17 Sep 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

31 Jan 2019 // A review by Lou Clement

Laneway was a different kind of festival. It’s an international touring event, taking in Australia and Singapore. In Auckland, the event was held in the historic Albert Park. Top billed artists this year included the electronic, experimental mastermind, Jon Hopkins, and ethereal pop-icon Florence and the Machine. There was much more to the line-up too, many of the acts new to me, and varying in genre from rap to pop to RnB reimagined. That the acts were new was exciting, it also meant I formed an opinion of what Laneway was going for with choices.

The park was beautiful, full of summer flowers and the festival had neatly set up in between the formal gardens, native trees and within the bandstand. The park echoed a different era, one perhaps not prepared for the footfall of a festival full of people. Still, it was charming that the sound technician was in the bandstand and the tree lined arcade was the perfect spot for a great view of the stage, no matter where you stood (and you could even eat and watch the band from there).

This year’s Laneway festival took place on a really hot day, this sort of dulled the vibe of the crowd a little, as we all retreated to shaded areas in between sets. I’d downloaded the app for the festival, something which made me feel organised in seconds and gave me everything I needed to ensure I saw all the acts I wanted to and could find my way around the area almost immediately.

First up on my list was Camp Cope (pictured), an Australian three-piece, they had an early set but an enthusiastic crowd and the festival-goers had not yet all arrived, still the crowd were singing along to their songs. Their music is guitar-led, with distinctive vocals from lead singer Georgia McDonald, I particularly enjoyed the angsty The Opener.

I dashed between stages to catch RnB act Ravyn Lenae, the 20 year old sang catchy, jazz-infused tracks with the sun warming the crowd and many dancing along she brought the festival feeling. I also saw Clairo whose lo fi style was understated and seemed to bring a breeze with it. When she sang her track Pretty Girl, I was absorbed in the beautiful gentle vocals and the way it still captured emotion through the lyrics and paired down composition. I really enjoyed this act.

Other stand out acts of the day were Bene (pictured). The local singer songwriter has a musical upbringing, which seemed to show in her confident command of the stage. She was on a small stage and the crowd piled in to see her. Her music is the summer soundtrack, the fresh and catchy; Soaked was uplifting and set the mood for a vibrant set.

A surprise acts for me was hip-hop act Smino, it wasn’t music I thought I’d get into, but it was a great performance with lots of audience participation and I was dancing along. There were a few familiar acts on the bill these including Parquet Courts, who put in a well-rehearsed performance, making the live music experience for me.

When it came to see Florence, the crowd had a second wind, and Florence in her floaty dress and with soaring vocals made for a perfect headline act, superstar par excellence. Finally, I made it across to see Jon Hopkins who set the night alight with his strain of electronic, ambient and atmospheric songs. I had often felt that Hopkins wrote songs that made me feel like I was in a film. In the centre of Auckland, as the dark crept in around us, his brilliant composing had a perfect setting and an attentive audience. A different but inspired headline act. The sun had done its worse, and in the relative cool of the evening, the crowd dispersed, the flowerbeds unharmed, the trees unclimbed. Laneway was a great one day festival, I would call for it to be on a Sunday though, to really ensure that holiday feeling.

St Jerome's Laneway Festival 2019 Feature

Photos courtesy of Steve Bone Photography.


Other Reviews By Lou Clement

Villainy - Villany @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 27/07/2019
31 Jul 2019 // by Lou Clement
The Powerstation was packed and as the clocked ticked on, the anticipation felt almost palpable. Villainy were there to play the last date on their tour, which was named after their new and third album Raised In The Dark, which, four years after the last one, was unleashed into the hands of their fans only three weeks prior.
Ben Ruegg - Album Review: The Road (Remastered)
22 May 2019 // by Lou Clement
Auckland-based musician Ben Ruegg’s album The Road, frets through emotion-laden lyrics and surges from an acoustic-indie tone to a rockier bent with nostalgic guitar solos and drums. The album is stitched together with Ruegg’s refined and considered vocals.
Gig Review: Broods @ Auckland Town Hall, Auckland - 16/05/2019
19 May 2019 // by Lou Clement
Broods have found international fame and success and welcoming them back to home turf was an enthusiastic crowd at the grand setting of Auckland Town Hall. Well known sister and brother duo, Georgia and Caleb Nott are Broods, and for this gig they were joined on stage by other musicians to accompany their set.
Gig Review: Mermaidens @ Neck of the Woods - 13/04/2019
17 Apr 2019 // by Lou Clement
It was Record Store Day, and vinyl fans across the country were treated to special events and special releases from musicians who year on year support the event. Across Auckland, independent record stores opened their doors following advertising campaigns on the run up to day.
Gig Review: Milk & Honey @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 08/03/2019
11 Mar 2019 // by Lou Clement
International Women’s Day, in my experience, is often not marked by celebrations other than something official in the news – something with flowers and over-privileged celebrity-like figures at the mic. It’s the first year I’ve lived in Auckland for it though, and to find that celebrations planned for the occasion with music performances taking place as part of a curated event were exciting.
Gig Review: Cross Street Festival @ Cross Street, Auckland - 02/03/2019
05 Mar 2019 // by Lou Clement
It’s a balmy March day and the sun lit the side streets of central Auckland. I arrived at Cross Street, a road parallel to Karangahape Road.
Gig Review: Dead Little Penny @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 25/01/2019
27 Jan 2019 // by Lou Clement
Three-piece Dead Little Penny were the second act on stage and headlining at the Whammy Bar on Friday evening, launching their new single Depression. The venue was packed out and the fans did little to reduce the temperature of the basement venue.
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