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Groovin The Moo

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Hay Park, Bunbury 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

There aren’t many national festivals with a regional focus but, Groovin The Moo, now in its ninth year, aims to provide Australia’s countryside with an annual dose of live music and good times. 2014 was no different.

A very lively Coin Banks and his band kicked off the day’s lineup in the Moolin Rouge tent, playing to a scattered seated audience and a small crowd of enthusiastic fans dancing away at the front. Things changed when fellow Perth rapper Mathas took to the stage – acting a magnet and drawing the crowd to the front. Mathas is completely at ease onstage to the point of lying down and pretending to pass out at the end of White Sugar. A highlight was watching his WAMI award winning Nourishment, a duet with Abbe May (who unfortunately was not there to sing her part in person) and a poignant local social commentary. Pretty heavy stuff to kick off the day, but worthwhile to get there early and see.

While Jungle Giants played blissful indie-pop in the afternoon sun, Andy Bull began his set of dark electronica in the dark, shady tent. I was struck by his beautiful cover of Tears For Fears’ Everybody Wants To Rule The World. 

Later at the Channel V stage, US DJ Robert DeLong played a killer set with heavy, heavy basslines. DeLong adds a little more interest to the standard electronic setup by using gaming controls and neat video mashups. The crowd went insane for the seriously infectious Global Concepts.

Illy was super amped to be playing the last leg of the tour; he did a great job of revving the crowd and making sure everyone was singing as loud as he wanted them to during his set, which was definitely achieved on Happiness. Despite a croaky voice setting in towards the end, his performance was a standout of the day, mixing in material from The Chase as well as newer stuff from Cinematic and Bring It Back.

He had also arranged for a compilation of fan photos to play during his last song – a nice thank you to fans.

Has 420 always been a thing? Or is it just a huge marketing campaign led by multinational weed companies and Kraft to push cheese singles onto the youth? Is Violent Soho in the pocket of Big Bud? We don’t know. But the Brisbane band did come onto stage exactly at 4.20pm having allegedly observed the tradition backstage. Covered In Chrome was beautiful and once Violent Soho finished, everyone ate cheese and held hands.

Architecture in Helsinki were an entertaining band, beginning with That Beep, ending with Contact High and all the while putting out some rad dance moves with guest dancer Tommy Franklin. “We’re going to come down to southwest WA and set up a Zumba class”, vocalist Cameron Bird joked. It’s so much fun to watch a band who appear so carefree and just dig being onstage and in the moment. The new three-piece brass section — “The Helsinki Horns” — added extra texture and sultry dance moves and brought the band to eight members.

It was telling to see the different audience sizes for The Kite String Tangle and Karnivool. While many Karnivool fans were arguably in the bar area behind the triple j stage, the newcomer The Kite String Tangle seemed to have the majority. The artist (Danny Harley) was genuinely surprised at this, thanking the crowd because “this time nine months ago I was playing to absolutely no-one”. He definitely knows how to win over a (mostly young) audience: Lorde’s Tennis Court was one of his mixes with what sounded like a Massive Attack Teardrop sample in there, too.

Peking Duk drew a massive crowd and it was difficult not to dance, even when everyone around you is ten years younger than you. A tent full of people moved together to High and we all fall in love with each other.

Choosing between two stages is always tricky. Often you just go along with the rest of the group or you spend hours deciding the itinerary for the day only to abandon it after a couple of beers ‘cos yolo. Or something. The Presets are hard not to like at 9.30pm as your evening peaks and you just have to give everybody a big cuddle. My People and This Boy’s In Love are the soundtracks to your new life. Where strangers are your best friends, the night never ends and Violent Soho aren’t pushing cheese. We believe in you, Luke Boerdam. Put down the cheddar.

Merran Reed and Coral Huckstep

Photos by Rachael Barrett

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