It was a remarkable effort by the organisers to get the entire festival under cover â€“ however, as to be expected, there were a few â€˜hiccupsâ€™ along the way.
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One very big one was having headliners M83 hit the stage 50 minutes late to play a shortened set thanks to â€˜technical difficultiesâ€™ and a noise curfew. But to their credit, when the band did finally emerge apologetically, they put on a crisp, high-energy performance that proved worth the wait. If playing breakout hit â€˜Midnight Cityâ€™ early on in the set was a peace offering, it was lapped up fully by the crowd who had all (fairly) patiently waited around.
Earlier in the day, things also didnâ€™t start too well with sound problems inflicting Yuckâ€™s performance at the EYOE & Young Turks stage. While the band aim for a washed-out vibe, unfortunately the UK bandâ€™s sound was just too muddy to fully enjoy their â€˜90s revivalist indie rock offerings. Tracks like â€˜Get Awayâ€™ which should have rang out clean instead sounded like it was coming from the house next door. However, they did enough to warrant seeing them at their own show.
The surprise packet for the day, Canadian band Austra, showed you can mix serious music with fun. Dressed in costumes that evoked Aladdin and his lamp, the genie up their sleeve was the remarkable voice of frontwoman Katie Stelmanis. Like many bands of their ilk, they owe a debt of gratitude to Kate Bush, but have managed to carve out their own style of dark electro pop.
One of the heavier acts on the bill, Brisbane duo DZ Deathrays had a simple mission â€“ to play their tracks loud and fast. Their â€˜thrash popâ€™ live assault was a distinct counterpoint to the sunshine-soaked pop sounds of many of the other acts on the day.
Who would have thought to blend together choral-trained vocals, harp accompaniment and a laptop? With Active Child, the mix works remarkably well. While a more intimate setting might suit their atmospheric music better, there were no complaints from the crowd when single â€˜Hanging Onâ€™ was played.
While his debut album â€˜Forgetâ€™ was a study in subtle changes and shadings of light and dark, at Laneway Florida-based George Lewis Jnr and his band were happy to play rock starts. Unfortunately he was scheduled against Feist, meaning a lot of people missed out on what was a hands down highlight of the festival. Announcing the imminent arrival of a new record by playing a few new tracks, it was the older songs that shone, and â€˜Castles In The Snowâ€™ was nothing short of epic.
In the weeks leading to St Jeromeâ€™s Laneway Festival, promoters pledged more undercover areas and shade to combat the â€˜Brisvegas heatâ€™ that plagued last yearâ€™s event. But as the poncho procession made their way down Alexandra St last Saturday, it was clear that scorching summer heat would be the least of everyoneâ€™s problems.
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One of few Australian acts to take to The Windish Agency Stage, or any stage for that matter, were Perth darlings The Panics. Opening with â€˜One Way Streetâ€™, frontman Jae Laffer proudly announced: â€œThis is my first time playing electric guitar on stageâ€. It would seem Laffer was determined to make up for lost time; playing the Gretsch electric exclusively until retiring to the keys for â€˜Donâ€™t Fight Itâ€™.
Englandâ€™s Laura Marling treated loyal fans, and a number of wet weather stragglers, to a regretfully short, but unmistakably sweet eight-song set. â€˜Ghostsâ€™ was always going to be a crowd favourite, but â€˜Sophiaâ€™ and â€˜Rambling Manâ€™ also stood up in a live setting.
Leslie Feist took it upon herself to educate her audience (repeatedly) as to what year it was: â€œItâ€™s 2012. Check your calendars!â€ Why, thank you Feist. Maybe all the audio feedback finally got to her headâ€¦ New album â€˜Metalsâ€™ was well represented throughout the set, with highlights including â€˜How Come You Never Go Thereâ€™, â€˜The Bad In Each Otherâ€™ and â€˜Comfort Meâ€™. The set closed with a rock-ready, and mildly disturbing, rendition of â€˜I Feel It Allâ€™, which included a gospel-style rant, laced with arbitrary expletives.
From Feist to The Horrors, â€˜sound issuesâ€™ continued well into the night, but perhaps the hardest hit was M-L8-3 (sorry, M83). Yes, there were ridiculous delays (50 minutes, to be exact). Yes, the set was cut short. But all things considered, Anthony Gonzalez and co. put on one hell of a show.