All the action at Laneway 2015 covered by expert critics Lydia Jenkin, Rachel Bache and Chris Schulz.
9.40pm - Mysterex Stage: Flying Lotus
The best reason to stay till the end of today's Laneway came from hip-hop wunderkid Flying Lotus, who emerged looking like a supervillain from a Spider-Man film, then proceeded to provide a supersonic musical trip that melded trap, rap and drum and bass, with a mindblowing light show displayed on white screens around him. Yes, many were fleeing from a long hot day in the sun, but those that stayed were rewarded with one of the best performances from an event full of great ones.
8.50pm - Hey Seuss Stage: FKA Twigs
There was no sign of her boyfriend Robert Pattinson as Brit FKA Twigs took to the main stage. The rumoured couple have become a hot topic for gossip mags, but it was Twigs who was the star of the show here, prancing and twirling around the stage like a super intense circus performer. Her sexed up songs also wowed, mezmerising during
and spellbinding through highlight
. That thudding bass will ring around our ears for days.
9.25 - Cactus cat stage: St Vincent
After 10 minutes of synth notes, blue smoke and built anticipation, St Vincent finally appeared onstage, the last act on the Cactus Cat stage for this year's Laneway. Dressed in a black latex kimono, guitar slung across her torso, St Vincent let her quirky show. The American muso had more than a few weirdly-cool dance moves to share. The crowd cheered as went bonkers, pulling off a squealing solo on her electric guitar. Her voice soared over the synth heavy alternative pop. "A special welcome to the freaks and other of Auckland" St Vincent addressed the crowd fittingly, before launching into another wonderfully disjointed electro track. Her echo effected single Cheerleader got heads banging through the song's grungy, distorted chorus. Followed up quickly by the groove fueled Digital Witness. Arguably one of the best acts of the day - it was great being able to finish off Laneway with such an attention capturing set.
- Rachel Bache
8.00pm - Mysterex stage: Belle & Sebastian
The members of Belle and Sebastian filled the Mysterex main stage, launching into their dance worthy indie-pop music. Leading the Glasgow band, Stuart Murdoch, joked with the crowd, questioning how on earth they could possibly follow Future Islands, who had just finished up their high energy set - "by playing really f***ing good" the lead singer reasoned. The band then proceed to just that, pulling out song after song of up-tempo pop rock. The orchestral instruments added a full and sweet sound to the band live performance - as did the layered vocal harmonies. Belle and Sebastian managed to mix things up playing new and old songs that would have kept fans of the band pleased. A few lucky fans even got to dance on stage near the end of the bands set. However, their style of music my have been better suited to earlier in the afternoon, to make the most of their summery sound.
- Rachel Bache
7.10pm - Hey Seuss stage: Future Islands
Future Islands owned the Hey Seuss main stage with their up tempo indie-pop Rock.
Songs like Rabbit and Seasons got the crowd moving as lead singer Samuel T. Herring ran up and down the stage - singing his soul out. He forced out the lyrics with his gritty voice, at times forming grunting screams more fitting for a death mental band.
The band's synth pop sound brought feel good vibes to Laneways evening line up. Musically the band were on form, appearing to enjoy every moment playing in New Zealand - especially, as Herring explained, having the ability to swear on stage.
- Rachel Bache
6.55pm - cactus cat stage: Banks
Californian songstress Banks tapped into some sultry synth pop On the Cactus Cat stage as the sun set over Silo Park. Dressed elegantly in black bodice, Bank's humming voice was at first drowned out by the intense bass that blasted through the speakers - but the singer fought back with beautifully blasting vocal riffs. Her singing complimented and contrasted with the dark dreamy music. The packed audience cheered as Banks danced and stalked her way across the small stage. In fact the small area was so full that security was stopping fans from coming through. The people who did make it through had their hands in the air after the first song. Banks' performance of Goddess from her debut album through some R&B in the mix and showed off just how cool the musician can be. She also slowed things down with a gentle solo rendition, accompanying herself on the piano.
- Rachel Bache
4.40pm - Mysterex Stage: Jungle
I really wanted to be front and centre for Jungle - one of my favourite bands of 2014, but the heat and the crowd defied me, and I ended up moving further back to find a breeze and a scrap of shade. It really didn't matter though - Jungle brought the party so hard that it was great to have room to break out the dance moves down the back.
Hands were well and truly in the air for the super groovy Brits, whose four-part harmonies plus fantastic drumming and percussion, catchy synth lines, and fat guitar parts create a sound like the love child of The Bee Gees and P-funk with plenty of cowbell.
The irony of listening to a band sing "I can't feel the heat" mid set wasn't lost on anybody, but everyone powered on to a surprising climax at the end of Drops, before they even knocked out their big gun tracks Busy Earnin' and Time, which are both good candidates for best song of 2014.
They were gloriously energetic, and clearly enjoying themselves, so let's hope Jungle might return to our shores sometime soon for a headlining show of their own.
- Lydia Jenkin
4.15pm - Cactus Cat stage: Rustie
Scottish EDM musician, Rustie, is a bass fiend. The DJ-producer laid down his hip-hop influenced beats at the Cactus Cat stage this afternoon. His music was laced with synth notes and elements of drum and bass that built and broke in all the right moments. It wasn't long before people swarmed and turned the Cactus Cat stage turned into a mini rave.
Rustie's music switches between a quirky, fun vibe, to hip hop tracks with darker undertones. His set was a real crowd pleaser - bringing a breath of fresh air to the indie-saturated festival. At times the music became a bass-heavy mess of sound, filled with electronic space sounds, but it all seemed to work to get bodies moving.
Despite not having any rapper accompanying him, Rustie still had the crowd going nuts with just his turn table and laptop set up.
- Rachel Bache
3.50pm - Hey Seuss Stage: Royal Blood
A sweet spot for headbangers could be found in the middle of the day: if you put on your running shoes you could see Napier instrumental prog-metallers Jakob, then dash into the Thunderdome for Iceage, and finally cap it all off with British duo Royal Blood. There's been plenty of hype around these guys, and it's easy to see why - there's barely a moment to capture your breath as they belt out one full-frontal guitar driven headrush after another. They're also a band that Laneway might have shyed away from in the past - their star has risen so quickly they'll be supporting the Foo Fighters on a world tour later this year. And there was a bit of a Big Day Out-style moshpit going for belters like Come on Over and Figure It Out, songs that combine Black Sabbath riffage with Led Zeppelin-esque howls into something their own. Unoriginal? Perhaps, but you can't deny the sheer power of sluggish highlight Better Strangers. After that, there might be some sore necks around the office tomorrow...
3.10pm - Cactus Cat Stage: Jakob
Ear plugs were essential as Napier trio Jakob plugged in, delivering gigantic walls of atmospheric noise over on the Cactus Cat Stage. Embarrassingly, this was my first time seeing them live, but it shows why Jakob have stood the test of time: they invite you into their world, rather than soundtracking yours. They're an intense band to watch live, easily making punters forget the searing sun with grinding waves of progressive melodies, working into heavier breakdowns. Their knowing smiles before their bruising latest single Blind Them With Silence was telling - Jakob have come out of an intense period of injuries and uncertainty with their best album yet, and they know it.
2.20pm - Hey Seuss stage: Courtney Barnett
I seriously wish Courtney Barnett was my best friend. The Australian singer-songwriter was effortlessly cool as she rocked out on the Hey Seuss stage, opening with the gritty History Eraser.
Barnett performed a sold out show last year at the Auckland's Kings Arms, so it was great seeing her back in New Zealand playing for a swelling main stage crowd. Drawled spoken-word singing and trippy guitar riffs got people head banging and swaying to the Australian's alt-folk sound. Barnett looked like she was having a ball shaking her hair as she shredded her left handed guitar.
- Rachel Bache
2pm - Cactus Cat Stage: Vic Mensa
With crowds swelling and temperatures rising over on the Cactus Cat stage, Vic Mensa was building up to what can only be described as a repeat of Danny Brown's electric performance at last year's Laneway Festival. The Chicago rapper didn't quite reach those heights, but there was plenty of jumping around during the bass acrobatics of early tracks Wimme Nah and Feel That. Perhaps it's because the 21-year-old only has two EPs and a well-received mixtape to his name (his debut album is due out soon), but he was forced to fill his set with guest spots (Chance the Rapper's Cocoa Butter Kisses and samples of other's songs. Still, he was having a blast, jumping into the crowd as gold glitter sprayed into the air and working as hard as he could to own his Sex Pistols T-shirt.
1pm - Hey Seuss Stage: Connan Mockasin
The first noticeable thing about Connan Mockasin and his band was their very impressive array of pants - white, black, multiple patterns, and levels of baggy-ness. They were certainly the most groovily attired act of the day so far.
The second noticeable thing was the subtle way in which the entire crowd started swinging their hips just a little bit as soon as the seven piece (which included the inimitable Liam Finn on guitar) started.
Mockasin writes songs which manage to be both fruity and seductive, and songs from his latest album Caramel are an embodiment of that title - liquid, golden, slick, and sexy.
The band's ability to speed up and slow down in such an instinctual way make for an exceptional live performance, and despite giving the impression of being very relaxed and casual (there were even three people dressed in Connan-like blonde wigs on stage, dancing around amongst the band), they're super tight.
The whole set feels like it could've been transplanted from the 70s, making you realise what it might've been like to attend Woodstock, and their madcap version of his biggest hit Forever Dolphin Love was a perfect end to the set.
The only downside is that it would've been even better to see Mr Mockasin just as the sun disappeared, and the early afternoon slot didn't quite have the sense of ceremony that Connan's rare homecoming should've.
- Lydia Jenkin
1.05pm - Cactus Cat Stage: Perfect Pussy
If you're new to the crazed antics of Perfect Pussy, you might want to avoid Googling them - especially if you're using a work phone. As just the Cactus Cat Stage's second act, the New York alt-punk quintet were up against it - a lethargic crowd, soaring temperatures and technical difficulties that saw front woman Meredith Graves' microphone cutting out throughout their first three songs. But that didn't impact her performance, belting out incendiary anthems, smashing the microphone into her chest and fighting for attention in front of the band's drummer - decked out in a beard, fluorescent speedos and little else - like those great punk gods of old. It might have been way too early for that kind of racket, but Perfect Pussy showed that if the conditions are right, they're capable of kick-starting a riot.
12.30pm - Mysterex Stage: Tiny Ruins
Miss Fullbrook looked appropriately whimsical in a beautiful white crocheted dress as she drew the crowd towards the lovely afternoon reverie she was creating with her three-piece band.
Her full band sound was warm and large, really growing to suit a festival main stage performance. Fullbrook has become such a confident vocalist, and her charming husky tones were wonderfully balanced by ace bass player Cass Basil, the light touch of drummer Alex Freer, and enhanced by the sparkling electric guitar of Tom Healey.
Tracks from her acclaimed 2014 album Brightly Painted One like Straw Into Gold and The Ballad of a Hanging Parcel had a perfect early afternoon dreaminess, which had hundreds gently nodding along. Fullbrook is one of our most consummate local performers, and her set today shined with the experience of many months of touring internationally in 2014.
- Lydia Jenkin
12.10pm - The Cactus Cat Stage: Princess Chelsea
One of the first acts kicking off this year's Laneway was Princess Chelsea. Festival punters filled up the shady patch of grass, escaping the midday heat, as the Auckland singer opened up the Cactus Cat stage for the day. Backed by her band, Chelsea's slow ethereal voice echoed through her opening song and into the synth-heavy single No Church On Sunday, which drew the crowd to her like a siren.
Princess Chelsea was adorable in every sense of the word - she was like Lena Dunham hosting a kitten kissing contest. Dressed in matching floral singlet and shorts, with a triangle hung on the end of a pearl necklace, Chelsea swanned across the stage, swaying her arms, jutting her hips and hitting the keys of her xylophone.
People got moving to the upbeat Monkey Eats Bananas and duet Cigarette, though the majority of Princess Chelsea's set was sweetly solemn. Chelsea also previewed tracks from her upcoming album, filling the area with the sound of alternative magic.
- Rachel Bache
12pm - Hey Seuss Stage: Bespin
Being the opening act on a festival main stage is always a bit of a tricky task, but recently formed Auckland act Bespin had the full attention of the rapidly forming crowd as they introduced Auckland to their hypnotic U2-crossed-with-Tame Impala sound.
These four guys, lead by Jonothan Lee have done their time playing in a variety of well-loved indie bands like Cool Rainbows and Cut Off Your Hands, but it seems like Bespin might be the combo that really takes off for them.
With Lee sounding like a grungier version of Bono mixed with The War On Drugs' Adam Granduciel, and some brilliant psychedelic guitar sounds, their laid-back five minute songs built up into a wicked wall of noise, and by the time they finished, it was clear they were having a great time. It's always good to see smiles on the faces of Laneway performers - more please!
Drummer Alex Freer then raced across to join Tiny Ruins on the Mysterex stage, easily switching styles from propulsive hard hitting rock to the gentler folkie lope of Hollie Fullbrook's beguiling compositions.
- Lydia Jenkin