Live review: Laneway 2012

By Kim Gillespie

Unlike the late Big Day Out, the St Jerome's Laneway Festival puts the 'alternative' back in 'alternative festival'.

With a great mix of musical styles providing a diverse smorgasbord of aural delights, the impressive indie lineup  did a brilliant job of keeping the sweltering crowd of thousands entertained at Silo Park on the Auckland waterfront  on Anniversary Day.

And the Kiwi contingent, including Opossum (with Big Runga and Kody Neilsen) at lunchtime, Neil Finn's Pajama Club in the afternoon and Shayne P Carter (some great tracks from across his career) at the end of the night were top ambassadors for the host nation.

Who would have picked we'd be going to see Bic Runga and Neil Finn at an alternative music festival?

Early afternoon on the main stage EMA channels Bjork before Austra channels Florence. Awesome vocals from the Canadian act (Wikipedia tells me the backing singers with the groovy dance moves are twins!).

Cults prove popular though they can't quite match the power of their recordings. Great that they open with Abducted though, and Go Outside sounds wicked.

Girls' poppy sound brings a change of pace and a splash of colour to proceedings, but with a scheduled break coming up lines at the refreshments stands begin to grow.

With so much great music to be had, it's a pity much of the talk about Laneway 2012 has been about queuing for beer and drink coupons.

Most people could have saved themselves some trouble if they'd shopped around - while some coupon and beer counters had long lines, others were relatively short. Having money on hand for cash only queues - always a good move for festivals - would have saved punters plenty of time too.

Interesting fact #1: The most queued-for foods on the day are Hungarian bread and Bavarian wieners.

Laura Marling is just darling (I bet she gets that a lot). The 21-year-old, who already seems to have been around for years, echoes the sentiments of most of the other artists in praising New Zealand. Aw shucks.

Her folk songs are the perfect soundtrack to a dreamy summer afternoon. It's only a pity we weren't watching her while relaxing in a grassy paddock.

Her track Sophia builds up nicely into a powerful number that leaves the fans wanting much more.

Yuck take the Penny Lane Stage with their trademark sonic shoegaze sound.

As noisy as they are, at times Yuck had to compete with the very chatty crowd during their set.

While their squealy numbers like Get Away sounded great - the audience don''t seem in the mood for the slower songs, though the lengthy Dead C-ish Rubber is a perfect summer shoegaze space-out.

Hopping over to the Park Lane stage to see Anna Calvi, but good luck, the place is packed, with the odd peek available between heads.

The next two acts on the main stage are the highlights of the day. Twin Shadow (above) puts on a fantastic performance before Feist steals the show, kicking off with A Commotion. Technical issues during How Come You Never Go There (dedicated to NZ) didn't put her off her stride, while the rest of the set was heavy with tracks from her latest album Metals including favourites Graveyard and Bad In Each Other.

But the crowd particularly enjoyed the romping My Moon My Man from the Reminder.

Interesting fact #2: Feist's last track, I Feel It All, comes with a shout out to her Kiwi drummer Lucky Paul.

The Horrors' set is beautifully backed by the atmosphere of the Auckland twilight and the incoming sea breeze.

Not a lot of stage presence but I Can See Through You is wonderful and the epic Sea Within A Sea took us into the night with style.

Check out NZ Herald Online's live blog: <inline type="recurring-inline" id="1545" align="normal" enforce-sites="no" />



- Hamilton News

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