Monday, December 05, 2011

Homebake Festival 2011's Editor went to Homebake Festival in Sydney and realised that he is a grumpy old man. Here's why: 

It started with a vomiting pumpkin...

Australian festivals are a strange thing. Considering the wonderful weather in this country, there aren't very many camping events, meaning that often festivals are staged in a single day. Therefore, punters take the opportunity to get as fucked up as possible, as quickly as possible. No time to waste. It's like watching three days of Reading footage on fast-forward. And so, in that context, we return to the pumpkin. As I entered the site, I saw two girls dressed as pumpkins, walking side by side. One stopped dead in her tracks and proceeded to projectile puke pretty much everywhere. It was like something out of The Exorcist, had The Exorcist been set in Sydney's Domain on a beautifully sunny summer's afternoon. She wiped her mouth, laughed and carried on with her day. It was 1.50pm. The tone, rather perfectly, had been set.

As the awful 360 proved just how awful Aussie hip-hop can be, I took a wander round the site and remembered that men who wear thongs (flip-flops - English Translation Ed) to festivals annoy the shit out of me almost as much as girls who wear those high-waisted denim cut-offs from which 40 percent of their arse hangs out. It's not a good look, ladies. Not a good look.

Anyway, to the music. Well, The Vines played but no-one really cared because it's no longer 2004. Meanwhile Unknown Mortal Orchestra (good name, by the way) rocked the Rowland S Howard Stage and were followed by the equally excellent Big Scary and  Noah Taylor & The Sloppy Boys.


Next up, technical difficulties meant that Kimbra (above) started 20 minutes late on the Dome Stage. Looking A-fucking-MAY-ZING in red she played a very short set which ended with the brilliant Cameo Lover. Her vocal was perhaps a little low in the mix and the fact that the sound was bleeding - or, in fact, hemorrhaging - from the main stage was pretty annoying. No-one wants to hear Drapht (more fucking Aussie hip-hop) at the best of times, let alone when they're trying to enjoy the soul/disco/pop of Kimbra.

There were irritating sound issues throughout the day. PNAU could be heard over The Triffids, even when standing about ten foot from the stage on which The Triffids were playing, while Gotye's eclectic, imaginative set was somewhat spoilt by horrible, bassy, muddy sound. Still, by that time, many of the crowd were too mashed to care. The girl in front of me at Gotye was the most gurnful individual I have ever seen. Goodness knows how many drugs she had taken but I suspect the answer to have been "lots of drugs." She was gurning so hard that, at one stage, she seemed in danger of swallowing her own head.

Mashed punters and bad sound aside, there were some outstanding moments at Homebake 2011. The Jezabels proved why they have become so popular, so quickly, with a stunning performance. Brilliantly named singer Hayley Mary has something of the Kate Bush about her in terms of her vocal and the band's pop songs were powerful and engaging. Elsewhere, Papa vs Pretty were great, our old mate Ladyhawke played to a full tent, after which Cut Copy had the crowd going mental with their tightly wound indie/dance stuff that let loose at all the right moments. A bit Icehouse, a bit New Order, a lot brilliant, they were the festival's late highlight and certainly worth missing the start of Grinderman for.

Ah, Grinderman. How I should love thee. Nick Cave. Tick. Warren Ellis. Tick. Dirty as fuck songs dripping in sex and grubbiness. Tick. So, why then, when watching them close Homebake 2011 under a clear purple sky, was I constantly thinking "I wish I were watching Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds."? I guess because I wished I were watching Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. A certain female vocalist who shall remain nameless told in the safety of the VIP area that she wasn't staying for their set because it is "mid-life crisis music." Which is actually a brutally fair assessment. Still, mid-life crisis or not, it was still awesome to see Cave hacking at a guitar and Ellis utilising more pedals than you could shake a stick at. But, as a band, they seem to equal less than the sum of their parts. Put it this way, I've never wanted to hear Stagger Lee more in my life than I did at 10.45pm on Saturday.

So, a mixed bag then. Some great performances, some bad sound, some beautiful weather and a vomiting pumpkin. A pretty fair representation of your typical Australian one-day festival.

Review and shitty iPhone pics by Bobby Townsend


Anonymous said...

pretty shit review... :(

Bobby Six said...

Thanks. I love you too.

Anonymous said...

They REALLY need to fix the sound issues at Homebake.
Gotye also started about 20 mins late (which meant I got to see all of Icehouse who were surprisingly good) and then when he did start you could hardly hear him. Too much sounds from other stages was a disappointment.
All in all, a good day though!!