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LIVE REVIEW: Sunshine Coast Groovin the Moo 2023

Photos by Josh Hickie

Sunday, 30th April and we were in a fantastic mood as we headed up the coast for the very first Sunshine Coast Groovin the Moo. It’s been absolutely fantastic to see the return of Australia’s major music festivals- Groovin the Moo specifically had their first shows since pre-covid last year with a smaller run, and this year expanded to hit more cities with an absolutely stacked lineup of international and Australian talent.

It’s a great location for a festival- a bit out of the way in a big old field with a set-up that was large enough you never felt cramped, but not too big to zip between the undercover Moolin Rouge stage and the Triple J and Cattleyard stages on the other side, conveniently nestled together in a great use of staging that gave punters a near-constant stream of music as acts swapped between the two stages.

Sunny coast local Karlou opened up the day over on the Moolin Rouge side as a result of Triple J’s fresh produce additions, and was absolutely fantastic. Joined on stage by drummer Alex Atkins, the two of them had such a genuine, sunny presence and were really fun to watch as they performed from the indie-pop artists' catalogue, Karlou dancing around the stage. The set ended with newest release, ‘Bed Arrest’, which has been stuck in my head ever since.

We hung around at Moolin Rouge to catch a few more of the acts lined up for earlier in the day and were absolutely blown away by the arsenal of talent that stepped onto that stage.

If you haven’t seen the incredible indie rock/ pop-punk duo that is Teenage Joans live, you need to get on that right away. They share the vocals in their songs, with Cahli Blakers playing guitar and Tahlia Borg on drums, and the two of them garnered an absolutely massive crowd- and it was barely even noon.

Sprinkled with shark facts and a Groovin the Moo-themed Scooby Doo cover, their set was just a lot of fun from start to end. Teenage Joan’s played their most beloved songs- think ‘Three Leaf Clover’, ‘Wine’, and ‘Something About Being Sixteen’, while jumping and dancing alongside the enthusiastic crowd- I am constantly so impressed by their energy. The band also treated the audience to ‘Superglue’, which was released a couple of days after the festival, their first new release (with the exception of an acoustic version of ‘Wine’) in almost exactly a year.

Continuing the duo trend, Royel Otis were up next- though the talented indie two-piece were joined by a full band for their set. They’ve recently released a new EP, Sofa Kings, and it was great to hear some of these songs live for the first time. Dreamy and danceable ‘Kool Aid’ and ’Sofa Kings’ were incredible live, as was ‘Oysters in My Pocket’ which they ended their set on.

Teenage Dads then took to the stage, with singer Jordan Findlay thanking everyone for ‘hanging out in the sexy tent’ with them.

They used their half hour to the fullest, packing the set full of some of their biggest tunes, as well as throwing in their new song ‘Speed Racer’ and their Like A Version cover of ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ to roars of approval. The four of them know how to perform- it was really nice to see drummer Vincent Kinna with his kit positioned centre stage rather than at the back, and Connor McLaughlin and Angus Christie on guitar and bass were constantly interacting with the delighted crowd.

We headed over to the sunny Cattleyard and Triple J stages next to catch some tunes from some quintessential Australian festival acts and huge international talent.

The Chats shredded like there was no tomorrow and the mosh went crazy. It was hot, sweaty and sunshiney as we listened and had a dance to '6L GTR' and 'Pub Feed'. A huge pit formed during their set- which was a lot of fun to watch and meant that when it dissolved at the end of the set, we could get a whole lot closer- which I was feeling pretty happy about because Confidence Man were up next, and the visual element of their performances are so much fun.

They swept in, Janet Planet and Sugar Bones costumed in dramatic suits that moved with the beat of ‘Toy Boy’, with Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild veiled dramatically in black to keep the tunes going. Costume changes and choreographed dancing kept the crowd enraptured as they worked their way through their set, which included ‘Boyfriend (Repeat)’, ‘C.O.O.L Party’ and, of course, ‘Holiday’.

Skeggs and Ocean Alley are some of Australia’s most beloved bands, and their back-to-back sets had punters going wild. Skeggs brought the good vibes with their classic surf rock hits, before Ocean Alley invited the crowd into their world of swirling reggae fusion, playing an incredibly tight set with picks from across their discography that had everyone singing their hearts out.

Genesis Owusu was amazing. His performance was shrouded in red lights that transported you into another world as soon as you stepped into the tent, enhanced with show-stopping costuming, props and background dancers. His voice moves you through the set, sometimes dreamily mellow, like in groovy ‘WUTD’ before hastening to an urgent energy for numbers like ‘Get Inspired’.

Ball Park Music was probably the highlight of the night for me. I think for me their music is marked by the love that you can feel so powerfully throughout their songs- for themselves (sometimes in a defiant sense, like the frenzied ‘Hands Off My Body’ which opened their set up), for their friends ‘Everything is Shit Except My Friendship with you’, for their partners, and for music.

Their set was great. With a catalogue like theirs, it can’t be easy to water it down to roughly 40 minutes of songs, but they had a fantastic mix from across their albums. They closed with ‘Sad Rude Future Dude’ to massive roars of approval.

The festival wrapped up with Fatboy Slim. I haven’t really watched a lot of DJ sets at festivals before, but you can’t miss an act as iconic as that, so I was really keen to see what it was all about and I am soo glad we did- a solid beat and trippy visuals kept us captivated and in a great mood as we danced along with the rest of the crowd, revelling in the memories that would have to keep us going until 2024 rolls around and we can party in the paddock once more.


Check out the full gallery for the day here!

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