It’s not often that the local acts almost outweigh the international heavy weights, and yeah, while nothing can overshadow the almost legendary status of Public Enemy, quite a few of the local stars of 2012 GTM sure showed they can hold their own.
From the very start of the festival day, the order of business at Groovin The Moo (GTM) Canberra was to have a relaxed good time. While some punters at GTM only wore tiny tees and short shorts to brave the max of 12 degree Celsius, everyone was determined to stick out the cold, dance around and enjoy themselves at what has been referred to as one of “the last decent music festivals” (anon).
Being a GTM newbie, I didn’t know quite what to expect. The lineup was diverse and impressive, while the setting felt rural and easy. There was none of this winding around through corridors or alleyways to find the next stage. Everything was easily laid out in the natural amphitheatre of the meadows with many punters finding a spot on the hill in the sun to soak up the sounds and atmosphere.
At the Moulin Rouge stage, Ballarat five-piece Gold Fields took to the stage with triumphant energy and a stack load of drums. They were followed by local legends Hermitute, and relative newcomers Naysayer & Gilsun did their dub step pop culture mash-ups.
Mat Corby hypnotised and wooed the audience with his blend of soulful blues folk anthem Brother and ethereal psychedelia that’s earned him comparisons with Jeff Buckley.
The hilarious Andrew W.K. burst onto the stage to a small gathering of curious fans. His enigmatic calls to party, “In case you can’t tell I am not a musician, this is not a concert, I am a partyer!” were well received, with the audience growing in enthusiasm and size throughout his set. Almost disappointingly, no projectiles were thrown this time – quite a different response from the Bendigo festival.
American ‘wizards’ Mutemath entranced the crowd with their forceful beats, bright lights and bouncing platforms. Things got hectic after Mutemath – the show being temporarily stopped during the Purple Sneakers DJ set due to too much enthusiasm from the crowd. The guys reminded everyone to “take care of each other” while the hot and slightly crushed audience members were removed from the pit and the rest of the audience got back on track.
Park Way Drive got the crowd moving, much to the dismay of security: “I didn’t see any crowd surfing. Get up! Pick those cows up!” The punters obliged. Inciting the most energetic response the main stage had seen yet, the metal antics, growls and double kicks were just the thing anyone who had been standing still for too long needed. Don’t let the photos fool you, it was bloody cold as frontman Winston McCall reminded us: “We’ve played all over the world and this is the coldest festival we’ve ever played at…I can’t feel my fucking hands!”
Ball Park Music, a festival treat with their jaunty, quirky and sometimes beautiful tunes, had everyone laughing: “we’re a little band called one direction”, and singing along to the hits Rich people are stupid and It’s good to be alive.
We had a nice bit of downtime with the sweet, sweet harmonies and gentle acoustic guitars of Canadian City and Colour, lulling the audience to rest in anticipation of the big wigs Public Enemy.
Celebrating 25 years of Public Enemy, these guys gave us the phat beats and tight raps they are renowned for. The crowd was jumping, and at times screaming. Drinks were raised at the 30 seconds of noise for recently departed Adam Yaunch of the Beastie Boys and we were reminded that we were in the presence of not only musicians but idols to many a rebellious spirit over the span of their impressive careers.
To round this off, diva Kimbra gave us her energized cabaret style pop rock followed by local hip hop legends Hilltop Hoods and English indie rockers Kaiser Chiefs.