Parklife 2011 Sydney – October 2nd

Coldlife, mudlife, wetlife, gr8life. These were the terms being bandied around via Twitter at yesterday’s Parklife, where Sydney’s Moore Park was transformed into a giant, open air slip n slide as thousands of poncho-clad revelers trekked out in the face of ominous weather conditions to see their fave danceable alt-pop/indie/hiphop acts.

Despite a strong line-up, it was noticeable that the wet weather kept plenty of would-be punters away, with numbers rather obviously down from previous years. A meagre crowd assembled for openers Strange Talk and Kimbra and sound issue were rife by the time Swedish sweethearts Little Dragon took the stage, lead singer Yukimi barely audible above the distorted groans of the rhythm section. Later there were rumors of a cracked speaker or two. Ouch.

Meanwhile over on the mainstage, Australia’s favourite party starting DJ team Yacht Club were providing much-needed shelter for select members of the crowd by pulling them onstage. It wasn’t the loosest we’ve seen them, but they still pulled an impressive crowd and spun some sick jams. They were followed by Canberrans, the Aston Shuffle, who kicked things up a few notches for the die-hard dance fans in the mud. Err, I mean crowd.

Sebastian and Adrian Lux rocked their too-cool-for-school smooth Euro electro sets back to back on the Kakadu stage before British heartthrob Example smashed it with a set full of familiar hits, ending in chart topping Changed the Way You Kiss Me to rapturous response.

Kiwi’s The Naked And Famous were the highlight of the day for many; and you couldn’t get farther from their dulcet dream-pop than Death From Above 1979, who sent many ears home ringing on the opposite stage. They were followed by the impeccably cute (sorry there is no other word for it) Crystal Fighters. Back on the mainstage, Santigold followed a nostalgic set from Mylo. Accompanied by a band resembling ken dolls and two bad ass dancers clad in ruffles; the artist formerly known as SantOgold oozed coolness as she glided around the stage singing her string of alt-hits. When she sang Major Lazer’s Hold The Line, Diplo himself could be seen side stage smiling ear to ear. Oh the love. He followed on with an energy fuelled DJ set, like none other we’ve seen on his most recent visits with Major Laser.

When The Gossip hit the stage, the girls and gays were out in force… Beth Ditto’s commanding presence luring us in like a fish to lycra-clad bait. Although today we saw no lycra, Beth was demurely dressed in a well-fitting, and dare I say it, slimming black dress. She made witty quips about cold sores, belted out some killer tunes and turfed a crazed (non)fan off the stage brandishing a confusing sign threatening ‘DYKE WHORE / Equal Rights. God Hates Your Soul’, which Mizz Ditto proceeded to put pride of place on the drum kit for the rest of the set, for all to see. Rock n Roll, bitches.

Duck Sauce; A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, accompanied by a giant, inflatable duck (duh), closed the Sahara stage whilst Digitalism, MSTRKRFT and Magnetic Man did their bit to send off the crowd all the way over at Kakadu. On the Atoll, there was a noticeable gap between The Streets and Lykke Li, but by the time the Swedish songstress hit the stage, all was forgiven as she delivered a heartfelt, emotive and pitch-perfect set, sending the weary, wet crowd home with a touch of beautiful sadness.

Special mention must also go to the relentless action happening on smaller stages, The Cave (which wasn’t a cave at all) and El buccan-ear, who showcased some fine local acts like Rüfüs, Gold Fields, Randall Stagg and Nina Las Vegas as well as international electro legends Tensnake, Nero and the sublime Simian Mobile Disco.

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