So before I get into describing the ethereal experience that was Golden Plains, I want to give a quick shout-out to all my bitch-ass friends that decided to go to Pitch over Plains this year. I won’t name names (Xu, Tyson and Jake), but, you guys all well and truly missed out.
So alas, for the first time ever, I was heading to Plains as a lone ranger. With that in mind I also want to give a quick thank you to Dez and Dare; the lovely Plains veterans who adopted me into their campsite this year – it was an absolute pleasure to be camping within the revered white picket fence.
Now to the music, because after all, Plains is a ‘multi-dimensional musical vortex’ and the tunes are what it’s all about.
Californian based garage rockers Shannon & The Clams opened up the weekend with their unique brand of beachy-blues that was slightly reminiscent of acts such as The B-52’s. With impressive time signatures (specific mention to their drummer), groovy tunes and apricot suits; they were the perfect opener. Their set was drawn to a close with their impressive cover of Jefferson Airplane’s ‘White Rabbit’ which certainly acted as a prophetic indication of most punters weekend.
Every year there is an act I’ve never heard of who end up blowing my mind. This year it was Raw Humps. Think heavy psych funk in a similar vein of The Seven Up’s and Fat Freddy’s Drop. I don’t even want to describe their sound because I’m not sure I’ll do them complete justice. So suss them out and decide for yourself, because I thought they were bloody unreal.
I first encountered Marlon Williams a few years back on a film set in Melbourne. Since that day I have monitored the New Zealander’s career very closely and it’s so incredible to see how far his popularity has now spanned. I also think that any promoter reading this should keep in mind that Marlon Williams should exclusively play sunset shows because it was honestly magical hearing his soaring voice tear through tracks such as ‘What’s Chasing You?’, ‘Can I Call You?’, ‘Dark Child’ and ‘Party Boy’ with a picturesque orange skyline in the background. His set scored an incredible amount of boots, in particular during his mesmerising cover of ‘Tahupotiki’ by Ruahine Crofts.
Magic Dirt are as iconic as Geelong rock bands come and if I’m being honest, I’ve never really liked them all that much. My dad would hate me for saying that because he used to blast ‘Dirty Jeans’ and ‘She Riff’ in the car when I was a kid but for some reason I just never really got into them… But, they were fucking awesome. Quite clearly a favourite with the Plains veterans, their set was a energetic and precise display of rock and roll. If I wasn’t a fan beforehand, I certainly am now.
Acid Mothers Temple and the Melting Paraiso U.F.O was an act I was super excited to see. Not that I knew their material but let’s be honest, who isn’t intrigued by that name. I found the first third of their set to be a bit tripped out for me, not because I wasn’t on the ‘right level’ or anything like that, I just found it to ‘just be noise’. Similar to some of Zappas work, just ambient build ups to come to a crashing stop because someone hits a symbol. Not that it wasn’t cool, I just didn’t feel as if they were playing songs per say, but then at some point randomly their set turned into a heavy psych-doom affair and I was in awe for the remaining two thirds.
Considering I was an Odd Future fanboy for a while I’ve always been a big fan of Syd Bennett branching out and doing her own thing so I was really excited to see The Internet and they did not disappoint. Their set consisted of hazy dance music, groovy bass-lines and just an all round sexy/loungey sound. But those basslines… God damn they were good and just got better and more intricate as the set progressed. Finishing with their hit ‘Girl’ everyone was buzzing, even Syd who commented how confused she was driving through the Australian “forest” to end up at such a “beautiful festival”.
The Living Eyes are my favourite local band so when I saw them on the Plains lineup I felt proud as punch. Not to say that my support has at all enhanced their career as a band (because that’s not the case), but just because I knew that there would be a lot of people in the crowd who may not have known them prior to Plains, but would love them, and that’s exactly what happened. Playing as the rain began to subside on the Sunday, The Eyes blasted through their set, busting out tracks like ‘Spring’, ‘Eat It Up,’ and ‘Square One’ which has always been a personal favourite of mine (that bass line is just too good). Punters got around the fast-paced riff of ‘Horseplay’ whilst ‘International Fashion’ scored a great singalong. Busting out a cover of The Cure’s ‘I Just Need Myself’ was a welcomed surprise, as was the huge amount of boots that was raised during their set- a feat that wasn’t unnoticed by the band who seemed absolutely chuffed with the crowds response.
Amp Fiddler provided some cool afternoon dance vibes. It was a little bit jungley and a little bit spacey – what’s not to like?
Four Tet was an unreal change-up for the afternoon providing his intricate and melodic brand of techno for the start of his set before it really got thumping halfway through and the crowd was loving it. I would of been interested to see how his four hour set at Pitch went because the one hour we scored at Plains was magical.
Khruangbin were, according to majority of the people that I spoke to, the favourite act of the weekend and that’s said with no surprise considering Meredith and Plains consistently gets some of the best psych acts in the world before they are incredibly well known. And let me tell you, their set was flawless. Songs such as ‘Two Fish and an Elephant’, ‘Lady and Man’ and ‘Como Me Quieres’ were some of the best songs I’ve ever seen in the ‘Sup.
Happy Mondays provided old school dance vibes-back from the era where dance music was still being made primarily by full band set-ups. It was an affair you couldn’t not dance too-even if that means just standing there and bobbing your head, their tunes where infectious. Also on a side note; to the bloke in the white suit covered in red hearts who gave me a red heart prior to their set – thank you, you’re the real MVP because that set was so much fun and it was unreal to drink some tinnies with you and your girlfriend during it.
Confidence Man are one of those acts that I’ve never liked when I hear them on the radio, but I had heard fantastic things about their set at Plains a few years back so I was excited to see what was in store. Donning neon lingerie and funky synths, their set was the perfect party vibe for Golden Plains and the punters loved it.
DJ’s brought out the night for the 24 hour party people (Happy Mondays pun intended there), all of which provided the perfect soundtrack to the morning. DJ Harvey was very notable for me-his set was very groovy and was perfect for the 3-5 time slot.
As always, I want to extend a huge thank you to Aunty Meredith for having me, yet again it was an absolute blast.
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photos by Darcy Berry