St Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Sydney: LIVE review

As I strolled through the entrance of St Jerome’s Laneway festival in Sydney, I was instantly impressed. Set in Sydney’s college of the arts in Rozelle, the venue was a devastatingly beautiful and unique choice, and certainly different to any music festival venue I’d set foot in before.

It was mid-afternoon, and as we twirled past hordes of impressively fashionable groups of girls (and guys too actually) and aging sandstone buildings, we soon managed to squeeze our way towards the front of the Park Stage to catch our first set of the day; Australian duo Big Scary. I hadn’t heard of the pair before but I soon became drawn in by their chilled out tunes, swaying in time slowly with the masses under the scorching hot summer sun, taking a particular liking to the smooth and slow ‘Thinking about you’ and ‘Twin rivers’.

Next we moved towards the Future Classic Stage to catch talented multi-instrumentalist Japanese Wallpaper, whose name I was very much fond of. Once again, I was captivated. Paired with stunning vocals from singer-songwriter Airling, his enchanting melody ‘Forces’ rippled through the crowd, sounding ever-more delightful teamed with the crowd’s enthusiastic singing.

Soon it was back to the Park stage for something slightly more upbeat in the form of Australian hip-hop duo Hermitude, and upbeat is certainly what we got. The crowds had stretched pretty far back, so perched slightly on a hill we were soon jumping around messily, drenched in sweat, to the likes of the extremely catchy ‘Speak of the devil’ and ‘Searchlight’. Lots of fun was had indeed.

With a two hour gap until Scottish electronic band Chvrches (who I’d been most eager to see) were taking to the Garden stage, we took the opportunity to feed and water ourselves with burgers and plenty of cider. Yum. And with 20 minutes left before the big entrance, somehow we luckily managed to cram our way to the front.

The lovely Lauren Mayberry, Chvrches lead vocalist, soon bounded onto the stage, instantly enthralling the bounds of fans with ‘Never ending circle’, the first track on their latest album, proving to be a fantastic introduction. Mixed in with some witty banter from Lauren, the trio set the stage alight playing tunes from both their albums, Every Open Eye and The Bones of What You Believe. This included the likes of some older picks such as ‘Gun’, ‘We Sink’ and my personal favourite, ‘Recover’, along with fresher stuff such as ‘Leave a trace’ and ‘Clearest blue’. They concluded with a bouncy track everyone would recognise; hit single ‘The Mother We Share’. I was impressed!

With limited time, we snuck off to the Mistletone Stage to catch the end of dream-pop duo Beach House’s set. We were soon spellbound by their mystical-sounding hit ‘Myth’ as their set came to a close. Well, one song was better than nothing, and it was definitely a good ‘un!

It was completely dark by the time we head off to catch our last set of the day, Scottish electronic music producer Hudson Mohawke, back at the Future Classic Stage. By the time we’d arrived, there were tons of groups sitting cross-legged on the ground, most completely drunk from their day out at the festival. Yet soon we were up on our feet again, treated to what was perhaps the most energetic set of the night. As the crowds bopped frantically to the beat along to the likes of hit ‘Chimes’, with the elevated highs and dramatic drops, I couldn’t help but lose myself in the music. It was the perfect way to end a fantastically unique festival.

Photo credits: 

Daniel Boud (images 1 & 3)

Jacquie Manning (image 2)

Parklife 2015 Review

On June 6 and 7, 80,000 people descended on Heaton Park for Parklife 2015, indulging in headline sets from Disclosure on Saturday and Rudimental on Sunday, while Hudson Mohawke, Todd Terje, Jamie XX and the weekend’s highlight, FKA twigs, had Summer Festival Guide darting from stage to stage.


Saturday belongs to Jamie XX. Throughout a perfectly-crafted set, 'Girl', 'Gosh' and 'Sleep Sound', along with the soon-to-be defining track of the summer festival season, 'Loud Places', and older percussive house gem 'Far Nearer' pack the Now Wave tent – one overexcited reveler climbing the tent's rigging, becoming barely visible, to an eruption of cheers as he carefully eases back down.

Earlier, in the Big Top, Everything Everything – dressed in matching red suits – belt through new material, their current single 'Regret' achieving anthemic status.

Disclosure's graduation to main stage headliners comes with a plethora of new material from their imminent second album, 'Caracal', along with a host of upcoming vocal talents. 'White Noise', 'F For you' and 'You & Me' gain as incredible a response as expected, but it's Guy and Howard’s newest creations which stand out, as the Lawrence brothers tease, "Parklife, we've got some surprises for you". Lion Babe's leading lady Jillian Hervey – with the longest legs and wildest hair SFG HAs ever seen – comes first, her R&B-orientated vocals perfectly complimenting the slinky synths of an as-yet-unnamed track as she struts across the stage in arm-length silver gloves and nearly knee-high black boots. London-based future R&B vocalist Nao soon follows, her vocals and onstage presence similar to Aluna Francis, before Kwabs’ soulful tones command the crowd from a raised platform throughout two untitled tracks. The arrival of American jazz legend Gregory Porter for an on-point rendition of current single and collab ‘Holding On’ mesmerises the mainly young crowd with his unparalleled ability to hold a note, fusing two musical worlds seamlessly. After a brief stage leave, ‘Help Me Lose My Mind’ and ‘Latch’ – the latter is dedicated to Sam Smith who’s just recovered from vocal surgery – sees friends on shoulders in a moment of hysteria.

Bidding farewell for the evening, the flocks of thousands head for the shuttle bus appropriately chanting the lyrics to Blur's ‘Parklife’.


As SFG arrive on Sunday, Ella Eyre is playing to a massive crowd to the main stage despite her early afternoon set placement, launching herself across the stage in a leopard print leotard, belting out 'Deeper' and 'If I Go' along her energetic way.

Later, Labrinth arrives – suit and shades on – blasting through his synth-heavy chart hits 'Earthquake', 'Pass Out' and Sigma-collaboration 'Higher', the latter emptying everyone's lungs.

Meanwhile, in an equally busy Resident Advisor tent, Jimmy Edgar and Machinedrum – together they're known as J.E.T.S – pump out thumping techno as green inflatable aliens and neon balloons are slung around in the air; Ben UFO's back-to-back set with Pearson Sound continuing the bass-heavy electronic onslaught.

Oliver Dollar's back-to-back with Jesse Rose proves an early evening highlight, opting for Dirtybird's booty-house with Claude VonStroke's 'Make A Cake', assuring an up-tempo energy from the off.

Over at the MK Area 10 stage, Ben Pearce – of 'What I Might Do' fame – drops a housier edit of Take That's 'Relight My Fire', completely unexpectedly.

Later, in the Big Top, James Bay proves himself as having the potential to command the main stage in a year’s time; 'Let It Go' and 'Best Fake Smile's infectious chorus inducing a sense of euphoria.

US-based Sango, sporting a Manchester City sports jacket, opens the Kaytranada stage on Sunday with hip-hop and trap-influenced bubbling synths and bass beats in a tucked away Greek coliseum-like vicinity; even the security guards are bouncing along as they make their way through the crowd amidst a sparse edit of Skepta's ‘That's Not Me’ and a Cashmere Cat-sounding remix of Drake's ‘Through The 6’.

Chet Faker, sporting a topknot for the occasion, packs the Sounds of the Near Future stage with his synth-laden sound. Alone at first, he intricately and passionately delivers electronic instrumentals, before he’s joined by a guitarist and drummer. Encouraging us to "use those muscles" before ‘No Diggity’, a sea of phones are hoisted to record the cover, as everyone’s vocal muscles flex while singing along to ‘Drop The Game’.

Bristol duo Blonde meanwhile pack the Drop The Mustard stage with their summery house anthems ‘Foolish’, ‘All Cried Out' and ‘I Loved You’ as part of a new live show, wheeling out guest vocalists – expect them to be as big as Disclosure this time next year.

Todd Terje, with his live band The Olsens, who alternate between saxophone, flute, bongo drum, guitar and keyboard, build into their funky set with zooming laser synths, though it does take a while for the crowd to warm to the sounds. ‘Delorean Dynamite’ and set closer ‘Inspector Norse’ soon get them moving though, as the funky bass line kicks in; one Terje fan who’s celebrating a birthday screams “this is the best day of my life” while his friend, clearly intoxicated, jokes, “is this Lady GaGa?”

Jungle's well-deserved transition to the main stage sees them play to a massive crowd, the summery weather perfect for their almost 70s sound as the seven-piece perform their biggest hits, ‘Julia’ and ‘The Heat’ just as the sun beams down.  

Back in the Sounds of the Near Future tent, Hudson Mohawke walks onstage with a new live set up, bringing out Redinho on keyboards and Two Door Cinema Club’s Ben Thomas on drums. Drawing on material from his new album ‘Lantern’ and his and Lunice’s collaborative project, TNGHT’s biggest hits, intense bass and red strobes match the maximalist electronica of ‘Acrylics’ and ‘Higher Ground’, sending the crowd into mass hysteria.

An hour later, FKA twigs, visible only through a cloud of smoke, leaves thousands in awe, as her hauntingly ethereal performance remains compelling from start to finish. Easily the largest crowd of the day, there’s a ritualistic sense to her set as she flows through her debut album ‘LP1’ and new material from her imminent third EP, ‘Melissa’. With an incredible vocal from the off, twigs, dressed in double denim with her hair to one side, is joined by a three-piece band who delicately tap their synth pads respectively, producing the intense, almost apocalyptic trip-hop beats of ‘Water Me’, ‘Number’ and ‘Papi Pacify’. How she was once only Jessie J's backing dancer is unbelievable for her unique talent as a vocalist, dancer and performer. Effortlessly charismatic, the entire crowd’s eyes are transfixed on her throughout the hour set as she reaches vocal notes you didn't know existed, all whilst popping her body around the stage. Removing the denim jacket to show off her toned body in a stripped white top, her enigmatic presence is made even more likeable when she speaks, sweetly and humbly. "It’s great to be back in England,” she delights, “I just got back a week ago.” Closing with a faultless rendition of ‘Two Weeks’ and then ‘How’s That’, it’s evident that the summer festival season belongs to FKA Twigs.

Bestival’s Temple Island Lineup Announced and DJ Competition!

A beacon of bacchanalia in a wonderland of ludicrously good times, our very own church of dance, Temple Island, is set to return with a litany of big guns to add even more passion to Bestival’s Summer of Love. Curated by The Physical Network and now a firm Bestival fixture among over 25 stages, revolutionary soundsystems and psychedelic woodland-based adventures, Temple Island will be taking all-out partying to epic proportions this September 10-13 at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight.















A beacon of bacchanalia in a wonderland of ludicrously good times, our very own church of dance, Temple Island, is set to return with a litany of big guns to add even more passion to Bestival’s Summer of Love. Curated by The Physical Network and now a firm Bestival fixture among over 25 stages, revolutionary soundsystems and psychedelic woodland-based adventures, Temple Island will be taking all-out partying to epic proportions this September 10-13 at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight.

Bestival’s principal dancer Rob da Bank says: “Bestival people! Man, I am so excited about the centre of our rave universe, Temple Island, and its line-up for 2015. Last year Temple Island, with its tiered stadium party vibe, was non-stop from Thursday till Sunday night, and one of my favourite places to hang out and get lost in my little pockets of downtime!

This year I’m confident we’ve pulled some mega guests out the bag, from the mighty Hudson Mohawke to the incredible Madlib kicking it off on Thursday, chart botherers Disciples, Philip George and Alex Adair, plus our hardcore Friday night extravaganza, some vintage sounds from Sherwood & Pinch, and new blood Kurupt FM and B Traits, to name but a few. In fact, I can’t see a duff act within 100 decibels of that stage. Tops off, whistles out and get ready to rave… Temple Island-style…”

Temple Island curator and director of The Physical Network, Liam Negus-Fancey says: “This is Temple Island’s third year at Bestival, and this year we’ll be back where we were in 2014, continuing to build on the massive success of the stage. As always our line-up is focused on what the ambassadors want. And this year, Robby and I, and all of Bestival’s ambassadors will be selecting an up-and-coming DJ to join our amazing line-up. So please sign up for this once in a lifetime chance”

Getting it on from the get-go, Thursday will see hip-hop hero Madlib dropping the knowledge, and, transplanted from their Notting Hill Arts Club home, Juicebox presents underground house genius Jonas Rathsman, Ejeca, SG Lewis, Joe Hertz & Juicebox DJs, plus we’ll have a set from firing house duo 99 Souls to boot!

Friday‘s dancefloor spanking action comes from Philip George, producer of chart-smashing hit Wish You Were Mine, with sets from bass explorers Disciples, plus TCTS, Shadow Child and Alex Adair. There might just be a whiff of the old vaporub in the air, too, as World of Rave & Music Mondays Presents: Altern-8, Liquid, Rat Pack, Baby D, Kaotic Chemistry, Slipmatt, Billy Bunter and Uncle Dugs. And we’ll have escapism through live melody, courtesy of Idiot Savant.

Genre-swerving production powerhouse and seasoned floor destroyer Hudson Mohawke heads up Saturday’s DJ business, with sets from drum n bassers DC Breaks and legendary beats purveyor Zinc, who will be performing a very special ‘Trust Me I Was There’ set. Plus there will be appearances from Novelist, Sherwood & Pinch, Klose One, Kurupt FM, Fono Barely Legal and Josey Rebelle.

Rinsing every last drop of love the weekend has to give, Sunday will see Digital Soundboy’s leading lady B.Traits taking things higher with help from Paranoid London, and Moxie. While Hypercolour presents: Dense & Pika, Luke Vibert, Tom Demac, DMX Krew, 2 Bad Mice, A Sagittariun, & Cedric Maison, plus we’ll have house & garage action from David Dabieh.

We’re also giving one up-and-coming DJ the chance to play on one of Bestival’s busiest stages with our momentous Temple Island DJ Competition! All you need to do to win a coveted slot on the stage is upload your finest floor-filling DJ mix (no more than 30 mins) to your Soundcloud/Mixcloud/YouTube channel and submit the link along with your name, age and location at Bestival curator Rob da Bank and The Physical Network’s Liam Negus-Fancey will select their favourite 10 mixes, and then our Bestival Ambassadors will vote for the winning mix! An unmissable epicentre of saturnalia, Temple Island will transport you to new and euphoric dimensions of love for the party. Don’t miss it.

And, speaking of parties, we’re delighted to be able to announce that we have three new names to add to The Port’s insane line-up. All part of Annie Mac Presents’ historic Masters & Makers back to back sessions, we’re super-excited that techno genius Daniel Avery will be going up against his Phantasy label boss Erol Alkan, and Radio 1 resident Heidi will take on dancefloor destroyer Tom Trago, guaranteeing next level hands in the air action at our land-locked labour of love.

Bat For Lashes and more added to Flow Festival lineup

One of the most admired songwriters of her generation, Bat For Lashes, is added to the Flow Festival’s lineup. The British Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes released her eagerly waited third album, The Haunted Man, last autumn. It is further proof of Khan's unerring ability to create a consistent masterpiece out of unique pop songs – one of them was the single Laura, one of 2012's most praised songs. The artist is known for her intense gigs, so expectations are high for her Flow performance.

Other additions to this summer's Flow are Californian Julia Holter, whose experimental pop has astounded audiences and critics and Scottish top producer and DJ Hudson Mohawke. The program also saw additions from the domestic scene with psychedelic garage rock band Black Lizard, Jaakko Eino Kalevi's bright and vibrant electro, and one of the most recent success stories of the Finnish indie scene, Aino Venna.

Flow Festival is also launching its new Magazine section online. The publication breaks the boundaries of traditional festival websites and also features content loosely related to the festival. There will be fresh insights on Flow artists and their music, texts on general cultural phenomena as well as reports on how the festival is coming together and Flow's ten-year history.