I finally came to this conclusion, last night on the 24th of April, watching him live, when I realised that no-one who sounded like that, acted like that, performed like that or looked like that, could in fact possibly be real. The moment of realisation allowed everything I had ever known for the past seven-eight years, to click into place.
But for the sake of content fluidity, I guess I can start from the beginning.
The night started earlier that evening with some train delays that set us off a couple minutes later than we intended. However, considering we were meeting on the train two hours before the opening act got on stage, it wasn’t a huge issue, and Kate, Jess and I met up on the crowded train a little after 5:30.
It wasn’t a long ride into the city, but soon we were getting off at Richmond station for a drink and something to eat at Precinct. A cocktail and bowl of chips later, we decided to head off towards Hisense Arena, following the clumps of girls all making their way over there.
It was a short walk, and an even shorter line to get inside, followed by the usual bag search and metal detector thing, but soon we were in, enveloped by this hugely nostalgic feeling, seeing hundreds of girls, some young, but mostly our age and older, a couple of boys, either fans or best friends and boyfriends being dragged along and a couple of older groups, all walking through the arena. At this point Jess and I had to split up from Kate who had bought her ticket later and was on the other side of the stage.
Finally we found our seats. Hisense Arena isn’t a massive arena, compared to Rod Laver and Etihad Stadium where One Direction have performed previously, so to be quite honest, you could see perfectly from any seat. Still, my blind self made sure to bring my glasses with me. I hadn’t waited a year and half to not be able to see the man.
A couple of flash light signals later, we spotted Kate across the arena and began enjoying the opening act, The Preatures.
I can’t say I’m a massive fan of the band, but I definitely enjoy their music whenever it comes on Triple J during work, so I really enjoyed their set. Jess and I continued to marvel at the complete 70’s/80’s vibe they had, that surrounded their whole performance. It was a really fun set to watch, as well as listen to. I particularly enjoyed their song Your Fan, a song about being a fan of a huge band who splits up and wanting to continue being a fan….fitting as hell?? Definitely recommend listening to that song, I’ve linked it for you, especially if you’ve gone through the experience of being a massive fan of a group or a band only to have them split up or end their journeys. It was a tear jerker no doubt.
Harry Styles, in a black and gold embroidered suit, walked out.
We love an on trend king.
It was insane. As I recalled in the car drive home, I definitely broke some skin on Jess’ hand from how tightly we were clutching each other as he and his band walked out. You have to understand, the whole experience was so special because we’d literally been on this ride for nearly eight years. It was insane seeing him again, especially considering the last time we had seen him live, it was the three of us again, watching One Direction at Etihad Stadium in 2015.
However this time, rather than having Niall, Liam, Louis and Zayn standing beside him, he had Mitchell on lead guitar, Sarah on drums and vocals, Clare on keyboard and vocals and Adam on bass guitar and vocals, with Harry’s voice front and centre.
My first major melt-down was when he opened with Only Angel. The angelic build-up for his entrance set the entire tone for this song, and when the song got to that 0:52 mark I was never more ready for the song to kick off into the groovy rock sound I have learnt to align Styles with.
There was only a few seconds between Only Angel and his second song, Woman, which set the crowd off again. The amount of screaming was incredibly reminiscent of an entire period of my life, and anyone who knows, knows. There is something so distinct about the scream from a fangirl that you know instantly. It was insane.
Ever Since New York had tears welling up in my eyes within the first few chords being strummed, and it was the first of many songs where I was thrown back to my first time ever seeing One Direction in 2013, where I was standing right at the back of Rod Laver Arena, completely frozen, my hand over my mouth, on the verge of tears but just in awe. The final few accapella moments of the song, with nothing but the band’s backing vocals and his voice filling the stadium was magical, and I’m so I was quick enough to whip out my phone and capture part of it.
Two Ghosts had me shooketh. Shooketh. That’s all for that one.
Carolina nearly started a riot. I can’t describe the feel of this song adequately without you just listening to it.
One thing I will say before I continue. His entire album was made for a live experience. All the songs were 10 times better in the arena than they are in the studio versions.
Harry then blessed us all with Stockholme Syndrome, a One Direction song released in 2014, that had everyone going mad. Every single word came flooding back like muscle memory, it was insane. Harry also wrote Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart, which is performed by Ariana Grande, and I definitely love his version of it a little bit more, but I’m obviously biased.
His next song can’t be linked like all the others, because there’s no studio version of it since it’s not been released, which frankly, offends me. Medicine is up with there with Kiwi as one of my favourite Harry Styles’ songs and I’m in desperate need of a recorded version. My Spotify is dry without it. If you’re keen to listen to it, here’s a link to a YouTube video with the song recorded at the concert, in surprisingly decent quality.
His next song was Meet Me In The Hallway. Another topic we discussed in the car back, was how bloody sad all his slow songs are. For a man of his age, he writes about incredibly deep topics and his lyrics always seem to just, punch you in the gut, take your breath away. There’s so much weight behind them all and this song is no different. It also definitely links back to this constant stigma that he and the rest of the boys faced in One Direction when they were writing songs, that led to most people shrugging them off as cringe-y and fake. Their current careers, especially Harry’s and Niall’s have honestly proven just how talented they all really are when it comes to song writing and it’s a shame people are missing out on it because they refuse to give it a chance.
Meet Me In The Hallway is incredibly cinematic and atmospheric. It’s soon become one of my favourite songs on the album. It created the perfect segue to allow him to climb off stage and walk down the partition in the middle of the mosh-pit, stopping to clutch hand’s and give hugs on his way down to the back of the reserved seating, where he and his guitar played Mitchell climbed up onto a tiny stage right in front of the back seating to sing Sweet Creature. One of my favourite slower songs, Sweet Creature is this perfect acoustic song, that seemed to shrink the size of the arena down and put everyone in the palm of his hand.
A lot of the atmosphere he created, I believe came down to the person he is. It’s rare you find someone who’s so talented, yet has remained so kind and humble as Harry Styles has. He obviously isn’t ashamed of his beginnings, or the fact that his main demographic is a group of incredibly loyal and supportive females (…) and everyone felt incredibly safe in the space he created. There was this really obvious underlying understanding that majority of us started from the same place, around the same age, with the same group of people, and he just embraces it. Whether it’s pulling up a country’s flag or proudly wearing the array of LGBTQIA+ and varying sexual orientation’s flags thrown on stage around his shoulders as he sings, he manages to shrink whatever stadium stage he’s on, into this tiny space where everyone is having the time of their lives, and it’s something he’s managed to do since he started in One Direction.
Though, nothing compared to when Mitchell left him on the stage alone, and Harry started another One Direction song, one he had written, If I Could Fly, undoubtedly, my favourite song from their last album. Again, it was another song where I’m pretty sure had Jess and I frozen just watching him. He let the audience sing the final chorus and it was ridiculous how loud we all sang it back.
He moved back to the main stage, and continued with another song that isn’t yet released, Anna. This song again, is a tune. It’s a bop and I’m in dire need of a studio version. You can listen to it here.
Intent of making everyone lose their minds once again, he did his own rendition of What Makes You Beautiful, the song that started it all, and I have to say. His version shits all over the original. It was amazing and his style of singing it, the style the band played it with, made it so much more edgier and rough and jaw-dropping to listen to, let alone watch live.
Harry’s banter with the crowd was nothing knew. He regularly paused to hold entire conversations with people in the crowd, tell us about how much he was enjoying the tour and Australia, singing Horses by Darryl Braithwaite and egging us on to finish the chorus. It was one of the best parts of the concert.
He made sure to thank everyone tremendously before he started Sign Of The Times, the song that kicked his solo career off, as his ‘last’ song.
Three minutes and the entire song of Horses later, he was back on stage for the encore.
From The Dining Table was the perfect warm-up for the encore and it was just another opportunity for everyone to really get an opportunity to hear how incredible his voice actually is.
After the song, he took the opportunity to introduce his band, before kicking off into his iconic cover of The Chain by Fleetwood Mac. If you’re a regular around here, you know how much I lose my mind over that song and the intense love I have for it, which made it all the more special.
But, again, if you’re a regular, you know there’s one Harry Styles song that gets me going like no other, and the absolutely tease that he is, he left it as the final song of the show.
Any bit of my voice I had left was completely obliterated as soon as he sang the first line of Kiwi, and that whole song was unforgettable. His stage presence was off the charts, and he practically did laps, stalking up and down the front. Having honestly spent the last year going mental over this song, singing it in my room too many times to count, singing the guitar solo and screeching “I’m having your baby” from the top of my lungs, it all culminated into the most insane 2:56 minutes I have ever experienced at a gig.
/a whole man/
Harry Styles was everything I wanted and ten times more than I ever could have imagined.
Only 42 days until Niall Horan. Twelve year old ‘Niall girl’ Priya is quaking.
Hello friends! Today’s post is one I have been looking forward to for quite some time now. I also have some extra blog posts coming soon that link in with this one too, so keep an eye out for those ones. However, let’s get into this post, because *warning*, it’s gonna be a long one. Really. It’s long as heck.
I was absent for just under a week, though I did have some posts scheduled to keep ya’ll sated, and hopefully you caught those! Me, on the other hand, I was enjoying a week or so away in sunny Byron Bay with my mum, dad, sister and best friend for my first Byron Bay BluesFest.
So what is BluesFest?
“Byron Bay BluesFest is Australia’s Premier Contemporary Blues and Roots Festival.”
I mean, Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon made an appearance, sneaking their way into the thousands of fans, so surely it’s a big deal?
Running over the Easter long weekend, and in it’s 29th year in 2018, the festival showcases music from all over the world at the Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, which is about a twenty minute to half an hour drive north of Byron Bay. The five days run for 12 hours each, with over 200 performances across the weekend. Roughly 6000 people camp (we shall get to that), enjoy over 100 food and market stalls, as well as drinking gardens and activities for children. It’s honestly one of the most well-rounded family friendly music festivals I’ve heard of, and I’m so glad I got to go.
The culture in Byron Bay is very relaxed. It’s an easy, chill, previously sleepy town, that’s transformed into on of the most loved vacation destinations for families, tourists and back-packers alike, the beach is close by wherever you find yourself to be, the people are lovely, and they’re all incredibly conscious about the environment and preservation. I don’t think I touched anything throughout the whole weekend that wasn’t recyclable, compostable or bio-degradable. It was very eye-opening in that sense.
But, we’re here to talk about the music, and I think the easiest way to do that is to outline the itinerary for each day, what we did and who we saw. Beginning with the flight into Brisbane, QLD.
Day 1 was an early day. My best friend Kate slept over on Tuesday night, and on Wednesday morning, bright and early at 4:45AM, we were loading our bags into a maxi taxi and heading off for the airport. Due to running just a little bit behind schedule, we rushed through the airport and made it onto the plane all within a half an hour time span. Thankfully, flying from Melbourne to Coolangatta isn’t a long flight at all, two hours max, so we reached Queensland around 8:00. Immediately the weather was noted. Where we had been hoodies and running pants to deal with slight Melbourne breeze, I had to strip off my jacket straight out of the doors due to the humidity and heat. Foreshadowing, noted on reflection.
We picked up our hire car, and with about six hours to spare until the campgrounds opened, bypassed the Tea Tree Farm and made our way into the Byron Bay town centre. Now Kate’s very familiar with Byron, having regularly gone up there with her family since she was a kid, so relying solely on her recommendations, we walked around the town for a short while, before my sister spotted a noticeboard directing down a small arcade alleyway, that led to a cute little cafe, The Hideout, which we decided to stop at for breakfast.
/breakfast at The Hideout/
After one of the best breakfasts of my life, we got back in the car for some more drive-by sight-seeing and a stop at the beach. Having just got off a plane, we were severely under-prepared and over-dressed for the weather or a swim, so ended up enjoying some of the sunshine out on the grass, before bundling back into the car. A short shopping stop later and we were driving into the farm. Since we arrived incredibly early, we were amongst the first few cars to pull into the festival, meaning the whole check in process where we were all ticked off and christened with our wristbands was over relatively quickly, and we began the short drive to our site.
Now this is the camping situation. Blessed be my parents, for we are not a huge camping family. So driving past the rows and rows of vacant camp sites was mind-boggling to imagine how many people would begin to gather there over the course of the next two days. While it is predominantly camping grounds, BluesFest does offer three other types of accomodation. I say accomodation lightly.
The first, is a basic ‘tent motel’. Outsourcing the entire debacle of setting up the tent, you arrive to a better than average tent, ready and set up for you, all you need to bring is your sleeping gear, camping gear and everything else.
The step up from that is the Rainbow Tipi Village. Having to suppress the urge to point out the complete political incorrectness of the whole idea was a challenge but I wasn’t the one paying for the majority of the trip, so it had to be done. In a completely hypocritical change in tone, the Tipi Village was quite cute. Rows of tall tipi’s filled another lot of grass, spreading out 18ft in circumference each, alongside two rows of private parking, pre-booked so you’re as close as you can get to your tipi. Inside you get camping beds, a mattress, a pillow, both covered, small bedside tables, and a solar panel lamp. As well as the upgrade inside the tents, the village also comes with a ‘chill-out’ area, complete with hammock style lawn chairs, board games and beanbags, and a conjoined chai kitchen, with free chai made every morning.
And finally, there was the Flash Camp Glamping. For an extra $1000 you get a huge canvas bell tent, private toilet and shower facilities, fresh towels every morning, private kitchen, charging facilities, private parking, bamboo furniture, skin care and toiletries when you arrive, a rug, ‘mood lighting’ and ongoing staff assistance on site throughout the festival.
As I mentioned before, my family aren’t really used to camping, the last time we went being nearly five years ago, but we’re also not up for spending $3000+ on accomodation for five nights, so we found ourselves at the Rainbow Tipi Village. Which is where we reach our first hiccup. As I mentioned, we had a hire car for our trip, a Toyota Kluger, which made it a whole lot easier for us to move around Byron. However, it’s more of a city 4WD rather than a rural, off-road kind of car, and we were definitely not driving on roads. The rain the day before also meant that once we reached the Tipi Village, we encountered a little bit of mud on the roads. When I say ‘encountered’ I mean, we followed the road too far around the village, found ourselves bogged, had to leap out from the car to avoid landing in the mud, call for help from the nearby Tipi Village staff and get our car dragged out by a tow-bar. It was an experience. But within half an hour we were sorted and assigned to our five-person tipi.
/dad and sis roaming the ‘village’/
For five people, there wasn’t a whole lot of room, but it was cosy. Since we had arrived the day before the festival started, which began on the Wednesday, we had majority of the day to ourselves, sorting out our bags, making ourselves comfortable. However, the humidity was pretty intense, meaning we were all pretty worn out from the early flight and ready to lie about and generally do nothing. Which is basically what we did for majority of the Tuesday. Kate and Sonali, my sister, and I explored the village a bit more, especially the chill out area, and discovered that our prime spot would be opening up the car boot and sitting inside to let the occasional breeze pass us by, while we battled through relentless games of Uno, chewing through a whole pack of gum.
/chill out area, behind the Rainbow Tipi Village/
Our afternoon naps turned into deep sleeps, and we eventually woke up right about dinner time. To cater to the early arrivals who were making use of the early camping availability like us, there was a Campers Cafe just outside the festival grounds, serving food and drinks, so we made our way there for dinner, enjoying burgers and coffees, before heading back to our tipi for an early night.
Day 2 heralded the first official day of BluesFest, which started at 3PM that day. Being woken up early by activity around the campsites meant we had plenty of time to eat our breakfast out of the boot of the car, shower and suss out the amenities. Pleasantly surprised, the showers and toilets available for campers were actually really great and clean. A whole lot better than I thought they would be. This followed through for the rest of the festival. The toilets and showers were regularly cleaned and washed down at the end of every day and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had with portable showers and toilets.
After our showers we changed for the day and made our way back to the Campers Cafe for lunch.
And that’s when the rains started. We had been warned, Byron can be known for stop and start weather, and we experienced it in bucketloads during the first day, where it rained, like literally poured, on and off for the duration of the whole day. A little bit after 3, we made our way into the festival to begin our five days of BluesFest.
/a wet opening day for BluesFest, as indicated by Kate and my dad, equally as drenched/
One of the first acts I saw with my family was the Bali Blues Brothers, a blues bands from Bali who were playing in one of the smaller tents on the site. I thoroughly enjoyed their set, the frontman was entertaining and my family and I really enjoyed having a boogie to the music they were playing. Their guitar players were fantastic, hypnotic to watch and their guitar solos were amongst some of my favourites.
The next act we saw was on my mum’s list. She’d been raving about Caitie Baker from the moment we had woken up, so there wasn’t a way she was missing her set. I have to say, I really enjoyed her set as well. She was dancer performer as well, which is something I love when I watch singers live, and her band were very talented as well. I got huge Amy Winehouse vibes from her, and there were several jaw-dropping moments within the crowd hearing such a huge voice come out of such a small woman.
We had a four hour break between Caitie and our next act, so Kate, Sonali and I took the opportunity to roam around and have a look at the stalls. Jewellery, candles, clothes, headbands, artwork, henna, hair pieces, boutiques, it was all available, and we also took the chance to choose out something to have for dinner when we met up with my family. The food was in excess. So many options, we were genuinely spoilt for choice, there was so much on offer. Jambalaya and chicken baguette’s with a side of cajun spiced cone of fries was the move for the first day, and even today, there are no regrets. It was amazing.
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Our final act for the day was Leon Bridges in one of the biggest tents of the festival. He filled it up quite well and his set was a great mix of high energy stage presence and the crooning he’s become so well known for. His back-up singer was equally as beautiful to watch as he was, and I loved his movement and marching around the stage. My dad found it a little amusing, but his in-tempo pacing and marching up and down the front of the stage was really fun to watch for me.
That brought our planned acts to an end, and we met up in the Crossroads Cafe, infront of the Crossroads tent to have a coffee. The early morning and slow day from Tuesday was still catching up to us, as well as a slight frustration with the amount of rain and slush we were having to put up with, so we called it a day around 10:30, and headed back to the tipi.
Day 3 began nice and early again. It became apparent that daily activity at the tipi village started very early in the morning, so we made the most of it and took our time showering, getting changed, having our car boot breakfast, smashing out a few games of Uno, then walking over to the grounds at 12:00. We did’t have any acts scheduled until 3:00 that afternoon, so wandered around a bit more, finally stumbling upon the Delta tent, where a young girl was sitting on stage with a guitar and a stamp pedal. I have to say, Molly Millington, soon became one of favourite new acts from the bill, and a discovery who I’ll be sharing more of soon…
After a few stop and starts around the tents, as well as some more browsing, we made a pit stop for 15 minutes to watch All Our Exes Live In Texas. Now this is where I have to say that I’m being completely, 100% honest about how I feel about each artist that I saw. I enjoyed the fifteen minutes that I saw, but when my dad suggested we move to another tent to see another act, I agreed straight away, purely because it got a bit slow and it dragged on a little bit for me. There’s no denying that they all have incredible voices and the blend of their harmonies combined with a mandolin, ukulele, accordion and guitar was lovely to listen to, but I couldn’t say that they were a stand out for me. It was one of the slower acts, and when considering how long the days were and how much time was spent standing around, I really wanted to utilise my time well and see acts that excited me, though I definitely understand why so many people flocked to the Crossroads tent when they were performing.
Next was a favourite of mine who I had been preparing to see since the lineup came out; Darren Harts, better known as Harts. He played a lot of the favourites that I’ve enjoyed since I saw him a couple of years ago at council music festival for a gold coin donation entry, PLUS all the new stuff he’s released. He’s a machine on the guitar and his production style is incredibly unique. His bass player and drummer were equally as well rounded, filling in all the places that he couldn’t perfectly. However, I had to collect my jaw up from the floor when he mentioned that this might be the last year for his Harts project. His performance definitely left a lasting impression when he ended the set smashing his guitar due to a ton of built up frustration and uncertainty about his career as he’s gone on to say on Twitter and in the follow up interviews he’s done since. I’m definitely glad I got to catch him before anything changes.
Between Harts and the next act we had another four hour break, as we grabbed a late lunch and moseyed around some more, looking at the stalls. I purchased a ring for myself and my mum stocked up on cotton head bands that I have been using to death recently.
/the cutest dresses that I still regret not buying for myself/
At 8:00 we made out way back to the Mojo tent, to catch The New Power Generation, a collective made up of Prince’s past band members, as well as three vocalists joining them for their performances. Hands down, this band are in my top five of all the people we saw at BluesFest. I was obsessed with two of the singers; the young girl who had this ridiculously huge voice, was full of sass and power, and the ‘young cat’ who had one of the best voices I’ve ever heard, and was an amazing dancer. They both grabbed my attention every time they came on stage to sing a song, and all the musicians in the band were so talented and entertaining to watch. The first time I saw them we were all there off to the side a bit, dancing along and singing with the other families, but I couldn’t stop just staring at all the magic going on onstage. When they performed Purple Rain, the entire tent exploded and everyone roared in the audience, singing along and cheering at all the right moments. It was a fantastic moment to experience.
The final act of Day 3 was an act I had been waiting for, ever since she was announced as a final late addition to the bill earlier in the year and that was Ms. Lauryn Hill. I’m a huge Lauryn Hill and The Fugees fan, so I’d been counting down to seeing her set at BluesFest for quite a while. While dad, mum and Sonali were elsewhere, Kate and I grabbed a quick bite to eat for dinner, then made our way back to the Mojo tent to get in nice and early. While the crowd was still pretty strong, we managed to get in quite close with a decent view. Now this is where the audience was split. Lauryn has a DJ who comes on before her, to get her in the mood and hype up the audience. I love this aspect of a lot of RnB and hip hop live acts. Kehlani did it at her concert, and I’ve seen countless others. He played a ton of classic RnB, rap and hip hop songs, old and new, which I was loving. However, with a crowd who are running back and forth between tents and trying to stick to a schedule, you have to remain pretty tight on time, which was something that was never going to happen with Lauryn, who is notorious for running overtime due to coming out pretty late. While I was having the time of my life, it became apparent that a lot of people were quickly becoming fed up of waiting, and as well as a chant for her to come out starting up, there was also some mild boo-ing to the DJ. Eventually at 10:30, a half an hour after she was scheduled to come on, Lauryn made an appearance and began her set.
/lauryn hill, an true icon/
In a split second, the frustration pulsing from the crowd turned into screaming and cheers, as she began her set. She was like a conductor up on stage, directing her band and back-up singers with the flick of her wrist, all the while periodically dabbing at her forehead with a towel to keep up with the heat and humidity that had only heightened during the evening. She sang so many classics and my voice cracked only half-way through Killing Me Softly, making my screaming and cheering pretty much useless up until she closed the set with Doo Wop.
At the same time, my mum and sister were at the Crossroads Cafe tent, my dad inside reliving his childhood listening to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. As well as a ton of the original LZ songs that the huge crowd were waiting out to hear, he also shared some bluegrass tunes and new originals. On his return my dad couldn’t stop talking about the intensity of the crowd, how grown men were crying and how all he could think about were some of the first songs he got on record. At the end of the show he joined us at the Crossroads Cafe, we all enjoyed an ice chocolate and made the walk back to our tent with the thousands of people leaving too.
Day 4 was another early start, as we headed to the smaller Delta tent to watch the Byron Bay Busking Finalists for 2018. Due to several pitstops at food stalls, market shops and other tents along the way, we managed to catch the last two performances. One was a young girl, Cecilia Brandolini, who was a talented piano player and had a really beautiful, haunting folk voice, and the last performers were my favourite, the winners, SameTime. The band comprised of two brothers, one on guitar, one on a standing drum arrangement and both on vocals assisted by two of their mates on bass and electric guitar. I 100% recommend that you listen to the one song they have on Spotify. They are incredible. They both have amazing voices for a 16 and 19 year old, and all their songs were catchy and interesting to listen to. The younger of the two, on the drums, was an insane singer, harmonised incredibly, and smashed it on the drums as well. My whole family thoroughly enjoyed their set, especially the medley at the end that included You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, Ice Ice Baby, Africa, Thriftshop and a ton more songs that had the audience cheering and singing along each time a new tune was introduced.
The next act my family were all keen to see were The Wailers, another tribute band, made up of past members of Bob Marley’s band. They were incredible to watch. Despite some of them being well into their 60’s and 70’s they performed the songs so well, and with so much passion. It was clear to see the love in the tent, hearing, seeing, smelling, all the things Bob Marley was about and is known for. It was an interesting experience, my mum, dad and I enjoying it especially, being huge reggae fans.
When we were done at The Wailers, we stopped for lunch in the food court, enjoying Vietnamese that afternoon, and making use of the huge amount of spare time we had yet again, looking at more stalls, stopping in between tents to see what was on and chatting in the food courts. A popular stand was the Byron Music Shop, a sponsor for the festival, and everyday at 7 they had jam sessions, right after some live performances from locals. It was incredible to watch people jumping up from the audience that was steadily growing around the shop, and after chatting to one of the musicians who had sang a song with the Bali Blues Brothers during their set I even jumped up and sang Superstition, my absolute favourite Stevie Wonder song and it was a ton of fun, especially having a couple of interesting people approaching me after to tell me how much they enjoyed the song. After sticking around for a bit more of the jam, Kate, Sonali and I headed back to the Mojo Tent to meet up with mum and dad.
The next act we saw was a repeat that was agreed upon by the entire group and that was The New Power Generation. This time, mum and Sonali stayed back at the side, and somehow Kate, dad and I found our way to the front of the mosh pit that had doubled in size for their final show.
/NPG ft my faves/
Their entire set was yet again, a huge party and honouring of Prince and all that he was, and it’s still one of my favourite sets I saw at BluesFest.
The final act we ‘saw’ for the night was The Original Blues Brothers Band. I say ‘saw’, because like I mentioned, it was a long day, and Sonali, Kate and I were slowly winding down. So while my mum and dad headed over to the Crossroads tent, Sonali situated herself right outside at the Crossroads Cafe with a hot chocolate, and Kate and I went to the food hall to grab some dinner, before we all met up with Sonali at the end and headed back to our tent for another sticky, warm night.
Keen to get the day started, we made our way back to the Delta stage nice and early to catch the Busking Competition Winner’s, SameTime, do their own set. Due to a longer time for performing we got to hear some more songs from them, and of course, enjoyed the medley at the end. The boys were definitely too humble for their own good. Sam, the younger brother, especially was not shying how low his expectations for their own set was, stating he would have been happy with 20 people coming as he had expected. We managed to get right to the front, and every time I glanced behind me, the crowd had grown by a good thirty people. By the end of the set they had over 300 people stopping in the Delta tent watching them.
We didn’t have much planned at all for Day 5 until later in the evening, so it was another day spent sitting on the lawn, moving between food halls, market stalls, and the Byron Music Shop again. Kate and I mainly roamed around ourselves for the rest of the day, until we moved to the Mojo Tent to catch the end of Ziggy Alberts. The couple of songs we saw were all so beautiful and he left a lasting impact on the crowd as he got us to join in with his last couple of songs, and dance and jump around in a folk dance. And then the rains came. It was five minutes of the most intense torrential rain I’ve ever experienced and Kate and I had only been out there ten minutes before it started. Thankfully it stopped towards the end of his last song, and we made our way back to the Mojo food tent to grab a really quick dinner, before running back for one of our highlights, Tash Sultana.
Tash’s set, was unreal. It was one of the sets at the festival where people really didn’t care and just let loose, me included. Tash’s music, if you haven’t somehow heard it, is this huge build-up of intricate layers and steps that she sets up with her artillery consisting of a monster of a guitar board at her feet, her insane guitar skills, percussion pads, trumpet, mandolin and several synths. Her entire set up stations her in the middle of the stage, on a bohemian carpet, several salt lamps behind her, surrounded by her instruments and half the show is watching her build each song with the array of loop pedals at her feet.
/tash sultana mixing up the magic/
Not only is her artistry fantastic, but her voice is amazing. It’s incredibly powerful, but at times it would feel like she was even crying as she reached for insane high notes. It was an emotional set, euphoric and high in spirits. We made friends in the mosh pit, danced with strangers and spent several entire songs with our eyes completely closed feeling the music, or wide open in a trance of awe, watching the woman on stage create such magic. It’s easily in my top three sets.
Day 6 marked the final day of the festival, and we headed to the far corner tent, Juke Joint to watching the Local Area High School Showcase, which showcased several bands from high schools in and around Byron Bay. I swear it’s something in the water because even the kids in Byron are talented. All the bands were crazy good, like on par with some bands we were seeing during the festival, yet all incredibly humble and visibly excited to be on stage.
After a quick stop for our final lunch, Kate and I headed back to Juke Joint to see the Bali Blues Brothers again, and stayed on for Ryan McMullen, a singer/songwriter from Ireland. Fans of Ed Sheeran, Niall Horan, James Morrison or James Arthur…give this guy a listen. Ryan has one of the most soulful voices I heard at the festival. He was so understated and humble, yet all his effort and emotion went into his songs, whether he was on the guitar or the piano. It was just him and a drummer on stage, but they managed to fill the tent entirely with their sound and the soon the audience size reflected that as well. It was big enough to the point where his attempts to get the crowd involved paid off beautifully, with us singing entire lines with a nod of his head. It was a lovely set to watch and I left the show after get shivers several times, just because of how much I was loving his voice.
The final act we actually saw was Benjamin Booker, which was a discovery for Kate and I. Having only heard of the New Orleans singer here and there around the festival, we decided to catch his last set at the Jambalaya Tent. We were pleasantly surprised as we were able to walk right up to the barrier, considering we were about twenty minutes early, but turning around five minutes before the show, we were definitely surprised to see his audience consisted of a lot of older men. During the soundcheck for the instruments, Benjamin and his band were all on stage for the test, and not only was he this little, cute dude in jeans and a white t-shirt, but he was chatting and joking with the audience, grinning widely for photos and laughing whenever a white middle aged man called out to him.
He started singing and we were both mind-blown. This little dude with his soft-spoken, mid to high range talking voice, literally growled into the microphone with every word he spoke and had this intense stare that honestly hypnotised you for the entirety of his performance.
/benjamin booker everyone/
It was so crazy to watch and hear, having just seen him five minutes before during the soundcheck. His songs were all so easy to groove to and bang your head a little, and his topical content was catchy and easy to sing along to, even for the two of us who weren’t all that familiar with his music. It was a very proud find for us.
The last couple of hours of the day were spent at food tents with the family, watching Lionel Richie up on big screens due the absolute zero chance of squeezing into the tent, and just generally enjoying the final evening at BluesFest.
Omg the waffles. Incredible. Kate and I shared a plate of waffles with maple syrup, swipes of Nutella, ice cream and jelly babies and most definitely did not regret it, even with the sugary mouths we were left with.
It was a great ending to a great long weekend, and we were all thoroughly satisfied as we made our way back to the tipi for the final time.
Day 7 was nothing crazy. We packed up the car and left the farm around 10, driving back into Byron Bay for breakfast at The Hideout again, roaming the streets, checking out some shops, making a stop at the Byron Bay Lighthouse at Kate’s great recommendation, taking some photos, driving along the beach and finally heading to the airport, where we whiled away another three hours before our flight, charging our phones and catching up.
I swear, if any of you find yourself in Australia around Easter Time, make it a priority to head the the Byron Bay BluesFest. It was an insanely fun weekend, especially considering my family booked the tickets on an impulsive whim, something we rarely do, that left mum panicking from that moment on. There’s so much on offer, good food, good markets, good stalls, amazing people and incredible music. Heck, my family already took advantage of the early bird sale prices and bought our tickets for 2019 at the festival itself, so you know it’s something worth checking out.
As the lady who sat next to Kate and I on the flight home said to me after we swapped our experiences at BluesFest, I’m probably hooked for life, hun.
Hello friends! I hope you all enjoyed my latest post, a dedication to the absolute experience that was seeing Bruno Mars live in concert on the 10th. Let’s kick on to the sequel.
So on the 11th of March, literally two days ago, my best friends, Kate and Jess, and I met up on the train (someone count the hours I spend on the train between university and getting to concerts), and found ourselves at Etihad Stadium, a short walk from Southern Cross station, joined by a huge crowd of people, quite obviously preparing themselves for the concert like we were.
We were very aware of the fact that our chances of properly seeing the man in HD were slim. People had been lining up since the early hours of the morning, and by the time we were getting on the train and making our way in, the main door for the mosh had been open for two hours. One thing you have to know about Etihad is this. It’s frigging ginormous. It’s massive. The first time I saw Ed Sheeran, Jess and I managed to find ourselves basically front row of the mosh pit in Rod Laver Arena. Etihad Stadium is a whole other ball game, one that we weren’t willing to play to be quite honest. I had a friend who had been lining up since 2, and was still in the front/middle section of the first mosh pit. Yes you read that correctly, the first mosh pit. But on to that later.
Wait time was next to nothing seeing as the doors had already opened, but we had plenty of time to spare. We found our way to the shortest line, scanned our tickets, got our GA mosh pit wristbands and entered the stadium. After concluding that our stomachs would most definitely not withstand the rest of the night, we bought ourselves some food to eat and made our way out onto the mats. It was insane how big the General Access ground space was. It was so big in fact, that one of the light rigs was literally in the middle of the mosh pit, meaning they split it into two. Those who got there extra early, managed to squeeze themselves into the front mosh, while we were in the second mosh, a bit further back. That said, we were closer to the front of the second mosh pit, so we definitely didn’t have the worst view ever.
Bliss N Esso were the first opening acts, and to their credit, they were fantastic. Not everyone were fans of theirs, I had only heard a few of their songs but knew who they were, and I found myself singing along, joining in whenever I knew the lyrics and genuinely enjoying their set. By the time the second act made her way on stage, the crowd had at least tripled. Partly due to the fact that it was one of Australia’s most loved singers, Ed Sheeran’s musical crush upon his discovery of her during his first trip to Australia years ago, Missy Higgins. Her set was incredible and her songs were all beautiful. Definitely check her out if you haven’t heard of her. She’s been singing for years and years and years, her song Scar broke my 8 year old heart, and it did again when she closed with the song on Sunday night. The entire crowd was singing along and it really lifted the vibe of the entire stadium in preparation for Ed.
And a short twenty minutes later, he was on. I’ve only once, in my life, heard a roar like I did in that moment, and that was when I was in Etihad Stadium three years ago, with Jess and Kate again, seeing One Direction, in their prime. The roar was deafening and the huge crowd surged forward as expected. Still, all we saw was little, teeny, tiny Ed.
I could quite honestly count on one hand the times I actually saw Ed Sheeran in the flesh, rather than on the giant screens but it didn’t matter at all. The sound he created time and time again, song after song, was so insane, and so admirable, I found myself not even looking at the stage sometimes.
Castle On The Hill was quite possibly the best opening song he could have chosen, and all the songs that followed after were even better. My favourites were definitely his medley from Feeling Good by Nina Simone, into I See Fire, his medley of Don’t and New Man, Bloodstream, Galway Girl, Nancy Mulligan (which caused both the girls to look at me knowingly as I screamed because it’s one of my favourites yet I didn’t expect it to be on the setlist at all), Sing and of course his encore which consisted of Shape Of You and You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, which went absolutely crazy. Bringing the old with the new to close the show was one of the best decisions he made, the crowd went absolutely mental, screaming and shouting whether they knew the lyrics or not.
I spoke a lot about the atmosphere in my Bruno Mars post. I can’t compare the two concerts in any way because of how polar opposite they are, and how they appeal to two completely different sides of me as a person, but the atmosphere at Ed Sheeran, was one of the craziest’s I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. When thinking of the size of the crowd, take into consideration that this was a record breaking tour for Ed Sheeran, especially in Australia and New Zealand where he sold more than a million tickets. His four shows in Melbourne sold over 250,000 tickets.
A lot of the awe and just absolutely wonder I continuously found myself feeling, was mainly due to what was happening on stage, or what I could hear of it.
By now, it’s common knowledge that Ed Sheeran doesn’t perform with a band. He doesn’t have a backing track, or pre-recorded samples that he sets up for himself. Everything he does, every sound he made, was with his monster loop pedal and loop board, of which I’m forever envious of, his guitar, and his mouth. The percussion, the harmonies, the choirs you hear on his studio versions, the intricate guitar riffs and the booming bass. All him. Live, on stage, and once he clicks over onto a new track, the previous song is gone forever (a little part of my heart died when he said that).
Knowing that all the sounds and ambience that was filling this bloody huge arena, reaching out to over 60,000 people, was coming from this one man, is still even now, something I can’t wrap my head around. It blows my mind, and it gives me so much respect for him. The atmosphere in that stadium was irreplaceable and one that cannot be replicated.
After the show we were discussing how we all found ourselves, at one moment or another, standing completely still, in a total trance, just watching the screens, I See Fire is one of my absolute, if not, favourite song by Ed Sheeran, specifically because of how emotive it is in translating this really magical story, drawing from such a fantastical film, to create this sound that carries everything it holds and more. It gives me a roundhouse kick to the head of nostalgia from reading fantasy books, old Enid Blyton adventure novels and not questioning the lengths to which authors went to describe magic forests and fairies, old English country-sides and characters that you really can’t begin to imagine existing, and that song captures all of that for me. Perfectly. Take that whole chunk of words I just spewed, put it into a feeling, and that’s all I felt for the entire concert. It didn’t matter if I was screaming back the lyrics in a particularly up-beat song, belting out his slower tunes or dancing along to Shape Of You with my best friends, that’s how I felt for the whole two hours that he was on stage.
You Need Me, I Don’t Need You was the perfect note to end the night on. Not lyrics wise cos it’s very much an ‘eff you’ type of song, but just due to how much emotion and energy it evokes. He rapped all the verses perfectly, got the crowd so hyped up, got everyone involved, stepped away from the guitar after all the loops were set and looked so at home up on that huge stage. Singing that specific song, with the amount of people who were screaming along with him, felt like the perfect goodbye.
Another concert done, definitely up there with the best, 2018 is shaping up to be quite the year.
Hello friends, buckle your seat-belts, strap yourselves in, I’m two iced coffees into my day and keen to share the first night of a KILLER weekend.
My countdown app is…excessive, to say the least. I have a ton of things I’m counting down to on there, most of them concerts and gigs, but by far, one of the most anticipated concerts of the year so far, was Bruno Mars. My entire family, immediate and extended, hype the heck up whenever Bruno Mars comes on at any party. His music encompasses everything that we’re about. We’re the family at weddings and anniversaries and birthdays who are the first on the dance floor and the last to leave. We love his music, and have an unspoken pact between us that we show absolutely no disrespect to Bruno when his songs come on, and we dance. It’s just the general rule of thumb, and I’ve been waiting for so long to see this man live at his concert. Which I attended last night, Saturday the 10th of March.
I had work, again, and so notified them that I was leaving an hour earlier than usual and no-one was stopping me (no-one genuinely cared enough), and by 3:00 I was sprinting out the door.
By 5:45, my family and I were headed to the station to catch our train into the city.
We were quite early to Rod Laver, so my dad and I were able to have a drink, get some food for the four of us and soon we found our seats. This was a fantastic moment.
So through some friends at his work, my Dad was able to get us the tickets. I had already stressed myself out a week earlier and gone through the panic of buying two tickets through the online sale, but I wasn’t incredibly happy with the seats, as they were right at the back, around the side of the stage. So when Dad pulled out his stack of tickets for the lower section, I sold my two tickets as soon as I could. That said, we weren’t sure where exactly we were sitting. Which made it so much better when we were directed to the front of the lower section, with an incredible view of the stage and the entire arena. It was the perfect spot.
Forty-five minutes or so later, and the support act was up on stage. Safe to say, it was probably a major win for Bruno to snag Dua flipping Lipa as his support act. She got the crowd pumped, and her entire set was so high energy and fun. The entire crowd sang along to the songs we all knew, and she definitely gained two new fans in my mum and dad.
After a quick sprint to the toilet at the end of her set and a refill on drinks, we were back in our seats, eagerly waiting on the man himself.
I have to say. This whole week I’ve been asking my family if they’re were excited for the night. While my mum waved me off as she generally tends to do with my over-zealousness, and my sister agreed purely to get my off her back, my dad was very hesitant to set any standards or get his hopes up, despite Bruno being one of his favourite artists. However.
Was. Not. Disappointed.
Bruno opened with Finesse, the classic that has literally taken over the world, and right after the song finished my dad leaned over and screamed into my ear “That’s all the money’s worth already.”
He followed up with 24K Magic, another bop that got everyone so hyped. Every single person was out of their seats and dancing. My little sister and I definitely embarrassed my mum with our dance moves, but the show was so incredible, the energy level so high, that we were beyond caring. Bruno Mars sounds and moves, like butter. Everything about the man was so smooth and sometimes I found myself genuinely enchanted, just standing there watching him in awe. His performance value was so high, it made every dollar worth it.
I think I screamed when he moved on to Treasure. The great thing about the show was the classics that he threw in, sprinkled in between all the incredible songs from his 24K Magic album. Songs like Marry You, Runaway Baby, When I Was Your Man (that nearly brought me to tears) and Locked Out Of Heaven, threw everyone right back to the moment they were all released.
I have to mention his band, The Hooligans. Every single move that Bruno made, all the energy he was dispensing on his performance, they matched him equally, all the while killing it on their respective instruments, whether that was keys, guitar, saxophone, trumpet, drums, trombone or bass. Sometimes I found myself watching one of them perform, and it was so pleasing to watch their solos in between his songs. The saxophone player got a solo that gave me goosebumps, as did the guitar player, but the man on the keys absolutely killed his three minute long solo. Smashing the entire stage into Locked Out Of Heaven was no easy feat but he killed it, and brought the energy level straight back up.
His last song was Just The Way You Are, and he brought the house lights up for the final chorus, just to watch everyone singing back at him.
The encore was probably one of the best vibes I’ve ever gotten at a live show. Everyone just waited in anticipation for him to reappear. It was also a case of ‘if you know, you know’. I felt so bad seeing all the people who genuinely thought the show was done, marching up the steps in a bid to get out early. Thank god, they were all stopped dead in their tracks when we all started shrieking as the curtains rose again and he stepped out again to finish off the night with Uptown Funk, the song that has set the tone for his entire album, world tour and performance. It was everything that I wanted it to be and more.
I say this so much, but this is amongst one of my favourite live shows I’ve been for. It was everything I love about music, packed into two hours that I was so happy to share with my mum, dad and little sister. The atmosphere was crazy, Bruno Mars delivered all that he promises and more.
But my dudes…as this goes up, at the time this post is scheduled, I’ll be at Ed Sheeran. So prepare yourselves for Pt. 2.
Hello friends! Today I’m back with another gig review! If you’ve been keeping on top of my gig guide, you would know that March began with another live show, this time, being Jet at the Melbourne Zoo Twilights.
Amongst the list of acts performing at the Twilights, Jet definitely stood out to me, just because of how heavy their influence was on my childhood, and the slap of nostalgia I receive whenever I hear their name or their music.
They formed in 2001, and their initial roots come from a south-eastern suburb not too far off from me. Throughout the night Jess, Kate and I continued to gawk at how they literally went to a high school we’re incredibly familiar with. I also achieved ‘Singstar’ on their song Are You Gonna Be My Girl on SingstarRock, on several occasions.
Thanks to the concert being within the Zoo, we had tickets to go see some animals so straight after work I rushed home and got ready, then drove to the station where I met my best friends Jess and Kate on the train. It was the usual train ride into the city, before heading out of Melbourne Central to catch the tram to the zoo. In complete honesty, we probably walked up and down Swanston Street for far too long before realising we had to be on the other side of Melbourne Central to find our tram stop, so ended up doing a lap of the centre, before making a final (and illegal) sprint across the road to catch our tram that had just pulled up.
But it doesn’t end there.
I take total blame for us getting off a stop early. That said, I’d like to shoulder the blame off onto PTV, the public transport app, and the contradicting directions we were all getting on our phones. Ten minutes of walking later, and we were at the gates of the zoo.
Elephants and butterflies.
That’s all we wanted to see, so after collecting some free electrical handheld fans, we made our way towards the elephant enclosure. Where we saw no elephants. It was disappointing to say the least, but I was gonna see a bloody elephant, even if it meant I missed the rest of the show. We did however get into the butterfly house for Kate, which left Jess and I dodging the butterflies while we speed walked through.
(Hey if someone wants to help me learn how to centre an Instagram post, would be appreciated muchly.)
As I said, we weren’t leaving until we saw some elephants. We had walked through the elephant entrance, past the elephant statues, through the education centre were we had all spent time during primary school and high school field trips, but we hadn’t seen a single elephant, not even an ear. So naturally, we spotted the exit of the elephant sanctuary, and ignoring the ‘Do No Enter’ sign, we entered through the back entrance anyway, and ELEPHANTS.
We had all the elephants. To ourselves. We spent a good half an hour with the elephants, talking to them, taking photos, sending photos to friends on Snapchat, cheering the baby elephant on as it struggled with lifting a log and generally enjoying the animals. Highlight.
So finally, we make our way out onto the green, after getting some drinks of course, and lay out our spread of fruit, crackers, cheese, biscuits and dip on our blanket and settled in. We were ages away from the stage, because while Jet are a spectacular band and we love a good few of their songs, we rather not go up against some of the hardcore fans, some of whom were twice our age. However, the sound system was spectacular which meant we heard everything so clearly.
It was a really cute night. A lot of families, some couples, little kids running around, and the literal sound of nostalgia floating across the park. Bats were constantly flying overhead, and as the night wore on, more and more people were standing up to have a dance and head bang. Jet performed a couple of their classics and before long they moved into the encore. Anticipating the crowds, more than 1000 people in front of us who would all be leaving at the same time, we quickly packed up our stuff and made the short walk to the zoo gates along with some other smart people. The general eeriness, knowing their were tigers and elephants and giraffes literally meters away from us in all directions was so cool to think about as we walked out. An Uber ride to the train station, short train trip and a car ride later, and we were all back home.
I think in this instance, this concert wasn’t so much about as getting as close to the stage as possible, or moshing with a huge crowd and losing our voices. It was more so about being in the environment of the zoo, enjoying the animals, having a night to ourselves to listen to some incredible Australian music, hang out with the girls and have a picnic. It was a beautiful night, and I reckon we’ll be definitely attending another Melbourne Zoo Twilights concert again!
By now, we all know how utterly obsessed I am with the phenomenon that is Billie Eilish. Since first hearing her early last year, I’ve wanted to grow up to be Billie, which made seeing her at The Howler on the 8th of February all that more incredible. As I’ve mentioned in my posts about seeing Gretta Ray and Dean Lewis, The Howler is one of my favourite venues in Melbourne, and Billie made it ten times better.
Two of my friends and I caught the train into the city, and after a quick dinner and some drinks, caught the tram down to Brunswick, where The Howler is located. It was a short tram ride and we made it for the last part of OKENYO, the support act’s, set. She was such a great support act. A mix of the hard hitting bass and dimension that Billie brings to her song, with an ethereal quality to it with really beautiful backing vocals. Her voice was equally as amazing. After listening to some of her songs on Spotify, I definitely enjoyed her live performance a lot more. It was so dynamic and impactful live, her vocals seemed so much more stronger in person, but definitely check out her Spotify and have a listen to some of her music when you get a chance.
There was a short break and finally, Billie came out.
Despite coming during the support act, we managed to get a pretty good spot, and when she came out it was slightly unnerving and unreal. After two years of seeing her through a screen, laughing at her Instagram mystory’s and just being in awe of her as a being, seeing her in person was so strange, but at the same time, one of the best experiences ever. She opened with bellyache, her most popular song from her album dont smile at me.
She was the perfect mix of insane energy and stillness when it was needed, and watching her, it was so hard to imagine that she only turns 17 this year. It’s simultaneously the most inspiring and crushing thing ever to know that she’s accomplished so much in such a short time and that she’s accomplished so much in such a short time.
Her set was perfect in every way. She was no-nonsense and while a lot of the time I genuinely enjoy when musicians stand on stage and have a bit of banter with the audience, Billie kept it to a minimum, but you could still see how much fun she was having and it seemed so natural that she kinda flied from song to song It really suited her and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Her brother Finneas is just as talented. He co-writes a lot of her songs with her so halfway through she stepped to the side and he sang a song that literally punched me in the gut. It honestly runs in the family, I’m telling you. They even teamed up for a few dance breaks that link back to Billie’s formal dance train, and he accompanied her for a couple of songs as well.
Billie even sat down to sing a song that’s yet to be released, and if it’s anything like the live version, it’s going to be one of my favourites. The song captured everything I love about Billie. It was super, duper sad, but her vocals literally soared. It was a simple song, but the lyrics made my heart stop a couple of times, and there were genuine audible gasps from the audience. I’m just going to patiently wait for this song to be released. Probably not so patiently.
She finished with my boy, which was definitely a crowd pleaser and one of my favourites. Off stage for a minute, she swear to God, Naruto ran back on for the encore where she sang hostage, which hushed the crowd entirely. I’m pretty sure everyone was equally in awe as I was. For a 16 year old to hook and hold an 18+ crowd as tightly as she did, Billie’s charisma and energy was so infectious. Finally, finally, we were instructed to mosh as much has we wanted (“yeah even you guys at the front, punch someone.“) as she sang COPYCAT. It was like she had saved up her stores of energy for this one song, and she bounced and jumped around the stage, dancing and head banging along with the rest of us. The live version was so dynamic and the drum breaks added a whole new layer that the studio version doesn’t even touch. It was great to get another side to the song that allowed the audience to really physically get into it.
Not even a week after Let Go Fest and my mind was once again blown by such an incredible live act. To date, Billie Eilish is probably in my top five concerts I’ve attended and by far, my favourite act that I’ve seen at The Howler. From the moment it ended, up until the time we all got home, all my friends and I could think and talk about was how she surely wasn’t real? She seemed too good to be true, not only seeing her in person, but hearing such a mature and strong voice from someone so young, live and so close. If you ever get the chance to see Billie Eilish live, please go. You 100% will regret nothing, I promise.
I say so far, because while this was such an incredible, magical day, my best friends/family and I have so much planned this year, that I’m sure I’ll be getting real familiar with the feeling throughout 2018.
However, today we’re talking about Let Go Fest.
Let Go Fest is a new day-long festival, only in it’s second year, that takes place at the beginning of the year at the Mornington Peninsula Racecourse. It was my first festival and it could not have gone better.
I stayed at my best friend Jess’ house on the night of the 2nd, and after an incredibly restless sleep we were up on Saturday the 3rd, ready to start the day, beginning with the legend that is my other best friend, Kate, announcing her arrival with chai lattes and a huge grin.
Then we began the process of makeup. Gotta be honest, I went in with a plan and ended up winging it completely, though I was happier with the outcome than I was with the initial plan I had in mind. It was a good makeup day. After a quick breakfast we went back downstairs to get dressed, douse ourselves in glitter and then headed out to catch the train. We were amongst the first couple of people to get to the station, catching one of the first shuttle buses from the station to the racecourse. It was a short wait in line, but once we passed through we were in and it was fantastic. The first act we wanted to see started at 2, so we took the chance to take a ride on the free ferris wheel and have a walk around.
The first of a series of smart moves we made that day, was catching the end of Joyride. We made it for the last few songs of their set and as people started to move off after they finished we made our way to the front and chilled out against the barrier. Made some friends, complained about the heat, the usual stuff. Though she was ten minutes late, Ecca Vandal was one of my major highlights of the day.
Well first of, like I mentioned, we were right at the front. Second of all, I’ve been obsessed with her, especially her song Future Heroine which I’ve mentioned in several monthly favourites and playlists. Along with these iconic pictures, I also have several videos of her looking straight into my camera and screaming the lyrics back to me. It was amazing. All I remember was singing the lyrics to Jess and Kate, only to have Jess literally scream in my face for me to turn around and having Ecca right in front of me, up against the barrier. Not only that, but the second time she came down to us, the boy next to me and I carried her over the barrier so she could sing half a song in the mosh pit. No security, nothing. It was out of this world.
Jess was incredibly keen to see Middle Kids, who were performing next, so along with our new friends, we remained up near the barrier. Have to share, but due to the intense head banging and copious amounts of drinks that were probably being thrown around the mosh pit, my hair had transformed into an absolute, sticky birds mess. Thanks to the magical creatures that teenage girls are, that was quickly sorted out when a lovely angel sent from heaven made it her mission to get my hair out of my face and throw it back into a french braid. So problem solved.
I should also point out that at this moment, looking back, the crowd had grown huge. We were probably at the front of a three hundred strong mosh pit at the moment, which compared to later on in the night was nothing, but was still an amazing experience. Middle Kids were incredible. They played some of their old stuff, new stuff released the week before and a song that hadn’t even been released yet. It was so amazing to watch them performing, and to see the claw ride, swinging back and forth in the background, appearing up above the stage and raining down screams and cheers from the people on it.
After Middle Kids finished their set, we left our spot at the mosh to go and get some drinks. We waited in a stupid long line for some drink cards before getting our drinks and then we roamed around for a little bit. After some fresh air, we again found ourselves in the middle of the growing mosh pit, catching the end of Allday‘s set. The people in the crowd were incredible to be with, screaming lyrics, lifting strangers onto shoulders and all together sharing a great vibe. We remained in the mosh, closer to the front, for the whole of SAFIA‘s set, Jess climbing onto my shoulders for her favourite song and all of us generally having the time of our lives.
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After SAFIA’s set, we left the mosh for another drink and toilet break, and to meet up with my cousin who we were heading home with later. Literally half an hour later we were at the back of the main stage mosh pit, preparing for Gang Of Youths, the headliners. After moving around a bit to try and get a better view since literally 3/4 of the people at the festival were at the main stage, we moved over to the side of the mosh pit. This is where I take full credit for the next move, because it was fantastic. While we were standing there, I overhead an older couple who noticed a spot further up in the front, closer to the side of the stage, and planned their route to get there. Naturally I grabbed Jessica’s hand, who in turn grabbed Kate, and quickly followed behind them, mumbling ‘excuse me’s and ‘sorry’s to the forgiving crowd around us. The view was great from our new spot. Ten times better than where we were, and the people we were around were even better. There’s nothing more energising than screaming the lyrics into a complete strangers face, only to have them respond back with twice the enthusiasm.
Again, Jess was on my shoulders for her favourite song, and we were all absolutely living, until I literally had to scream at her to turn around to see David, the lead singer of Gang Of Youths, who had climbed down into the crowd with his security, make his way right past us, singing the chorus like the absolutely incredible showman he is.
It was one of the bests parts of the entire day, and made the huge crowd, the heat, slight sunburn and sore feet worth it all.
Let Go Fest was an incredible day, and will probably still be one of the highlights of my 2018. It was the happiest I’ve been all year, and it was all down to incredible music, my best friends, amazing weather, a few drinks and an irreplaceable vibe. I plan to make 2018 amazing, and Let Go Fest was the perfect way to kick it all off.