Laneway was a heck of a ride! We were lucky enough to be amongst the thousands that attended the Brisbane leg. Walking through the festival was like being a kid in a candy store with no shortage of great acts to see. There was definitely something for everyone.
From the drum prodigy G Flip, to the gravity defying Denzel Curry, and then the mesmerising hips of Dave Le’aupepe from Gang of Youths.
First up, recent Hottest 100 number 9’er Ruby Fields. She has come a long way since her busking days. The 20 year old took to the stage with a confidence well past her years. The sing along track ‘Dinosaurs’ was everything you expected it to be. If you weren’t already a fan of the Cronulla local, with lyrics like “Shaved legs are too much trouble” the sheer relatableness would have won you over. Side note, Ruby stepped into the role of fashion correspondent for Triple J to interview a few punters throughout the day and it is worth a watch.
Indie electronic trio Mansionair were up next. We were treated to a couple of new songs ahead of the upcoming release of new album Shadowboxer that is due out on March 1. You have to see these guys live to really appreciate the vocal range of lead Jack Froggart. Trust us, it will blow your mind.
She scored not one, but two songs on this years Hottest 100 countdown. We are talking about none other than G Flip, drummer extraordinaire. Her entry on to stage was backed by 1998 Fatboy Slim banger ‘Right Here, Right Now’. The hype was real. Despite starting her music career as a drummer, the best piece of advice we can ever give you is not to pigeonhole her. G Flip went from drums, to lead singer, to lead guitar and to keys all in the span of one set. Renaissance woman people. We envision more big things coming from her.
Also apparently some bloke was front and centre to ask her sister out on a date. Bold move guy, lets see if it pays off.
Up next, none other than the newest recipient of the Young Australian of the Year Award, Baker Boy. He rocked the stage in his own merch, treating us all to fave tracks such as ‘Mr La Di Da Di’ and ‘Cloud 9’. But like the aforementioned G Flip, the (Baker) boy can do more than just sing and rap. Who else would integrate dance breaks into their set?
Towards the middle of the afternoon, Middle Kids took to the ‘Never Let It Rest Stage’ to show us exactly that. The band gave it 110% on stage and pulled out all the tracks you wanted to hear, like ‘Edge of Town’, and their newest track ‘Salt Eyes’. Lead singer Hannah Joy oozed cool confidence, with a pair of dope pants to match.
It was quite the transition from indie rock vibes to the trap powerhouse that is Denzel Curry. Despite only being 24 years old, the guy has serious stage presence. And we mean that in both confidence and pure use of surface area. He spent just as much time in the air than he did on the stage itself. The crowd loved it, and definitely geared everyone up for the rest of the night. Side note, he had some of the best background graphics of the day. Including, but not limited to, a photo of him with cold hard cash pouring out of his open mouth. Why go subtle?
Flipping genres completely again, Byron Bay surf rockers Skegss were up next. Another band with a two time Hottest 100 appearance this year. The crowd seemed more than ready for the rowdiness that can come from a Skegss set, but they may have gotten more than they bargained for. Lead singer Ben Reed made his way down into the pit and got up close and personal for the bands grunge track ‘New York California’. Those in the front row probably got just as much time in front of the microphone as he did. But we know they loved it.
The sun was completely set and it was time to party with What So Not. The stage was kitted out in what we can only call ‘jungle chic’. His decks were covered in plastic plants and he seemed to have donned a safari themed hat. The revelers didn’t let the heat stop them, with the dancing really gearing up for legendary remix of RUFUS' ‘Innerbloom’. Not long after, some summer themed plastic blow ups made their way into the crowd in the forms of ice creams and turtles. Nice change to a simple blown up condom floating through the mosh.
With two records 20 year old Rex Orange County took to the stage with his bitterly sincere lyricism teetering between sweet and salty. For the wise-beyond-his-years singer-songwriter each bead of sweat had a story as he played his heart out on the piano.
The front row was filled with the most in sync chorus singing from a crowd ever heard. The uplifted crowd was a mix of swooning girls and...swooning guys. The set ended with the staple 'loving is easy’, supported by an ensemble of saxophone an trumpet which was an apt finale to the wholesome time that was UK's Rex Orange County at Laneway.
Last but not least, the irresistible Gang of Youths. No one is immune to the charisma that is frontman Dave Le’aupepe. He already has a viral video making the rounds paying homage to his moves. The guys had a phenomenal 2018 and it seems like they have every intention to keep it all going. The energy and positivity they provide the crowd is entrancing. They adore their fans and it shows every time they get up on stage. The crowd were belting at the top of their lungs every single lyric of every single song. It's not something you usually hear even from the most well-loved bands. Even as headliners they are criminally underrated - because if you've been in midst of a Gang of Youths mosh the feeling of utter joy and love between the strangers sharing the lyrics is just indescribable. You don't need confetti to celebrate the triumphant journey that is a GOY set. But they had that anyway.
And that brings the first leg of the incredible Laneway festival to an end for another year.
Check out the full gallery here
For those not in Brisbane the fun is only yet to begin
Laneway Festival 2019
Sunday, 3rd February
SCA and Callan Park, Sydney
Friday, 8th February
Hart’s Mill, Port Adelaide
Saturday, 9th February
Footscray Park, Melbourne
Sunday, 10th February
Esplanade Reserve and West End, Fremantle