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Groovin The Moo

Hay Park, Bunbury

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Drapht. Pic: Daniel Grant Courtesy GTM
Drapht. Pic: Daniel Grant
Courtesy GTM

Although Groovin The Moo-goers were sporadically blessed with glimmers of sunshine, for the most part the day’s weather was exceptionally cold, wet and windy. Thankfully this predominately bloodless climate was largely embraced by the masses, who were aided by plastic ponchos, communal heaters and even the occasional aluminium insulation blanket. Divided up into three distinctively coloured and themed stages, festival-goers experienced a generous offering of varying performances and styles.

Emma Louise eased the early afternoon crowd into it with her whimsical voice — so sweet, yet strong — travelling on the wind. Current radio favourite, Talk Baby Talk, was nothing short of perfection as Louise strutted around the stage in a tight, metallic suit. She was confident and delivered a set that satisfied as she raised her voice powerfully so that it could be heard over the rain while delivering Jungle.

Triple j’s 2013 Unearthed Artist Of The YearRemi is revered for his refreshingly transparent delivery as well as his uncanny and expert ability to seemingly adapt to any musical backdrop. Accompanied by some appropriately placed and playful cartoony visuals over in the Moulin Rouge tent, Remi Kolawole finessed a delicate balance of rapping, singing and crowd interaction. Conjuring up a moderately successful two-step movement with the crowd, Remi’s performance increasingly fell into a more definable R&B category.

DZ Deathrays provided some strong vocals and solid guitar riffs and opened the floor to the first crowdsurfers of the day. Sharp, short dance beats echoed from the main stage but these guys still delivered a hint of the typical Aussie rock sound that we reckon every festival needs.

Switching it to a different beat, Drapht jumped onto the Channel V stage in front of screaming fans, giving him a warm welcome from his home state and proving that Aussie hip hop is well and truly alive. It’s been five years since Drapht released an album, but loyal fans were treated to an exclusive track, never before played live, to celebrate the final day of the tour. It was classic Drapht beats with his quick-lipped rhymes flowing freely without fault. The added sounds of live trumpet, saxophone and flute allow a special edge to Drapht’s set that most other hip hop artists lack. With his rhymes flowing, Drapht buttered up the audience by giving them their favourites as he dropped Jimmy Recard and Rapunzel.

The smaller Mootown DJ tent kept the beats fresh, offering alternate sounds. Boston Switch packed out the tent but Amrita Hepi‘s Pop Culture Dance Class was the highlight. She made everyone dance, drop and get down and invited punters up to the stage to booty drop and pop while learning some new moves. Hepi also made an appearance over at the silent disco, which was filled constantly with young punters grooving out to the sounds of Alex Dyson, The Meeting Tree and Danny Clayton.

Keeping the heavy fans happy, In Hearts Wake transformed Moolin Rouge into a moshpit delivering the metalcore goods. Perfectly blending both the clean vocals and the throat-shredding screams during Divine, guest performer Remi rolled onto the stage to show how rap and metalcore can mesh into something exhilarating for the senses. Their Like A Version cover of Wildflower was a crowd pleaser that got everyone singing along, demonstrating that these boys can deliver any style of music with their own edge.

Wasting no time at all after the conclusion of Safia on the adjacent stage, Brisbane alternative pop singer-songwriter/producer Jarryd James graced us with his humble and commanding presence. Some sort of dark ale was sipped while James howled soothingly into the microphone with half-closed eyes. As his more notable hits became more and more prominent throughout a confident and impressive performance, it truly felt like James respected his own musical craftsmanship and simply wanted to share it with the world.

The sun set over Hay Park to Twenty One Pilots diving into their eclectic blend of songs and crowd pleasers. These guys don’t just get up on stage and play, they perform a complete show-stopping spectacle, throwing out their songs with confetti littering the air. The duo’s stage presence was impeccable, leaving a lasting impression as well as a cover of Jump Around to get everyone moving.

Lyrically, Client Liaison delved into themes of self-expression and personal freedom with tracks like Free Of Fear, Feeling and even an infectious cover of Michael Jackson’s Black Or White.

The Rubens allowed Groovin The Moo to sway, rock and sing along and there’s no denying frontman Sam Margin has a certain charismatic air about him, offering something special compared to your ordinary frontman. Technically the band played a perfectly polished set, but didn’t offer much in terms of anything fresh from a standard show, except for when MS MR bombarded the stage with a sea of dancing and singing.

Sunny, Seattle electronic-pop duo Odesza dived into the pristinely atmospheric soundscapes that they are becoming more and more known for. Dealing ethereal hooks and sophisticated, dream-like arrangements, the especially palatable crowd favourite How Did I Get Here was an obvious highlight. While this momentous melodic wonder played itself out, a precariously positioned daredevil from the crowd somehow managed to climb to the unthinkable altitude of one of the tent’s supporting pillars, performing dangerous acrobatic movements to the equal parts horror and amusement of the crowd. At the conclusion of Odesza’s performance, a Happy Birthday chant was recited by the crowd, although it was difficult to determine exactly who this was directed toward.

Detroit-based rapper Danny Brown changed up the feel of the main stage, running through the space with an insane amount of enthusiasm and rapid rhymes over heavy bass beats. His crew followed suit and the dynamic performance shook Bunbury with vivid live versions of some of the more aggressive tracks from his discography.

Shrouded in anonymity and a golden mask, Sydney-based mystery man and deep bass house producer Golden Features delivered a slightly premature-but-ultimately heavy hitting DJ set of warm subby goodness. Featuring buttery smooth transitions, minimalistic golden visuals and lighting, as well as a generous portion of his own crisp production, the masked enigma elicited a particularly favourable response from an excitable audience. Golden Features’ velvety melodic gems are an essential contribution to the modern electronic scene and it’s thrilling to consider that this marks the very beginning of his musical endeavours.

Boy & Bear have a magical stage presence that brings a smile to your face from the first oh-so-familiar riff. They have a simplistic ease about them when they play; it’s effortless and light-hearted and perfect for their third time in Bunbury. Boy & Bear managed to jazz up the freezing crowd with warm favourites like Part Time Believer, Southern Sun and Golden Jubilee as well as adding some new tunes for a treat.

Meanwhile on the main stage, Of Monsters & Men were giving punters a bit of a musical education with their varied instrumentation blending into indie-folk. It felt as though a lot of people were there to simply listen to Little Talksbefore heading to another stage, however.

Illy has a way with the crowd – perhaps a lot of Aussie hip hop artists do. He had his fans completely under his thumb from the moment he appeared. Youngbloods, Cigarettes and his Like A Version of Hilltop Hoods’ Nosebleed Section were by far the set’s highlights. Illy featured a new track that slowed things down a notch, demonstrating a more melodic base to his vocals.

When Alison Wonderland came strutting out as the final act of the main stage, we went from zero to believer in two seconds. She exploded out on stage like a breath of fresh air, pumping up the crowd from the previous acts’ fun-loving sing-alongs into a sea of wild dancing as she climbed on top of her decks, yelling for the crowd to get involved.  Wonderland is probably the most badass chick going around and her passion for creating music shone through in Bunbury. She was edgy and raw, explaining the deep meanings behind her songs. Full of emotion and making sure the crowd knew they didn’t need much to make something, Wonderland reassured us that you just need to create’. With track favourites being played off her debut album, Run, it was the perfect time to announce her record had just reached gold status. Special guest Safia joined Wonderland onstage for the massive track Take It To Reality, adding to the stand-out epicness of her set. She refused to get off stage after returning for an encore and blasting the speakers with old-school tracks such as Fatboy Slim’s Praise You.

The splendidly eccentric sounds of Ratatat adorned our grateful ears at the end of the day’s proceedings, gifting us with their unique marriage of surfer rock and distorted electronica. The Brooklyn-based, electronic-rock duo show zero indication of pretentiousness and that’s precisely what makes their sound so charming and their stage presence so magnetic. Shredding away at enticing guitar licks, synthesisers and various percussion, Ratatat exuded polished smoothness. Concluding their performance, and the festival as a whole, with the ludic, coltish soundscapes of Shempi, the boys demonstrated why they are the coolest non-exclusively rock stars on the planet.

JAMES HUNT & NICHOLA GRAY

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