Laneway Festival 2014 - a review (of sorts)

I'm totally unqualified to write a review of a music festival but here goes…

Arriving at the St Jerome's Laneway Festival in the early afternoon just as The Jezebels were winding up, they sounded amazing, it felt really good to be at some live music after such a long time! We arrived in time for Jagwar Ma, and very happy we did too. Probably more suited to the later end of the evening with their psychedelic take on guitar music channelling Primal Scream (via Andy Weatherall's) Screamadelica or maybe even the Stone Roses, not a bad musical territory to be in in my opinion and easily the funkiest Australian band I've heard in some time.

We followed that up with the tail end of the shaggy looking Youth Lagoon, before checking out the equally shaggy looking Kurt Vile belting out their laid back wall of sound (must remember to grow a beard before next years event). With only 45 minutes per act over 4 stages it was proving hard to take everything in! We caught a bit of Daughter and the excellent Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Earl Sweatshirt was next - I was keen for some hip hop after all that guitar music. Earl and crew got everyone's hands in the air, were pretty funny and/or crass with their x-rated lyrics. Hints of goodness but just weren't cohesive enough on the day, they had some sound issues which didn't help either.

Run the Jewels though, they were great. Killer Mike and El-P have oodles of stage presence. I'm sure they don't get up to half the badass violence they rap about (otherwise they might be 'cowering in the showers on Rikers' like they sing about). Their crowd banter was hilarious, their heavyweight yet dexterous vocal delivery kept the hip hop fans happy, and there were quite a few, it seems everyone knew the lyrics on the day.

We missed Danny Brown due to a long queue for spicy fish tacos (they were worth it in the end though). Then an evening of girl bands despite kiwi headliner Lorde pulling out (she was busy collecting her 2 Grammys in LA as was James Blake who also cancelled): Chvrches were great until someone tripped over the power plug. Savages were fantastic with finely honed post punk sounding a bit like a sharper Siouxsie and the Banshees, but it was the Haim sisters that were a standout for me. They rocked pretty hard, much harder than their recordings would let you believe they might, their up for it attitude, big crowd interaction and big hair antics with the bassists often sinuous funk baseline, slap bass in places, against her sisters squalling guitar work and some great drumming made the 45 minutes go too quickly. Finally a look at Cat Power who's solo show was strangely placed at the action end of the night. All a bit quiet for a headlining act I think.

Great to be out of my musical bubble for a few hours though, I can recommend it!