Since the disappearance of Big Day Out, Soundwave and Future Music Festival, South Australia hasn’t been well-known for hosting insane music festivals. Fortunately, the 2014 inception of SA’s Groovin The Moo has been our saving grace. So popular that the festival site had to be moved from Oakbank to the Adelaide Showgrounds; regardless of the location, Groovin The Moo always garners a lot of mud, glitter and sweat.
Playing early in the day, local Radelaide boys, Horror My Friend, did us proud. The band has come a long way from playing to a handful of people to a festival stage, so it’s good to see them still swapping guitar and bass between them like they always have. Looking super comfortable up in front of a couple of hundred punters, they smashed out a tight set with their track ‘Stay In’, radiating their own brand of indie garage-rock.
Architects were a must see. Powerful, throaty vocals and incredible jets of smoke made their set visually stunning as well as audibly so. Another stand-out was The Smith Street Band who always seem to bring a real down-to-earth vibe. They’re casual and relatable, and because of that the audience invested 100% in their show.
One of the most exciting artists on the lineup was Tash Sultana. Just the chance to see her perform live would’ve been on many people’s bucket lists, and she didn’t disappoint. Even if you didn’t know anything about her backstory, it was very evident how involved she is in her craft. Her music pulsed through her, and it felt like a privilege to be let into her private world of sounds. She stood barefoot among a carpet of pedals and an array of instruments while she built up her songs. She even beatboxed through panpipes. Incredible.
There is only one word we can say about The Darkness, and that’s yes. Yes to ‘Love Is Only A Feeling’, yes to their energetic and stage-encompassing rock tunes, and yes to Justin Hawkins’ personalised blue lycra catsuit. They’re extravagant performers who managed to interact with the audience from the stage, as well as from a security guard’s shoulders while playing guitar. They dropped hit song after hit song and hearing them one after the other in their 45-minute slot really brought to mind how many great songs this band has written. And the fact they brought it all the way from the UK to Australia makes having seen them a major bragging point.
Closing the festival on the main stage was, of course, Violent Soho. These fellas are just a ridiculously good festival band; they’re classic Aussie blokes who have a love of beer and epic guitar hooks. Opening with ‘Viceroy’, there’s something oddly beautiful about watching rolls of toilet paper stream through the air towards the crowd as they shout the words back to the band. And hook, line and sinker, the crowd was Violent Soho’s from the get go. They head-banged their way through ‘Like Soda’, ‘Blanket’ and ‘So Sentimental’, threw signed footies into the crowd (as well as cans of beer) and had just as much fun on stage as the crowd was having. And you can’t go through ‘Covered In Chrome’ without screaming, “hell fuck yeah!” Well, you could. But what kind of life would you be living?
It wasn’t really a party in a paddock, but it got pretty close and was still a ripper of a festival. Plenty of bands to see as well as glitter-covered faces, beards and boobs.
P.S. The Womats were ace.
GROOVIN THE MOO DATES:
Sunday 30 April – Townsville
Saturday 6 May – Bendigo
Sunday 7 May – Canberra
Saturday 13 May – Bunbury
Find Groovin The Moo on:
Photos: Baxter William