By Jackson Lavell-Lee
Sunday was the climactic end to Laneway festival. Both international and national musicians brought their impressive talents to Fremantle for one last show after playing incredible sets across Australia. For world, renowned acts such as Mac Demarco and Anderson .Paak it was the end to endless days of eat, sleep, rave, repeat. If anyone was struggling due to fatigue there were no signs of weariness but arrows of love as tunes brought valentine’s day early with hugs, laughs and shoulder riding fun.
The day began with triple j unearthed winner T$oko who dropped a fat set of rollicking rasta lyrics with his producer and DJ Jimmy Drones. Along with the rest of the Tone Youth collective the rapper was on point, closing with his fire new track Hakuna Matata. With his sometimes-freestyled verses and with collaboration track Better Days he was ready to bring the steez to already excited patrons as they swept through the gates.
“It was incredible man, such a vibe. I can’t wait to do it again. We comin’ bro!” was the main thesis of our chat when Dircksey got the chance to catch up with T$oko and Jimmy amid the Anderson .Paak performance.
Stella Donnelly has had a massive year sweeping the WAM awards and J awards, but you could tell she is another artist only growing. During her early set she combined both the lovely sentiments of A Poem and the politically charged satire track Boys Will be Boys.
Loyle Carner’s stage presence was a stand out of the day, opening with The Isle of Arran and blowing the crowd away with Florence the English rappers’ lyrics were firmly on display. There was a brief hiccup when the sound system lost power on the Future Classic stage, Loyle was nonplussed but continued with an impressive freestyle for those close to the stage. When the sound engineers finally got their wits about them Carner continued to wow the crowd with No CD’s and as he thanked the crowd he exclaimed “Australia has a black history” throwing his support behind indigenous rappers by wearing a shirt displaying the Aboriginal flag.
The Internet was up next, and this group of teenagers should not be underestimated. Girl was the perfect chance to catch your breath amongst the lovefest, where the passion was only building awaiting the Special Affair that was Mac Demarco. Mac had been gigging for the This Old Dog tour for quite some time and enjoyed bringing his crew onstage for an all access dance telling the crowd to get low for a moment before he brought the house down with Chamber of Reflection.
This muso can never get enough of Anderson .Paak. The man, the myth, the legend was in fine form throughout his performance where he switched between the drums and belting out his sly lyrics centre stage. The Free Nationals were a constant support with both keyboard and guitar solos. The crowd was teleported to Malibu and if you were there you know Your Heart Don’t Stand a Chance when this guy decided to Come Down.
Odesza’s performance was simply spectacular, choosing to equip themselves with a group of snare drummers to deliver the exclamation mark on their feel-good production. The two multi instrumental Seattle artists also had a spellbinding psilocybin like visual show that captivated the audience almost as much as the tunes made us throw our bodies about dancing.
Bonobo didn’t disappoint, sending tingles up and down my spine. He’s the man with all the power to Break Apart any complex production and make it feel like the simplest composition.
There is a reason bass is the beginning of Basenji. The Sydney based producer and DJ sent shockwaves through the crowd at the I Oh You’s Block Party with his bass heavy set that was magical and lit with light synths.
There was a lot of expectation riding on the Bad Bad Not Good performance, but quite sadly broken speakers once again on the Future Classic stage left some patrons scrambling to other acts. However, the large band of multi instrumentalists were able to carry the crowd with a complicated yet carefree set.
Hometown heroes Pond made you feel all the feels. Their everlasting touring never seems to taint their hunger for performing as Nic and the boys painted the town silver and Swept Me Off My Feet.
I escaped to the War on Drugs. This old-school rock band was more jamming than gigging but the crowd went wild for their complex rock riffs. They relieved all Pain that was building in everyone’s feet from the continuous dancing and sweating with their trademark slow jams and euphoric vocals. As the night ended with wide eyes glistening with tears, revelers were left in melancholy, desperately Holding on to their experiences all-the-while keen on waiting drinks and chats at kick on’s around Fremantle.
Special thanks must go to those who worked the long hours in drinks tents. Even those who donated their time selling records, (big ups to the depth of musical knowledge that is Bailey from Mills Records) vintage clothes and even tobacco at the stalls nearby the Ferris Bueller stage. Without those who sacrifice their time, to what is now an iconic Australian music festival, none of this would be possible so in true Freo style – for those about to rock, we salute you.