By Jack Hutchison (@hutcho33)
Over the weekend we got a chance to attend the Canberra iteration of regional music festival Groovin The Moo. With crowds entranced by a solid lineup of artists, including Dillon Francis & Violent Soho, and the usual mix of festival goodness, it was definitely a great all round event. Here’s some winners and losers from the country extravaganza.
Winner: Violent Soho
One of the toughest tasks in music is being the last act of a long festival. Many of the other acts have shredded the main stage before you grace it with your own presence. It’s something that negatively affected the closing performance of Childish Gambino at Field Day. It’s not that Gambino wasn’t amazing, rather that merely half an hour prior Chance the Rapper laid down the best performance of the day.
With this said, Violent Soho killed Sunday night, with an energetic, exciting performance that ignited a freezing crowd.
Punting footballs into the audience, smashing guitars and pounding beers all the way through the one hour set, Soho produced one of the craziest atmospheres of the night. Mosh pits were encouraged, smaller audience members were literally thrown at the Cattleyard stage and a hungry crowd begged for more music despite being the last act.
For igniting an audience at the end of a long day, Soho are the biggest winners of Groovin the Moo Canberra.
Montaigne is a regular fixture at Australian music festivals, with a nice following and a pretty successful career.
However, this was not a great performance from her. Hobbled by illness, Montaigne wasn’t able to produce a performance that she is usually capable of. Her music also wasn’t suited for a mainstage environment, following a strong performance by Against Me! and before another solid performance by The Smith Street Band.
It also speaks to a larger problem with Montaigne at festivals. The style of her music doesn’t suit these larger crowds, she struggles to create exciting environments and is largely ignored by those unfamiliar with her music. Other acts are better at attracting new fans because usually their music is more inviting and broadly accessible.
Unfortunately, the stage was literally too big for Montaigne in the University of Canberra.
Winner: The Darkness
Before The Wombats and Violent Soho closed out a stellar Groovin the Moo, a funky British rock band put forward the strongest performance of the festival.
Complete with crowd surfing, throwing picks intothe audience and standing on their heads, The Darkness enticed both diehard fans and casual festival goers alike.
A strong 80s British rock vibe separated them from their surrounding acts, becoming a welcoming and reinvigorating addition to the final four acts on the main stages. Even for someone who had only ever heard a select songs from the group, their set was addictively joyful, making you wish for more.
The best pure performance in terms of entertainment value was undeniably laid down by The Darkness.
Loser: Anyone Wearing Shorts and/or Singlets
Usually, the festival is the perfect place for short shorts and minimal clothing. A perfect opportunity for everyone to show off their physique and live freely.
Canberra reached a cool 1 degree by the end of the day. In fact as soon as it hit around 2 o’clock, it was freezing. It was a chilly reminder that Canberra is a cold cold place. The people who aren’t from the area, or even just forgot how cold it can get in the nation’s capital, the later portion of the day must be similar to how Jon Snow felt all those months on the wall. For those who don’t watch Game of Thrones, I’m saying it was fucking cold.
So for anyone wearing only overalls, short denim shorts, skin tight morphsuits, basketball jerseys, muscle singlets, board shorts or whatever manifestation concocted with the express intent of exposing as much skin as possible unfortunately you suffer an embarrassing fate.
You suffer a huge, chilling L.
Winner: Australian Music
Despite lacking some of the best artists this country has to offer, the Australian acts on this lineup killed it across the board. Early in the day, Manu Crook$, Amy Shark, Mythel Ethel and L Fresh the Lion crushed their sets.
The Smith Street Band, Tash Sultana and The Jungle Giants continued to deliver the Aussie goodness before moving into the final four acts. PNAU was super fun and warmed up the crowd perfectly for the home stretch before the headliner and previously mentioned Violent Soho gave a killer festival a worthy send off.
All of this is fantastic news, with Australian music continuing to advance an awesome diversity of quality music.
James Tidswell, the guitarist for Violent Soho said it best during his band’s concluding set.
“How fucking good is Australian music right now!”
To answer James’ question, Australian music is really fucking good right now.