Another sunny day rolled around for day three of Splendour In The Grass, officially marking this as one of the most weather-friendly Splendours in history. Muscles were sore from marching up and down the amphitheatre, noses were red from the sun and almost no one could disguise their lack of sleep, but it didn’t matter as day three’s lineup — potentially the best of the entire festival — erased all of that. Here are the day’s awards:
Australia has well and truly fallen in love with The Internet. It was less than six months ago that they were here for Laneway Festival, but punters didn’t seem to mind the repeat visits at all, packing out the Mix Up Stage for Syd Tha Kid to throw down slinky grooves.
In a refreshing change for the Mix Up, there were no drops and no euphoric choruses for The Internet. Instead, they stayed at a steady pace and wowed a heaving crowd with delectable, futuristic soul music. Their latest album Ego Death made up most of the set, which peaked with Syd leading a well-received “you fucked up” chant on Just Sayin’. The Kaytranada-produced Girl was also a steady but rich highlight.
Most Prime Minister Chat
Tegan And Sara have had over 17 years to perfect their onstage chat, so unsurprisingly they’re naturally charming and funny. In-between songs they made observational quips at the crowd, bickered between each other and even threw a compliment towards the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Sara admitted that while she’s pretty certain about her sexuality, their Prime Minister is “really hot” and she might turn for him. They win the ‘Most Prime Minister Chat’ award uncontested, as we heard no Aussie bands step up and call Malcolm Turnbull hot.
Hot prime ministers aside though, Tegan And Sara are pros at what they do, perfectly orchestrating a set that ran through new renditions of old songs and songs from their latest record Love You To Death. The shimmering ‘80s pop of Stop Desire and Boyfriend provided the anthemic moments we were looking for.
Most Emotional Mario Cover
Again, another very niche award but with a very deserving winner. Wafia was one of the new heroes of Splendour In The Grass this year, with the young Brisbane songstress pulling in a huge nighttime crowd to the Tiny Dance Stage. Dressed in a cape and a white hat, she wafted through tracks from her EP XXIX, captivating with those honey-soaked tones.
Meet Me In The Middle from her forthcoming EP with Ta-Ku melted hearts early on, but it was her hallmark track Heartburn which really provided a moment. The crowd sang the entire chorus back to her which is exactly the response you dream of for your first Splendour. She ended the set with a cover of Mario’s 2004 classic Let Me Love You pairing R&B with gentle synths and fragile vocals.
Some were skeptical as to how James Blake’s pre-Flume amphitheatre set would translate, but they needn’t have worried because it went down beautifully. Blake overcame a few technical hitches to fill the amphitheatre with his rich, soulful voice. Radio Silence, with its intimate, bare-boned soundscape, made the stage feel far smaller than it was, while Limit To Your Love from his debut album had the keys of the piano shaking the hills.
People who were perhaps not well acquainted with the diversity of Blake’s work made quips early on about ‘falling asleep’ during the set, but the pulsating bass of Voyeur and the beast-like synths of Retrograde ensured they were proved wrong. There were goose-bump moments by the bucketload from an artist who is arguably becoming one of the most innovative and personal songwriters of our time.
Most Upcoming Aussie Acts On Stage
We could spend hours talking about the ups and downs of an electronic producer headlining Splendour, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter. Flume, who has risen through the ranks to become a worldwide superstar, pulled in the biggest crowd of the weekend, if not the history of the festival, and wowed with an impressive light show and a swag of new tunes which pack more of an emotional punch than his earlier ones. The best thing about Flume though wasn’t the drops or his hype man banter, it was the light he shone on new Aussie talent.
Flume used his massive platform to deliver Vera Blue, Ngaiire, Remi, Baro, Kučka and Jess Kent to the main stage, giving them the opportunity to play for crowds they’re could still years away from experiencing. All of them rose to the occasion, too. Vera Blue crystalised Never Be Like You with her lofty voice and Ngaiire added soul to Take A Chance.
Jess Kent was the one though that proved she’s Australia’s next big pop-star, taking Tove Lo’s vocal spot on Say It and absolutely slaying. She looked like a superstar and we never would’ve got that glimpse if it wasn’t for Flume. Say what you like about him but it was a pretty rad move to collect together such an amazing roster of local talent and put it on full display.
Most Dry Splendour
The final award goes to the entire festival itself for providing some of the best — if not the best — weather in Splendour history. After last year’s mud bath, the sun was out in full force all weekend, giving us a little bit of summer in the middle of winter.
But the weather was really only one contributing factor to what was an excellent year all up. There were hitches with public transport, but in general this year ran smoothly. It wasn’t plagued by big-name cancellations like it has been in the past, most sets sounded great and were on time, and in general, the dickhead attendance was low. Definitely a Splendour for the history books.
Gallery: Best Of Splendour In The Grass 2016 – Day 3 / Photos: Maria Boyadgis