For what was a pretty shit year politically and globally (aside from the recent yes vote, hooray) it’s nothing a Meredith session can’t cure.
Running for the 27th year, everybody’s fave festival returned to the Sup’ for a weekend of boot-raising, drink-downing and token-stashing. Ultimately, it serves as a chance to escape what may be in the real world and connect through music and soggy couches.
I’m going to start off this review by saying I missed Amyl and the Sniffers due to another music event. Yes, I hate myself too. So pile it on. But from all accounts, I heard it was a pretty fucking amazing time. Aldous Harding proved to be the perfect thing to soothe my soul from missing AATS. The woman dressed all in white that silenced the swelling crowd in the Sup’. Granted, we are one of the kinder crowds, but her talent, connectedness and ability to penetrate the souls of the thousands of onlookers would be appreciated even at the boozed-up versions of other summer festivals. Bless you Aldous. When she sung ‘Imagining My Man’ that was easily a highlight of the 40-minute set.
ESG may not have possessed the kind of mesmerizing qualities Aldous Harding exhibited, but they did lift the crowd with their distinct brand of blues-funk-infected hip hop from the ‘80s. Total Control on the other hand served as a weekend highlight. The Melbourne post-punk group clambered across the stage, with Dan Stewart showing he and his band deserve the label ‘punk’. Things were a bit slow in the first half, but once ‘Luxury Vacuum’ rolled around things continued on the enjoyably manic ride it was destined for.
With mixed accounts in general for live performances, Warpaint have long been a band I’ve wanted to see on stage. Unfortunately the dynamic just didn’t live up to the energy needed for a festival set and failed to penetrate quite like Aldous Harding’s set. A pleasant surprise came with Big Thief on Saturday morning. With my body in shutdown mode, the depth of story telling in each track proved as the ultimate distraction. Paired with some nice vocals too of course. Look up ‘Pretty Things’ and add it to your Spotify/iPod/what-have-you.
I’m not sure if there is even such a thing as a boot-tallier at Meredith, but the momentous ‘That’s All’ during RVG’s set was surely close to achieving some sort of record – and the joy beamed from the band in that moment reflected their success and then some. The soul shone through in John Teskey (of the Teskey Brothers) vocals as the band soothed the crowd. The set served as a reflection for what the band have experienced this year: a pretty fucking great time. With a name like Noname, that’s enough to get me to retreat from the comfort of our well-planned camp. While eating my Mr Jerry’s burger (note: get it with sweet chilli and satay for the ultimate experience), her set featured plenty of sing-song rap, hints of neo soul and the idea of the influence she’s had over fellow emerging rappers in the scene. ‘On the Low’ and ‘Sunny Duet’ were highlights during the set.
Miss Blanks, where have you been all my life? Is a thought I’m sure many Meredith-goers had during, after and much later in the night following her set. As Miss Blanks rapped over club beats it seemed the audience shrunk a few inches, sexually grinding the air that floated above Meredith’s fine grassy fields. ‘Skinny Bitches’ closed the set, for those who hadn’t already run back to their tents to further enjoy the moment.
All you need to remember from Mark Seymour and the Undertow’s set was the utter magic that came from ‘Throw Your Arms Around Me’. Festival goers threw their can-occupied hands around each other’s shoulders, forming circles around circles of people as they belted out “You will throw your arms around me”. In that moment the show was taken from the stage and put in the hands of the thousands filling the Sup’. Following that blissful moment, Future Islands didn’t hold my attention. I didn’t and still don’t get it.
All in all, Meredith was another weekend of discovery, egg and bacon sandwiches that feel like the best you’ve ever had and overall a dickhead-less experience. See you next time.
Highlight: The serious love-fest during Mark Seymour and the Undertow’s set. If you were there, you know the moment (or you know, just read above).
Regret: 2017 served as yet another year where I didn’t venture to the Ecoplex. Fags in the Fastlane would have been an absolute pearler too. *Let’s not talk about missing Amyl and the Sniffers.
1. Miss Blanks/RVG
2. Aldous Harding
3. Total Control
December 8-10, Meredith Supernatural Amphitheatre
Reviewed and photographed by Amanda Sherring