Since its announcement early last year, Harvest has progressively grown to become one of Australia’s favourite festivals. Showcasing the likes of Portishead, The Flaming Lips, Beck, Sigur Ros, Santigold, Mogwai and stacks more, the pulling power of famous promoter AJ Maddah is second to none. Now in its second year, the festival has touched down in Sydney today, bringing the tunes of Grizzly Bear, Silversun Pickups, and heaps more to the ears of all in attendance.
Having just kicked off, the festival will power through acts big and small across three stages. However, the experience of Harvest is not only in the music, but in the art. With displays located in The Secret Garden and Bootleg Alley, the artistic talent of Sydneysiders will be available to view throughout the entire day.
Not only that, we’re bringing you interviews from the likes of Ben Folds Five, Los Campesinos!, Cake, Fuck Buttons, Crazy P, and a whole lot more.
So in celebration of this festival, Music Feeds will be bringing live updates across the day to try and patch the wound you all have for not being there. From the Great Lawn to the Windmill Stage and onto the Secret Garden, Feeds have you covered. Straight from Parramatta Park to your computers, all you need to know will be coming your way as it happens.
Note: Dark Dark Dark will be playing two sets today, their regular set time of 12:30pm on The Big Red Tractor stage and then, filling the space left by Cake now playing the mainstage on the Windmill stage between 4:30 and 5:30 pm.
PHOTOS: Santigold (The Windmill Stage)
PHOTOS: Sigur Rós (The Great Lawn)
Review: Beck (The Great Lawn)
Until today, the closest I have been to witnessing Beck live would have to be that old episode of Futurama, which set unrealistically high standards, though having just watched him perform at Harvest in Sydney, I have to say he met, then surpassed those standards.
Even from the nose bleed section of the amphitheater that is Harvest main stage, I could tell how cool the dude was. From the moment he walked on stage, holding his weathered guitar in hand, absolutely drenched in style and class, the mood was set. Clearly in his element, Beck rarely broke character with crowd banter, that said, his music does all the talking, and gets to the point immediately. But he was just so cool!
The set started off massively Devils Hair cut was number one. Soul Of A Man went down an absolute tweet then come Girl, the crowd went bonkers. If it wasn’t dancing time before, it certainly is dancing time now. All up and down the hill, right up to the stage everyone was dancing, the sun setting through the trees atop and Beck performing in front of us.
I would have to say Raspberry Beret was a favourite for me out of a set list that beckons you to get home, research Beck, zone out any enjoy. I certainly have the rest of my weekend planned now.
Review: Ben Folds (The Windmill Stage)
Arriving late to The Windmill Stage the reunited Ben Folds Five are already a couple song in and have the crowd enthralled with their gentle ballad Selfless, Cold and Composed. Moving onto Erase Me, the opening number from The Sound of the Life of the Mind, the new track plays well with the crowd and come across as punchier in a live setting.
Ben Folds then goes on to a tale of receiving a call from radio presenters Merrick and Rosso circa 95/96. Informed that Bens Fold Five has placed #3 on the Hottest 100, Folds admits that at the time he’d never been to Australia or heard of Triple J. Folds then reminds Harvest that he, “was never cool in school” and the trio launch into Underground. Robert Sledge and Darren Jessee squeal the line Underground with a glee that is mirrored by the crowd.
The later time slot means conditioned have cooled (still no rain as forecast) which pleases Folds who notes that ‘too much fun and sun makes your music suck’.
Landed is taken from Folds solo work and even the more easily distracted people up the back are having a dance. Draw A Crowd is thundered home and ‘a real happening’ of hand-waving runs throughout the audience.
Next up follows the beautiful yet sorrowful Brick. Although the weighty meaning isn’t exactly ‘festival friendly’ it proves to be a popular sing-along.
Folds then tells how as a musician he set out to write one ‘love song’, one ‘political song’ and one ‘advice song’. Even though he feels ‘advice songs’ generally suck he still wrote a second and so begins Do It Anyway. Any subtle shoulder rocking from those in attendance has now advanced to a full on shoe (or shoeless) shuffling breakout.
During Song For The Dumped the band hands vocal duties over to the crowd and there’s a few male voices that can be heard singing, ‘Give me my money back. You bitch’ as though they’ve been through the same dating dilemma.
Throughout the set each member shines with Folds seeming as though he’ll punch his fingers right through the piano keys and Sledge proving to be an absolute bass master. Closing the set on Army, slightly tweaking the lyric ‘I’ve been thinking a lot today’ to ‘Who’s been drinking a lot today’, Ben Folds Five appear energetic and well rested from their 13 year break.
Interview with Crazy P
Interview with Fuck Buttons
Review: Cake (The Great Lawn)
It was now time for the younger hipsters to clear the way for the O.G hipsters as Cake took to the main stage at Harvest Festival Sydney.
Jeez, the amphitheater at Paramatta Park was paaaacked for this performance. This reviewer found himself having to find base camp between an older couple having a map, and a garbage bin but dammit, I was going to enjoy the show.
It was a bit of a change up from some of the other acts that had graced the main stage today. It was a mellow start with the pace rarely exceeding that. Perfect vibe for all those sitting on the hill, and the hordes in the pit seemed to be absolutely lapping it up.
“We are here to serve you”, frontman John ____ told the crowd, and at times it seemed as though they literally felt that way. It was hard to shake the feeling that as much fun as the band members may have been having, they looked somewhat bored. I suppose 20 years in the game will eventually wear down at the exhilaration one feels when performing, and given the long flights, and John’s own admittance at how much he hates flying, we’ll let them off.
The set continues on, with the band ticking off tracks from their full selection, truely going The Distance.
Review: The Black Angels (The Big Red Tractor Stage)
Drawing easily the the biggest crowd so far at The Big Red Tractor Stage, and surely one of the biggest so far at Harvest Festival Sydney was psychedelic rockers The Black Angels.
With all the standing room well and truly taken, fans were undeterred and given the atmosphere provided by Harvest, decided to take in the show while sitting in the sun on the fresh grass, sun slowly setting – it really was a cool moment.
The Black Angels wall of sound is almost totally untranslatable, as much buzz and you’d expect to hear standing next to a bee hive and plenty of fuzz to boot. It was strange to think that such a massive sound was coming from such a small stage. Truly testament to The Back Angels sound, all crammed inbetween the monotors, they filled an area 500 times the size of their physical beings.
Obvious to the crowd was just how in unity the band actually was, each member moving freely, though somehow in tune with the others.
The band were loving it, the crowd were loving it even more. We sure to enjoy a bit of Black Angels.
Harvest Sydney after-party announced!
To keep those good feelings flowing once the festival has rung out it’s final note, Bristol based experimentalists, FUCK BUTTONS, will be taking to the stage at the official Harvest after party.
Also delivering and unleashing the tunes will be Sydney’s own masters of off kilter electronica Astral DJ’s and the always unpredictable, Jook Joint DJ’s.
To keep the post-Harvest sumptuous feast of rhythmic curve balls rolling head to the Factory Theatre for the Harvest official after party!
FUCK BUTTONS (live)
Astral People DJs
Jook Joint DJs
From 11pm till late
Ph: (02) 9550 3666
Review: Liars (The Big Red Tractor Stage)
Liars appear suited up on the slightly shaded Big Tractor Stage (incidentally the smallest stage with no tractor in sight). A small but interested crowd has gathered to witness the American trio fronted by Australian vocalist Angus Andrew.
Proving suits were made for performing, not business meetings, Andrew’s wild haired appearance and strong vocals stretch out over the slow building We Fenced Other Gardens With the Bones of Our Own.
For a band whose movement is limited by stationary equipment, Liars are surprisingly entertaining to watch. The trio keeps things interesting and always danceable as they switch between instruments and at times duel drum.
Andrew wails away on a freestanding cymbal and howls into the mic between songs. Tunes like Octagon and Flood To Flood lull you into a sedated rhythm before Andrew jolts you back to your senses with a sudden screech.
Leaving Liars to finish off their set, the small showing has been both intriguing and satisfying.
PHOTOS: Silversun Pickups
Review: The Dandy Warhols (The Great Lawn)
A narrow packed walkway leads to the sprawling openness of The Great Lawn. The weather conditions have shifted to blues skies with a strong chance of sweaty legs in skinny jeans as The Dandy Warhols emerge before an eager crowd.
The grassy slope works as a natural amphitheater as the Portland band start up their slightly spacing brand of alternative rock. If The Dandy Wahols were less then enthused at Harvest, Melbourne they’ve shaken loose the cobwebs for Sydney.
Frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor and his supporting cast are clearly having a great time cranking through their classic We Used To Be Friend. To be honest this reviewer is none too familiar with The Dandy Warhols . Taylor’s voice, although saucy with a touch of Robert Smith from The Cure, makes it’s a little tricky to discern the vocals.
Yet even this ignorant reviewer recognises Bohemian Like You. The 2000 hit single has folks running in from the side and flocking to the middle. Even people making their way to the first aid tent for a second coast of sunscreen are jigging away.
Leaving The Dandy Warhols as they plough through Horse Pills, the American act might always be defined by their sound from the turn of the century. But when it’s this much fun, who cares…
Interview with Dark Horses
PHOTOS: Dark Horses
Review: The War On Drugs – The Windmill Stage
A little over two hours pass beer o’clock The War On Drugs take to The Windmill Stage just after 12. WOD aren’t particularly showing, which gives them a more organic sense of showmanship. The band comes across as their music, laidback but not lackadaisical
With frontman Adam Granduciel appearing as though he just emerged from the surrounding woodlands, WOD fit perfectly into the midnight slot as they help the crowd warm up without breaking a sweat.
A couple songs in Granduciel encourages anyone heading to Schoolies to fuck shit up before kicking into the relaxing groove of Comin’ Through. The vibe of Come To The City is amplified by a cool breeze and low hanging clouds which provide a prefect temperature but promise of rain later.
As WOD kick into Best Night, one poor security guard mans his post while pretending not to be put off his sandwich by the display of affection from a couple who dumped their pills too early and think they’re invisible.
The opening sounds of I Was There are met with a round of applauds as WOD continue to provide the kind of mid tempo bluesy rock you could listen to all day. Granduciel knack for badass riffs and licks give the WOD a lift and keeps you on engaged with the music.
Closing the set in a sea of harmonica and drums WOD leave the Harvest almost as satisfied as the over-affectionate couple, still going at it.
Review: Los Campesinos! (The Great Lawn)
Taking to the massive main stage to see in the afternoon delights was UK indie poppers Los Campesinos! The danceable vibes of the breakthrough act were strong enough to pull many a punter from the grassy knoll of The Great Lawn here at Harvest, and get them up at the barrier getting their groove on.
The band looked back through their full back catalogue, including tracks from the latest release Hello Sadness, such as the title track itself. Letters from Me to Charlotte was a bit of a crowd favourite, and the two fans dressed as old people, dancing their little hearts away to the music, was the perfect addition to the picturesque setting currently sprawled out before me. We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed was belted out next, followed by Songs About Your Girlfriend.
Stage etiquette is clearly a big deal for the band, who even brought it up from time to time, including when a member of the crowd started speaking to the vocalist. The obsession with stage etiquette paid off for Los Campesinos! who managed to fill the massive stage with not just themselves and their instruments, but also their personalities, and their cool, awkward, nerdy spin on their indie sensibilities.
– Mike Hohnen
Review: River City Extension (The Windmill Stage)
The clouds have parted and the puddles have dried, well, dried enough, and Harvest Festival 2012 Sydney is off to a smashing start. Punters are slowly filing in. The first thing you’ll notice, should you be heading in, is the super mellow atmosphere: even the cops are sitting in the sun enjoying a cold drink. Between the stages, you’ll find dozens of artistic installations, begging you to take your time as you run between sets. But, but, but….the bands!
First up on my list was River City Extension. A small crowd, they left hardly any of the stage empty. With 8 members in total, their live performance offers so much variety. You can watch the whole show, or the bassist running around, or maybe even the violinist grooving out to the music. It’s impossible to get bored watching this American folk act. Engaging the crowd every chance that they could, River City Extension even orchestrated a bit of a sing-a-long.
Now with their second album release, Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Your Anger, River City Extension are right in the prime to witness them live, before the venues get bigger, and before salivating masses catch on to the cool folkish vibes of River City Extension. They are a great way to start off the day. We’re looking forward to when the band stop by the Music Feeds tent for a chat later on.
– Mike Hohnen
Harvest Festival Sydney, Lets Do This!