16 Feb 2019

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  • Festival Review: St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2019 @ Albert Park, Auckland - 28/01/2019

Festival Review: St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2019 @ Albert Park, Auckland - 28/01/2019

29 Jan 2019 // A review by Paul Goddard

The grey cloudy humid wet morning opened up into blue skies as I walked up the hill to Albert Park.

Thanks to non-existent Auckland transport I did miss seeing Miss June (pictured). I was a bit gutted as they did a couple of storming shows opening for Idles last week and it would have been good to see them on a big stage again. 

I am sure they had a blast and went down a storm.For me Laneway is all about discovering new bands that I have never heard. It has one of the best vibes off any of the festivals and the mix of genres results in an equally mixed crowd. 

So, the first band to check out was Auckland’s Daffodils (pictured). Their 80’s sounding summery vibe went down well with an appreciative crowd.

For me they still have a little bit of the rock-quest school band kind of presence and I did find my mind wandering during the first few songs. Then Boys got me back in and got the crowd moving. There is potential as they have decent songwriting skills and in singer/guitarist Theo, a voice that is engaging and powerful.

One to watch out for, but please consider changing that name.

A short hop and I am over at the Dr Marten stage which is baked in sunshine and set at the bottom of a slope where the stage is so low that unless you stand up on the bank you can't see the bands. There is a big turnout for Skeggs, even though this is their Laneway debut.

Hailing from Byron Bay, Skeggs (pictured) are your quintessential Aussie skate punk band. They have created quite a scuzzy buzz across the ditch. They also bought a heatwave with them today with people only daring to leave the shady safety of the Albert Park trees as the band walk on stage.

Their banter and energetic performance saw the first major crowd bounce of the day and certainly got the energy levels up. I lasted about 10 mins down the front and then escaped to the relative calm of the main Princess Street stage to catch Gang Of Youths

The talented Sydney-siders have come a long way in the past few years with some major support slots and festival appearances. They have a sound that is appealing to most people and singer Dave Le'aupepe has a charisma and presence that just makes you feel good.

They are a band that appear to live in the moment and there is a feeling of positivity in the music and also conveyed by Dave's dancing which could be described in many ways but is always entertaining. The set seems to be over all too soon and the crowds are now building as the afternoon is melting into the evening.

I need a quick feed so grab some food from one of the many food trucks dotted around the site. People always comment on how well organised Laneway it is, and I have to agree. The choice of food, the drinks tents where you don't have to queue for hours and good old portaloos everywhere help make it a great experience.

I was really looking forward to seeing The Dead C (pictured). These Dunedin legends who I had never heard of (nor had the people on the merchandise stall when I went looking for a t-shirt to buy) seemed to be right up my street.

This was probably the smallest crowd for any of the acts today and their brand of sonic, sprawling, feedback drenched guitar histrionics isn't going to be for everyone.

It goes something like this, noise builds into more noise, builds into tempo change drops into a few undecipherable words, builds into more noise, not a chorus in site. No banter just a band doing what they want, how they want. I loved it. The Dead C stood out like a sore thumb today and that is fine.

For a complete change I decided to check out A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie as I walk to the Rotunda stage people are flooding past me and the area is already crammed as his DJ blasts out hits getting people bouncing. This goes on for a while before A Boogie runs on stage fully hyped up by his DJ.

The place explodes and we see the first serious crowd surfing as songs are presented in quick fire fashion often being cut short as the DJ drops into another beat. The energy never lets up and it is easy to see why A Boogie is one of the hottest Hip-Hop artists around at the moment.

The sound is perfect and as I spill out for another walk to the Dr Marten stage I can still feel the rumble of the bass beats in my chest.

New York's Parquet Courts (pictured) have been gaining in popularity recently and a decent crowd is already gathered as the sun sets behind the stage. The opening track reminds me of something Refused would come up with and over the next 30 mins we are treated to a set full of changes. Their punk rock roots show through but there is so much more to Parquet Courts. One minute we are leaping around the next we are just grooving to a dub infused dance along. That they can add all these styles to one set and still keep their own identity and people listening is what makes Parquet Courts one of the most interesting bands around at the moment. It was great to see them here in NZ.

After the frenetic Parquet Courts the perfect mood change was the slick twist on R'n'B provided by the multi-talented Masego. I love a bit of Saxophone but when it is mixed with a voice like his and the songs are this well written how can you go wrong. The area around the stage is packed to the point where all I can do is sit back and listen. It's soulful, funky and chilled the perfect set as the sun dies and we move into the night.

As it is Laneway I decide to skip the main headline acts and head over to watch Florida based rapper Denzel Curry. What an eyeopener and for me one of the many highlights of the day. It is great to see an artist take a stage and completely own the place. It's difficult at festivals when it's not just your own fans but Denzel clearly means business. Crazy talented, in your face he will have won over just about everyone who watched this performance. What a way to top off an almost perfect day.

Laneway 2019 you were a scorcher.

St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2019 Feature

Photos courtesy of Steve Bone Photography.


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