Right, let's make one thing clear before we start. If you're expecting a snobbish rant about the people who attend Australian music festivals, a la my Homebake diatribe last month, you're gonna be disappointed. Sorry.
Sure, there were the shirtless wonders in attendance, flexing their sizeable muscles, and there were girls with their arses falling out of the bottom of their tiny shorts, but the vibe of Sydney's Field Day was refreshingly chilled and the aggression that you will often experience at other one-dayers was joyful in its absence. Admittedly, many of the crowd looked like they belonged at that awful outdoor gym at Bondi Beach, but they were friendly enough to have come straight from an episode of Father Ted.
Maybe everyone was hungover/on pills/both but, regardless, as I wandered the sun-drenched festival site (ruing my decision to wear jeans and astounded by the fact that I had just paid $6 for a bottle of water), people were notably smiley and chatty. I actually made a few new friends. And anyone who knows me will tell you, I generally dislike people.
And so, amid a lovely atmosphere, a bunch of worldwide musical talent set about starting 2012 with a bang. Cloud Control were an early highlight, with their lovely-as-ever indie-pop. What a fine band they are. Soon after, Gotye - seemingly making his 2,467th festival appearance of the summer - played to a huge crowd. Despite its familiarity, Somebody That I Used To Know remains a brilliant song, and the crowd filling in for Kimbra made for one of those really special festival moments. The overall sound in his set (aside from a glitch at the end) was a zillion times better than at Homebake too. The best performance of the afternoon, though, certainly came from Metronomy (pictured below). With their infectious electro/guitar pop and their charming demeanour, they are surely the perfect band for a sunny afternoon. Radio Ladio, with its singalong chorus of "R-A. D-I. OHHHHHHHHH," is a belting way to end a set too.
As the sun set, the massively overrated Crystal Castles were typically uninspiring. Sleigh Bells are hardly the best band in the world, but, for my money, they piss all over this too-cool-for-school duo. Still, there was always excellent DJ Anna Lunoe to enjoy on one of the other stages instead.
Headliners Justice ended the festival. Bobbysix.com is reviewing their Melbourne sideshow later this week so I won't go into too much detail here, but let's just say that their light show was hugely impressive and, no matter how many times they play it, D.A.N.C.E. sounds fucking brilliant.
And so, as the night sky smothered The Domain and the temperature dropped considerably, even the most chiselled of blokes pulled on their singlets (I was now pretty happy to be wearing long pants) and boogied to some French electro. What an excellent way to ring in the New Year.
Review by Bobby Townsend.