Well jeez, you couldn’t have picked a better day, or location to kick off the Sydney leg of Parklife 2012. The gods smiled upon the festival, offering plenty of glorious sun and a breeze so perfectly temperatured and timed that it almost seemed deliberate. From the get-go fans streamed through the gates in a consistently heavy flow. Despite it feeling as though the entire police force in the greater Sydney region are on site, the vibe is cruisy and the crowd pretty keen to get their party on. And come 12pm, it was on.
Opening a festival has never been an easy task. As the drunk festival-heads slowly trickle down the hills of Centennial Park equipped with far too much fake tan and far too little clothing, The Griswolds jumped on stage with clear excitement. The triple j Unearthed winners were evidently pumped for their performance, distributing band flags throughout the audience, adding to the excitement. Blasting through their set, the band set the standard for the day to come, filling punters ears with their feel-good tunes, including a cover of B E King’s timeless classic Stand Be Me. Finishing with crowd favourite Heart of a Lion, the band left the stage with a sizable increase in fans.
Flume was easily one of the most-anticipated acts of the day, challenging both The Presets and Nero in hype, and he did not fail to deliver. Having only recently emerged on the national music scene, the turnout for Flume’s performance was exponential. Opening with an arsenal of new tracks, Flume enticed the crowd into the realisation that festival season truly had begun, raising the bar previously set by The Griswolds. The mastermind behind Flume was truly showcased when he dropped his own remix of Biggie Smalls’ classic track Juicy. Flume’s biggest single, Sleepless, saw the crowd enter a peculiar state of euphoria, with feel-good vibes oozing out of the speakers. However, the set manifested itself through his infamous remix of Hermitude’s HypderParadise, which resulted in a vast majority of the festival’s attendance sprinting towards the Atoll stage.
British hip hop identities Rizzle Kicks jumped onto stage to a slightly anxious crowd who were clearly unsure what to expect. Being their first ever Australian tour, fans of the two Brighton boys were jittery as they waited, dubious as to what the group would bring. However, it was clear within the first moments that Rizzle Kicks were not messing around. Sending the crowd into a sea of jumping bodies, the lads skipped across the stage with their groove-infused hip hop, soundtracking the afternoon. Yet they gave the crowd a little more than the expected, covering Ed Sheerans hit single You Don’t Need Me as well as working both Harry Potter and James Bond soundtracks into their sets. The mix of both covers and originals also saw them blast through their own tracks Down With the Trumpets and When I Was a Youngster. The female-dominated crowd was left slightly shocked as the dust settled from their energy-packed performance, definitely a highlight of the afternoon, exceeding anyone’s expectations
Opening up the Main Stage at Parklife 2012, aka the Sahara Stage, was the internationally acclaimed Sydney-based DJ/Producer Alison Wonderland. Though the early set time resulted in few of her fans making the first part of her set, by halfway through, we were crammed into the pit like sardines. The set was seamless, Wonderland acting almost like a king kobra on stage, lulling in her fans as she moved around the stage, from behind the decks to in front – for a small figure she was totally owning that entire stage.
The set contained plenty of massive crowd favourites in the mix. The Lion King song, the one when Simba is born (know the one?) came out of nowhere and was absolutely wicked cool, and House of Pain’s Jump Around was a great tune to get everyone in the jumping mood for the rest of the day. Wonderland even managed to squeeze in some good ol’ Rage Against The Machine, and James Brown; it really did have it all. If there wasn’t anything in the burgeoning DJ’s set that suited your taste, well, you’re probably at the wrong festival, my friends. They Capped off a flawless set with Queens’s Bohemian Rhapsody, the ultimate good times anthem.
The set was much longer than expected as Parachute Youth, scheduled to perform right after, were unable to go on stage as their gear had not turned up on time. Massive Bummer, but the dudes will be back in their live glory soon for their own tour.
It was hard to believe, but somehow even more people managed to fit into the Sahara Stage pit, eager to catch a glimpse of the electronic styling of Hermitude. The duo came on stage, fit with iPad and MPC around their necks, like a dance version of Flava Flav, only about four thousand-million times sicker than that sounds. With the crowd adequately raving, the lads resumed their position behind the decks, and got to business.
Tunes were coming left, right and centre, including a live mix from the big man, Michael Jackson’s Rock With You, a pretty bad ass tip of the hat to the groovy tunage of yesteryear. The set went from absolutely pumping, to super mellow, Hermitude maintaining their fairly gangsta steeze throughout the whole performance. The crowd were fully loose at this point: limbo sticks, lion costumes, it was all happening. They had the atmosphere and they had the tunes. Hermitude shamed out plenty of diddy’s from their 2012 release HyperParadise, much to the delight of the swelling crowd before them. Keeping up with the lion theme brought on by Alison Wonderland, the boys also found time to mix up In The Jungle, is that what it’s called? (the one about lions sleeping tonight…yeah…that one)
All the way from the UK, Charlie XCX came out strong and remained that way for the entirety of the set. Performing on the other side of the world, the band knew how to treat an Aussie crowd. Though the crowd before them dwindled, those who stuck around were really in for a treat.
Though there was only three of them on the stage, their massive wall of sound filled every spare gap that was left. The drums reverberated through my entire rib cage, a strange but cool sensation that I could see many around me also experienced. With an absolute siren of a vocalist, Charlie XCX were smashing out original tunes as well as a special treat for fans in the form of a cover of Echo And The Bunny Men’s The Killing Moon. Lock You Up is a song just so goddamn catchy that those who didn’t know the words at the beginning were singing their heads off by the end. It was much the same with Stay Away.
Crowd favourite would have to go to Nuclear Season, a song everyone seemed to know and absolute love. Needless to say, they also loved partying to it. Halfway through the day and things just keep getting better and better. Bring on the rest!
Opening with recent single Take a Walk, the high-pitched vocals of Michael Angelakos backed with the pounding synth of the remainder of the band was packed with pure happiness. The feel-good tunes of the American synth group had been a soundtrack for many in the 2010/2011 summer, and it came as a slight nostalgic shock when tracks such as Let Your Love Grow Tall blasted out of the speakers on the Atoll Stage. Playing a set that was a hybrid of tunes from both albums, Passion Pit enticed the crowd into a solid hour-long dance, including hits such as Moths Wings.
The entire set was a consistent build to Little Secrets, which saw a confetti storm erupt, sending the female contingent of the crowd squealing with delight. However, it was no secret that Passion Pit played one of the best sets of the day. Their chilled studio vibe was completely erased as they transformed their tracks into dance anthems, compiling a set filled with both highs and lows, something that many other bands failed to do. The energy was unparalleled throughout the day, with lead vocalist Angelakos charging from one side of the stage to the other, but never out of breath. As the confetti settled and Passion Pit left the stage, thousands of ears continued to ring with what was one of the tightest and most impressive sets of the day. Well done Passion Pit; you’ve outdone yourselves.
In their consistently brilliant style, Tame Impala played to the sunset on the Atoll Stage at the Sydney leg of Parklife. I have had the pleasure of witnessing this particular band in similar festival settings, and judging by the crowd’s reaction, they also knew what was in store for us.
There really is a certain je ne sais quoi about this band when they grace the stage. Their well-known minimal sound performed in front of nothing but green visuals of a sound wave combined to deliver one of the most intense, vivid sets of the day, and for that matter, of the night also.
It’s hard to pinpoint a crowd favourite with these cats, whether it was Desire Be Desire Go, their massive radio hit; Solitude Is Bliss; Why Won’t You Make Up Your Mind; or We Only Go Backwards, and whether it was old, or off the newer album Lonerism, the crowd were simply eating it up.
It was a classy finish from the Perth boys, who squeezed Half Full Glass of Wine into a hit-packed set to sign off.
After their triumphant live Australian debut at the 2012 Big Day Out festival earlier this year, Nero dubstepped their way into Parklife history, causing one of the most riotous performances ever to grace the Sahara Stage. Opening with their brutal track Doomsday, it was clear from the outset that promoters had made no mistake in booking the UK Bass legends. The combined set featured occasional appearances from the female vocalist; however, it was a set that featured too little of her. With more than half their studio tracks featuring the voice of Alana Watson, it was a shame to only see her occasionally make an appearance.
After Nero set the standard for their set yesterday in Brisbane, the lack of fireworks and fighter jets came as a slight disappointment for many fans; however, to make up for this absence, certain fans supplied their own – letting off flares, which only aided the hectic light display supplied by the band. Something which added to this disappointment was the technical failure to coordinate audio levels across the stages. It was extremely noticeable during the audible lows of the Nero performance, that fellow UK act, Labrinth, was causing a riot over on the Kakadu stage. This crossover caused more disappointment to some fans, with one even heard saying “why don’t they just fucking get Labrinth on stage with them”. Although such a technical mishap would not have been noticed by the thousands in front of the stage, ears filled with bass, it was apparent for many others. Yet stage spectacles aside, Nero still delivered an extremely solid performance, but it was a performance that had not been improved on since their national tour in January.
After the release of both Apocalypso and Pacfica, The Presets have developed an extremely dense local fan-base. And it was this fan-base that was out in droves as the Sydney-based duo stepped onto the stage to the sounds of the infamous vocal drone of Kicking and Screaming. Causing an absolute shit storm in the crowd, it was clear that security were not impressed, with one well-rounded employee complaining about how shit his job was (however, with one fellow reviewer attributing his foul mood to the NRL Grand Final result). Thankfully the mood held by this one individual was not reiterated through the remainder of the crowd, with the facial expressions of all in attendance showing both admiration and pure glee.
Moving through tracks like recent releases Promises and Ghosts, the chorus response from the crowd was deafening, something which both Kim and Julian could only smile about. However, the real excitement came when the band made the transition into their electronic anthem My People. All bullshit aside, the second that infamous bass was heard, thousands upon thousands of people lost all shit that was still maintained within them after the opening tracks, and the second the drums came in there was pandaemonium. Unfortunately, however, like all things – they must come to an end. As the technicians came onto the stage and house lights went up, both fans and staff alike stood motionless for a moment, embracing the events that had just unfolded. Well played Parklife.
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