The Higher You Go the Harder You Falls
Since there seem to be so few recounts of Falls (with the exception of facebook promoted blog, The Vine) I am putting in my two bits for what definitely feels like my last Falls. Not due to Falls sucking but due to me sucking. More accurately, I feel really old. As in, I-went-to-bed-at-10.30-on-the-first-night old!
Let me go back a few steps for those overseas or who just don’t know what Falls is. It’s a music festival comparable to Woodstock. A bunch of music lovers (and hippies) camp out, get drunk/happy and love life and music, watching performers from all over the world (mostly just from America and Australia though) pound out some songs.
Once again before the line up was released last year I was all “no more Falls for me! Once was enough… Then twice was more than enough!” But then the line up was released and I was all “Idiot, this line up is good. Just go okay.” So I did.
We bailed on the first, added “Funk and Soul Revue” night. Mostly cause it was beat-neck bands I don’t know. BLAH! Why anyone would choose to go four nights without a shower, instead of three, without the incentive of good bands? I guess some people thought they might get good camping spots but it’s always a gamble. You could end up somewhere flat and close to the performing area or you could end up in the Earth’s crack hole, sliding down the hill in your sleep and waking up with your face buried in the steaming crap of the previous night’s drunks “going bush” to relieve themselves.
Okay so I usually cringe a bit at the grossness of Falls. It’s 16 000 people sharing one cubicle of showers, and (though there were more toilets this time at least) amenities always fill above capacity. But it is a “green” event after all. What you give to Mother Nature you take from humans. Literally. The worms just don’t process our waste quickly enough for me.
The set times were terrible! AdmittedlyI was in bed by 10.30 on the first night because I was only missing Wolfmother. Who cares??? Preceding them were Sarah Blasko who was lovely and sweet and Lyrics Born who just seemed to sing the same song for his entire set and is probably the reason why I felt tired enough to go to bed early, and Datarock whose VJ projected some very fitting/confusing/funny images behind the red tracksuitted band. It felt right pulling the plug after them. Pretty fun live!
Day two promised more. Lisa Mitchell is a little too chilled for my liking but given it was midday and 50 billion degrees we wouldn’t have had the energy to dance. For ages after I was all “La-la la-la-la-la-la la-la la-la-la-la!” That ad music is very catchy!
We went back to the campsite to cool ourselves with spray bottles and moaning. Nothing like a good moan to release those heat pockets inside you. We returned to the stage area in time for Emiliana Torrini, who was good bopping fun in the wonderfully cooled tent, followed by White Rabbits whose melodies came through a lot more clearly than I expected!
Night two was the best with Grizzly Bear, Midnight Juggernauts, Temper Trap and Yeah Yeah Yeahs pumping some energy into the crowd! GB were my favourite because everything was right. The day was coming to an end so it was still light, the crowd was relatively chilled but dancing a bit and man these guys have good stage presence!
Temper Trap were pretty cool. The lead singer has a great voice. Their songs are a bit samey, which is my only drawback, but overall a solid set. Everyone was into it, singing along without knowing the lyrics (including me)! MJs were also a lot of fun but I must’ve kept drinking cause it’s all fuzzy after that. All I know is I had a lot of fun! Apparently the sound for YYYs was terrible. I noticed some dodgy sound work going on from day 1 so I guess it caught up with them.
We ended up at the Village that night but everything was full… Everytime I go there everything seems busy… I usually walk around for a few minutes, get bored and leave. That place is messed up… but also kind of boring when you can’t get in to anything…
And in the mess of it all I missed Bagged Raiders. Boo to me! We had some sort of path party going on. I dunno… I was in bed, then I was being sick out of the tent, then I was watching my friend enthusiastically try to get people to dance with him on the path. Everyone was just a bunch of scattered black and whites by that time.
The morning of NYE is always a killer for me. I start getting an intense need to shower, to poo without having to inhale 16 000 other people’s, to sleep without worrying if someone’s going to stumble off the path and fall on me. Other festival goers would tell me I’m weak. That’s cause a lot of booners go to Falls, which was also why I was itching to leave. I prefer the presence of those who know how to finish sentences without saying “ya c*nt.” Yuck. (Okay there weren’t THAT many booners and the crowd were pretty lovely but still…)
Fortunately after some food and with nothing worth seeing on till 1.30 I was able to get my shit together. I stood in front of a mirror for an hour slapping myself and telling myself not to cry and to just get back into life. Andrew Bird was beautiful. He is a good violinist! I can’t really relay properly; I was lethargic and mesmerised and soothed. He played Anonanimal which was ace, and he did it all with an ankle he stuffed in Tassie (what did you bastards do to him?!). I was excited to see the tent area filling up quickly, but soon realised people had left the ordinary Dappled Cities to see some comedian from Flight of the Concords, Arj Barker, who was making some REALLY stupid gay jokes which we overheard while lining up to stuff our faces. I mentioned booners before though, right? Gotta work the crowd!
I was super keen for Oh Mercy but once again the heat won us over and we sat languidly by our tents cursing the heat and the kids for their youth.
Patrick Watson got our attention. Or more accurately we couldn’t have chosen NOT to watch him because he was really loud! What happened to you, Patty? Why didn’t you break my heart with your wonderful piano skills? There were moments of bliss when he played songs like “Big Bird in a Small Cage” but he was very definitely too high to perform properly. When the smoke machine started up he made some “joke” about a dragon and then giggled about it while the crowd raised their eyebrows awkwardly. Does this guy realise he’s onstage? That’s what we were all thinking… Anyway at one point he pulled out a distorter and just FUCKED SHIT UP! This, to my hung-over ears, was akin to vigorously rubbing sandpaper over sunburn. Yes, we get it, Mr Watson, you have an “awesome” machine which can “fuck shit up.” But we would prefer it if you just “SHUT the fuck up.” Thanks. We left at this point cause I was in too much head pain. I hear he played a good side show so he was probably just playing to that booner crowd I mentioned before (just that one time I mentioned them).
After some more sorting things out like food and getting changed and telling myself not to cry we saw Jamie T. He sounded GREAT! I didn’t physically SEE him at all though ha ha. We were lining up to get beer when it started storming up a storm! Total downpour. And we realised we left the tent door open. Um, oops? All our stuff is getting wet! We downed our beers and ran back trying not to throw up our recently ingested burger and beer. I stayed in the tent for a while. I am a wuss when it comes to rain. I didn’t want to go outside and play.
We made it back just in time for Rodrigo Y Gabriella. Man they were good! The crowd slowly built to their crafty guitar playing. Two guitars and a whole lotta energy: that’s all it took to excite everyone. I’d initially questioned the unusual time (9 pm on NYE instead of in the afternoon?) but they knew how to get the vibe jivin.
Following this, Moby was surprisingly spectacular! Not at all what I expected! He played all of his good old stuff, including songs like Why Does my Heart Feel so Bad, and he even had the wonderful Joy Malcolm on vocals. Man she’s good. She’s better than Moby! Moby was ALMOST perfectly timed. But he finished at 11.30. Why the ef, Falls Festival organisers? Hilltop Hoods? Really?
Not for us. We went straight up to Miami Horror who played an amazing set in the tent! Thank you for good dance into the New Year, Miami Horror! It was also nice to hear PNAU’s Embrace covered. So much better than hearing white middle class Asstralians rap about every problem that ever existed that they have not themselves experienced. URGH!
I woke up the next morning to Jay Z’s Empire State of Mind. No, ha ha, Jay Z didn’t perform. It was being DJ’d! It was playing in the tent for the remaining addleds of the night. For me it was a nice way to wake up and remember that a warm bed and clean clothes (and a shower) weren’t too far away.
Okay so I wrote this all with a surly attitude but I did love Falls a lot! Just not as much as two years ago. The crowd generally was pretty relaxed and friendly (apart from those booners I mentioned that one time) and there were more toilets this year, which is pure currency in that environment. I didn’t see one person peeing where they weren’t welcome.
The music was incredible and it is still one of the few festivals where you feel you can truly engage with the music and see it from no matter where you are standing. It was a nice way to bring in the New Year that’s for sure.
Oh yeah, and Declan from Neighbours was there (ha!).