Finding itself in the delicious middle of a celebration of wine and Australian music, Grapevine Gathering returns for its sophomore year to the outskirts of Melbourne. After expanding to two other locations across the country, Grapevine certainly made an impact on its debut, and with the sold out crowd taking over the Grapevine Estate, first impressions have certainly impressed the Melbourne crowd. Despite leaving punters with a dusty exterior, Grapevine Gathering has come back swinging, deliciously delivering a one-stage extravaganza of a festival.
A line-up featuring some of the best Australian festival talent we have, the early birds were treated to some early arvo rave sessions featuring Touch Sensitive and Late Night Tuff Guy to name a few, the afternoon sun was welcomed with palpable summer vibes. Though Jack River certainly shows off in the spotlight as one of the mid-arvo highlights. With a smile that could be seen a mile away, she brings an infectious summery glow every time she hops up on stage. Dropping tracks off her critically acclaimed debut record, as well as some older tracks (with ‘Palo Alto’ being this writer’s personal favourite) she had hips shaking and grins wide, River, as per usual, is a goddamn delight.
The dust storm kicked up as some serious dancing began with Mallrat hitting the stage. Grace Shaw and DJ Denim are a couple of Queensland gals that have absolutely destroyed the international scene over the past few years, and seeing them back on home ground, delivering one of the best festival sets you could ask for, is just downright delightful. A set filled with certified bangers, with hits ‘Groceries’, ‘Uninvited’ and ‘Charlie’ (a track that will no doubt end up towards to single digits on the Hottest 100 list) all turning that mosh pit into a wine fuelled rave, there is no denying the affect Mallrat has on a festival crowd. Even throwing in a cover of an early Florence + The Machine’s ‘Girl With One Eye’ (joined with mate Tyne James-Organ) it was a seriously highlight of the day. Will Mallrat ever slow down?
As we move on into the twilight, I need to take a moment to talk about experiencing Flight Facilities’ ‘Claire De Lune’ as the lilac sky radiated as the sun set. The electronic lullaby is a beautiful track at the best of times, but watching the sunset across the Macedon Rages, feeling those cyclical beats enter your body, it was definitely a moment I’ll remember. Outside this ethereal experience, it was dance a-plenty. Joined by vocalist Owl Eyes for most of the set, Flight Facilities left no hit untouched with ‘Crave You’, Down To Earth, Need You (and countless more) filling the set. The Flight Facilities gents need to be booked every goddamn festival this summer I say.
Two Door Cinema Club made a welcome return to Aussie shores, and with the surprising amount of screaming from punters, it’s been a well overdue return. That bright melodic guitar launched us right into a powerhouse of a set jam-packed with indie-pop bangers, having the entire crowd in a syncopated bounce. With an entire catalogue that could be described by the phrase ‘this is a bop’, there was no stopping the British quintet smashing out their indie pop goodness. With the whole night peaking with ‘What You Know’, the timelessness of these Northern Ireland legend is glaringly apparent. With a powerful energy on stage, translating to a tangible energy between punters, that visible enjoyment from a band that’s been around for over a decade is a testament to their chemistry between the band and their music.
Packing one stage with back to back festival belters is possibly the best way to program a festival. Throw away the potential stresses a festival can bring with ‘oh which stage do we need to run off to now’ and replace that with one stage of pure festival belters. No fear of FOMO, just kick back with a wine and take it all in.
A gorgeous mix of electronic beats and indie rock, Grapevine Gathering have really found their place on the Australian festival scene. Aside from the dust that covered punters head to toe, and the distinct lack of any actual grapevines in the vicinity, Grapevine Gathering have nailed it. With only two years under their belt, at the rate they’re going at the moment, the grapes are just going to get juicier and juicer.