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Image for Splendour Day One: Jack White, At The Drive-In and more

Splendour Day One: Jack White,At The Drive-In and more

With Splendour in the Grass back in its spiritual homeland of Byron Bay, the first day of action should have been a day of beachside festivities as the punters made the short trip up the road from the shoreline to the festival stages. No one really expected to be spending the day surfing through mud and being assaulted by hail; but then who really cares about a torrential deluge on a day when you get a dueling set from Jack White and the return of At The Drive-In?

Photos by Leah Robertson and Elleni Toumpas.
Words by Darren Levin, Sarah Smith and Tom Mann.


Kingswood, The Super Top

The Moment: Triple J presenter Lindsay “The Doctor” McDougall emerging from backstage in short-shorts and a tie-dye t-shirt to trade solos with guitarist Alex Laska on QOTSA-ish single Yeah Go Die. It prompted singer Fergus Linacre to declare, “Who loves guitars?” Everyone does Fergus. Everyone does.

Crowd: Buoyed by a Triple J endorsement – they won the “Unearthed” competition to play Splendour this year – Kingswood had a decent crowd for such an early start. The band’s heavy, proto-grunge riffage won over some newcomers, too.

The Banter: A joke about Simba (“they walked out to the Lion King soundtrack) went down like a warm Vodka Mule. Leave the stand-up comedy to professionals like Phil Jamieson, guys.

The Vibe: Midday drunk.

Chet Faker, GW McLennan

The Moment: Getting lost through the “Tipi Forest” only to arrive for a closing cover of Blackstreet’s No Diggity, which Faker (aka Melbourne singer/producer Nick Murphy) and his band morphed into a lounge-y jam.

Crowd: The McLennan was suitably packed for Murphy, who’s had a breakout year, signing to US label Downtown Records (Santigold, Spank Rock) and releasing an acclaimed EP, Thinking In Textures. But the natter from the crowd was distracting, especially when the band brought things down to a slow chill.

The Vibe: Chatty

Pond, The Super Top

The Moment: Peroxided singer Nick Allbrook – an impish John Rotten clone – bounced around the stage during glammy single Fantastic Explosions In Time, which drew the biggest response from the crowd. “Thanks for giving us so much love motherfuckers,” he beamed. The band unearthed a swampy new song, which saw Allbrook form a tri-guitar attack with Jay Watson and Joseph Ryan.

The Banter: Allbrook bestowing the virtues of cough syrup before swigging from a non-descript bottle. Has he been reading Lester Bangs?

The Crowd: Captivated and particularly loud for Fantastic Explosions In Time and the Bowie-esque strut of You Broke My Cool.

The Vibe: Syrupy

DZ Deathrays, The Super Top

The Moment: An unexpected torrential downpour (hail included) saw people scurry for shelter in the Supertop, where thrashy Bundaberg two-piece DZ Deathrays were playing like a band four times their size. The diversity of debut album Bloodstreams wasn’t conveyed that well live, but ‘No Sleep’ and ‘Cops Capacity’ were particularly punishing. At one point, singer Shane Parsons put his guitar on loop and walked out into the crowd. A career-defining set.

The Crowd: A torrent of water streaming down from the roof of the Super Top created an instant “Instagram moment” for a small group of fans. Punters who had wandered in seeking shelter were converted by the end.

The Vibe: Soaked, but in good spirits.

Big Scary, The Super Top

The Moment: The reaction for more sombre numbers off debut album Vacation compared to more upbeat, triple j-flogged singles Mixtape and Gladiator (their closing song) really illustrated the disparity between the band’s best and worst material; a gap they’ll need to address on their next album. Speaking of, they unveiled an underwhelming new song, which sounded like a detuned offcut from Jeff Buckley’s posthumous My Sweetheart The Drunk.

The Banter: There were shout-outs to most of the Australian acts on the bill including DZ Deathrays, Pond and Kingswood, as well as their “fellow campers” (they’re going bush this year). The on-stage break-up of The Middle East at Splendour last year was acknowledged by singer Tom Iansek, prompting drummer Jo Syme to ask, “Are we breaking up as well?”

The Crowd: Described by Iansek as the biggest they’ve played to; they were probably the most talkative they’ve played to, as well. A band better-suited to a smaller room.

The Vibe: Subdued.

Spiderbait, The Super Top

The Moment: “For just one night we want to be the best band in Australia”: with Kram acting the ringleader and whipping up the punters with classics renditions from the band banter rulebook this was the set that brought the crowd together for the sort of experience you can only get at a festival. Bogans and hipsters unite.

The Crowd: Once Janet English had been reluctantly coaxed behind the drum kit the band didn’t need to offer much more to get the entire crowd to sing along with Buy Me A Pony. Why do more when the crowd will happily do it for you?

The Banter: “This came out twenty years ago when we were just starting… forgive me if mess this up”. Kram preemptively apologising for a cover of Smells Like Teen Sprit that had the performers on the buskers stage cringing.

The vibe: Nostalgic.

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Comments

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ampersand

ampersand said on the 28th Jul, 2012

needs more afghan whigs.

deanoss

deanoss said on the 30th Jul, 2012

Loved At The Drive-In!
The place was chockers for them, and the band seemed to really enjoy themselves, apart from Omar who had his back to the audience for most for most of the time. Cedric owned it though.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 30th Jul, 2012

day 1 was epic, squeezed in 9 bands, including 6 back-to-back at the main stage, from big scary right through to Jack, who was one of my festival highlights.

was completely fucked for the next two days tho. i'm too old for this shit.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 30th Jul, 2012

Michael Kiwanuka was a real highlight for day 1.....such lovely music

batdan

batdan said on the 30th Jul, 2012

day 1 was epic, squeezed in 9 bands, including 6 back-to-back at the main stage, from big scary right through to Jack, who was one of my festival highlights.

was completely fucked for the next two days tho. i'm too old for this shit.

How old are you?

knate

knate said on the 31st Jul, 2012

Can we happily say now, following this performance, that omar no way in hell wants to be there? Can we really blame it on his mum this time? God bless Cedric, I was hoarse after that set

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 31st Jul, 2012

Did anyone see Howler? Any good?

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 31st Jul, 2012

I caught the 2nd half of howler, it was alright

Stugalug

Stugalug said on the 31st Jul, 2012



Cheers, I like their stuff. Hadn't seen anyone mention them.

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 31st Jul, 2012



I'm inclined to agree with this. Omar really was completely unenthused, most of the time not even looking at the crowd. Although i've never watched The Mars Volta or anything previously, so i'm not sure if that is just how he normally is on stage.
Definitely thought there was some tension between Cedric and Jim Ward too, but I could be wrong. Won't be surprised if this reformation ends in the not so distant future. But my god they were still awesome.



Yeah, they were alright. I'd never listened to their stuff before but yeah, not really anything to rave over.

Braveheart81

Braveheart81 said on the 31st Jul, 2012

I was in the car when Triple J were playing Howler's set.

Their cover of Husker Du's Don't Want to Know if You're Lonely sounded pretty good. The crowd had clearly never heard of Husker Du though.

gumbuoy

gumbuoy said on the 31st Jul, 2012



I'm 33



I saw them - wasn't really a fan.

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 31st Jul, 2012



I thought they were good, coming from a fan.
But they were given a 1 hour set even though they only have 11 songs, so they were talking a bit midset.

GrimFandango

GrimFandango said on the 1st Aug, 2012

i thought they were good, coming from a fan.
but they were given a 1 hour set even though they only have 11 songs, so they were talking a bit midset.

one album and 1 ep
more than 11.
not many more than 11 though!

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 1st Aug, 2012

Oh yeah, you're right.
Well the band said they only had 11 songs.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 23rd Aug, 2012

At The Drive In's Splendour set is next monday's Live at the Wireless on triple j.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 23rd Aug, 2012

I hope you are recording it for us hahaha

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 27th Aug, 2012

After listening to this I wish I had another chance to see ATDI :(

deanoss

deanoss said on the 27th Aug, 2012

Lopsided and Napoleon Solo - so amazing to hear again

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 27th Aug, 2012

will hopefully have the download link up by 10 tonight. but i'm certain there will be far higher quality recordings floating around the interwebs. radio static has gotten the better of mine so far.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 27th Aug, 2012

Well since I now know you are recording it I will head off to dinner hahah

jacegalvin

jacegalvin said on the 27th Aug, 2012

The weird bunions banter...

tyler07

tyler07 said on the 27th Aug, 2012

His banter was so odd at Splendour. Made it more awesome imo.

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 27th Aug, 2012

https://rapidshare.com/#!download|758p4|1806769174|At%20the%20Drive%20In.m4a.zip|73630|0|0 - 73MB. some static near the start. rest of it is decent without being great. wouldn't recommend with headphones.

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 27th Aug, 2012

After the first track it sounds fine to me

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 3rd Sep, 2012

derp

in return have a daisy

http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lxk06gUVf11qbcp6mo1_500.gif

sarcasm_mister

sarcasm_mister said on the 3rd Sep, 2012

but it's only 15mins of the set. i still win :D

Jose Cuervo

Jose Cuervo said on the 3rd Sep, 2012

I noticed and edited hahaha