I measure my year in PM and AM (Pre-Meredith and After-Meredith), it is my yearly highlight and I can only hope to return for as many years as it runs for. This year was no different with me altering my flights to Japan just to make sure I fit in the greatest party Australia has to offer.
Constant Mongrel were one of the first acts of the weekend and one that I was very keen on. Having seen them before around the release of ‘Living In Excellence’ it was an absolute pleasure to catch them again. Tracks such as ‘The Law’ and ‘600 Pounds’ made unreal additions to their set getting the crowd moving really early on in the weekend, even scoring themselves some well-deserved boots (a sign from the crowd to show you are the weekend’s favourite act.) For me, the coolest thing about Constant Mongrel was easily their horns and brass sections. Whilst brass in punk isn’t necessarily a new thing; having been commonly used in the past to create a ska-punk sound, it’s incorporation within the history of Australian punk is slightly different. If you look into acts like The Saints and Radio Birdman you’ll find that the Aus-punk approach is more so used to enhance the rhythm and percussion sections, it’s really unique to see Constant Mongrel as a current act furthering this legacy.
Briggs pumped through his set of political based hip-hop. Whilst I wasn’t necessarily the biggest fan of his music I did really love his hard-hitting instrumentals and it was cool to catch Lindsay McDougall shredding the bass on stage with an act outside of Frenzal Rhomb.
Liam Gallagher opened with ‘Rock and Roll’ star, and deservingly so; from the second he hit the stage it was obvious how much of a rock star he truly is. Black spray jacket in toe, Gallagher tore through his set of solo and Oasis songs alike. Whilst I wasn’t super familiar with a lot of his solo material (and I don’t think I’m alone in saying that) I was genuinely impressed by it. His newer music was fuelled by intricate instrumentals that kind often gave off a country/western vibe, a sound I wasn’t quite expecting but absolutely loved. Whilst there was a bit of disappointment from the crowd that ‘Champagne Supernova’ didn’t find it’s way into the set ‘Roll With It’ and ‘Morning Glory’ were definitely worthy substitutes with ‘Morning Glory’s’ riff kicking through the amphitheatre. If that wasn’t enough ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Supersonic’ also made an appearance.. it was hard to not be impressed.
Dead Prez were a late addition to the lineup I think everyone was stoked that they were. Coming out to Isaac Hayes’ ‘Walk On By’ had already given punters a special moment before the group tore through a number of their classics. Toying hip-hop with a sample of Tommy Butler’s ‘Prison Song’ got the crowd hyped for an earth-shattering response when the track finally dropped.
Speaking of late additions DJ Koze also found his way onto the lineup as a last-minute replacement for Steamdown, he also became easily the most hyped act of the weekend. Playing a 90 minute Saturday arvo set Koze absolutely killed it and the vibe couldn’t be higher. By the time ‘Pick Up’ dropped I don’t think there was an unhappy face in the crowd, which seemingly had the entire festival in attendance. At one point I ran back to my site to restock up on beers and I have never seen the camping area be such a ghost town.
Having seen Amyl and The Sniffers a bunch of times including them being the opening act at Meredith 2017, it was a genuinely special moment seeing the Melbourne based punk outfit headline the stage on Saturday night. Tearing through their set consisting of both new and old, Amy Taylor proved yet again why she is one of Australia’s most impressive vocalists. She’s ferocious, manic and somehow witty all at the same time and the crowd absolutely adored it. Older numbers like ‘I’m Not A Loser’ and ‘Westgate’ went down a treat while it was tracks such as ‘Gacked On Anger’ that really highlighted why the four-piece just won the Aria award for 2019’s best rock album.
Helena Hauff is now one of the best acts I’ve ever seen in the ‘Sup, (up there with Goat and Khruangbin). Shredding through her unique brand of Acid-Techno Hauff commandeered the crowd’s attention. Everything she did was so meticulous and thought out, it was a mesmerising display that was so perfectly suited to the time slot. Her hard-hitting bass lines and psychedelic elements were truly unforgettable.
I just can’t believe it’s all over and that I need to wait another full year before Meredith rolls around again. If the lineup was this good this year I can only imagine what Aunty Meredith has in store for 2020’s 30th Anniversary.
Reviewed by Alex Callan
Photo by Jake Davis