Groovin' the Moo
5 May 2012, Prince of Wales Showgrounds, Bendigo.
Groovin’ the Moo’s legacy of terrible weather appeared to be continuing from the outset of its first 2012 leg in Bendigo. Grey skies loomed over the 15,000-capacity crowd at the Prince of Wales Showgrounds, where the audience were ready for a day filled to the brim with quality national and international bands and musical acts.
Teenage girls began to swoon as ex-Australian Idol contestant Matt Corby graced the Channel V stage. Having broken through Australian charts with his most recent EP, Into the Flame, soaring through the charts on the back of lead single "Brother", his performance garnered high expectations from this reporter. Needless to say, he fulfilled all my preconceptions, particularly with his more Hendrix-esque guitar work and bluesy rock.
Next to take to the stage were English indie prodigies the Maccabees, who made their Australian live debut at the festival. Their latest record, Given to the Wild, received broad acclaim from a vast number of music magazines worldwide. Their sound was as complex as it appears on the record and it was a pleasure to see a band who can live up to their recorded complexity.
Heading over to the Moolin Rouge I caught an act I had not really given much thought to in previous years - in retrospect I wish I had. Mutemath are a force to be reckoned with, both in sound and live performance. Frontman Paul Meading threw himself across the stage and onto the piano, showing what it really takes to be a rock star in all senses of the word. There were too many show-stopping moments to mention, from Meading throwing a mattress onto the crowd and literally surfing around the tent, to the drummer handing drums to the crowd to assist him with playing his line.
Wandering back to the outside stages I found myself caught up in a Parkway Drive pit of destruction and death. The music, needless to say, was the kind that rejected anyone who wasn’t ten feet tall, more muscular than Arnold Schwarzenegger and at least eighty percent tattooed.
Then it was time for replacement act Ball Park Music to take to the stage. Having replaced Chiddy Bang on the lineup at the last minute, the band rocked through most of the tracks from their debut LP Happiness and Surrounding Suburbs. Definite highlights were heard in piano-driven rocker "Literally Baby", the self-loathing "Sad Rude Future Dude" and classic feel-good pop hit "It’s Nice To Be Alive".
The swooning ladies of Groovin’ the Moo returned in full force as City and Colour took to the stage. His brand of slow, acoustic soundscaping captured the audience and brought the screams heard for Matt Corby back to the forefront. His set remained similar to the one seen at the Palais earlier that week, and also at his guerilla gig in Melbourne Central. The only thing that detracted from the set was the soundcheck of a certain hip-hop act on a neighboring stage occurring through the softer songs of the set.
Hip-hop legends Public Enemy were out on their 25 year anniversary tour and did us the unfortunate favour of stopping by Groovin' the Moo. Who gave these people microphones? Why were they allowed to rap? Why didn’t people get them off stage? These were the questions going through my mind as I heard the ramblings and awful musicianship on the Triple J stage. Public Enemy has quite easily become my musical enemy.
Kimbra burst onto the stage straight afterwards and cleansed the tainted musical aura that Public Enemy left behind them. Her colourful costumes and jazz-pop vocals sent me into a spin as per usual. Those who read my Big Day Out review will be aware of my opinions of her. Her set was longer this time and included surprise new track "Warrior" (the live debut of that track, in fact), a track that she recorded with Mark Foster of Foster the People.
Having seen the disaster that was Public Enemy, when the second rap act, Hilltop Hoods, came onto the stage, I was pleasantly surprised. Their backing band were exceptional and played fantastic renditions of hits such as "The Nosebleed Section" and "Chase That Feeling".
Finally the band I had been waiting for all day was set to come on stage after a day of both great music and terrible tunes. Leeds boys Kaiser Chiefs burst onto the stage with extreme energy. They played a slew of hits spanning their entire career. Opening with "Every Day I Love You Less and Less", they moved into "Never Miss A Beat" and "I Predict a Riot" before heading into new hits "Little Shocks" and "On The Run". The highlight of the set involved Ricky Wilson climbing into the slingshot ride next to the stage and singing the whole of a song whilst skyrocketing at a huge speed.
When all was said and done, aside from the aberration of Public Enemy, the day was a huge success. Groovin’ the Moo has once again fulfilled its mission: bringing quality music to regional areas. See you next year!
3 and a half out of 5.
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