier live acts, getting the crowd involved as they went through their familiar routines of beatboxing, rapping accapella and DJ Izm’s scratch solo, in amongst their increasingly popular back catalogue of hits. Cut Copy came on to close the Triple J stage after Bliss N Eso, and kept the crowd dancing with tracks from their new album Zonoscope. The Melbourne group’s smooth style of electronic pop was a nice way to wind down the day for those who didn’t want to battle the crowd in the tent.

While not pulling the same number of punters as Bliss N Eso, UK artists UNKLE played a good set in the Moolin Rouge stage. They may sound very different to what they used to, but they still have a great, unique sound, and did a good job getting the crowd pumped for Australia’s most recent number one selling recording artist. Drapht has certainly come a long way since releasing Pale Rider in 2003. The tent was packed tight and beyond for his set, which included the singles Jimmy Recard, Rapunzel and Sing It (The Life Of Riley). It was an energetic set, and amongst running around the stage and jumping on speaker stacks, he even managed a decent stage-dive into a very enthusiastic crowd.

All in all, judging from the sea of smiles leaving the Prince Of Wales Showgrounds, Groovin’ The Moo in Bendigo was another success. It must be noted that this had a lot to do with friendly event staff and excellent security, which too often makes all the difference. Can’t wait for next year!

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