Brisbane’s St Jerome’s Laneway Festival 2015 opened to a scene of sweaty, sunscreen-clad, too-nicely-dressed festivalgoers — and eight years on we wouldn't expect it any other way. The Sunshine State turned on the tropics for grand day out at the RNA. Early on, the crowd swelled to catch Queensland darling Eves The Behavior. The homegrown festival newbie played her set at ease, making her one to watch as 2015 plays out.
The stages have yet again been rejigged – the RNA's cab rank shelter making the perfect outdoor stage, and the giant white tent better known as Oktoberfest's beer hall turned into the all-weather main stages — and it needed to be. The sizzling 33 degree day gave way as a very, big, bad storm with more attitude than Vic Mensa clipped Brisbane CBD at the edge.
Laneway's epic lineup put a plethora of unique male vocals on show. Vienna-based producer SOHN won fans with his falsetto, smooth transitions, and adorable clapping to signify the end of his own tunes. New Orleans local Benjamin Booker's signature raw and raspy voice was on show while he tried to cool overheated crowds with just a single fan (thanks for the thought). Swimming in a sea of approval, Andy Bull was his usual, magical, brilliant self, his crowds now singing every last words. And despite the early timeslot, young Raury had us eating from his hands with a stage presence and fringed brown suede jacket that demanded attention.
Vic Mensa had the crowd pumping early on, pulling in old and new fans alike as they came running from the tree shadows to pack out the carnival tent and help chant the producer's name in unison. And in the last rays of light, 32-year-old-going-on-13 Rustie dropped the bass with more swagger than one might expect from a white guy from Glasgow. All the while Mac DeMarco found himself successfully crowdsurfing — resurfacing like a pro with both shoes.
Future Islands couldn't have been truer singing that seasons change on that day. The trio's set opened to a bright starry sky following the day’s heatwave, imminent hail storm, down pour and then freezing cold change — anyone would have thought we were in Melbourne. Plenty of enthusiastic dad dancing ensued.
Female powerhouses FKA twigs and Banks separately stole the show with their incredible performances. Banks sauntered up to the microphone in head-to-toe black, unleashing a killer, bass-heavy set. Later, FKA twigs commanded crowds clad in a black leotard, fishnets and singing about anything but good deeds. Girl crushes were formed or strengthened for the two. America's St Vincent, rapper Tkay Maidza and witty singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett’s sets helped round out the strong female lineup.
Experimental artist Flying lotus has us all lips zipped and completely mesmerised with his incredible Layer 3 audiovisual concept set in full swing. Weary heads and tired feet perked up as final act Flight Facilities finally brought a danceable act to the main stage, with everyone seeing out the day with two feet in the air.
Laneway Festival turns ten this year (eight in Brisbane), and incredibly has still managed to maintain a boutique feel to it. The crowds are nicer, tamer, more friendly and less selfish, and the acts more humble and giving you chance to discover real new music. Here’s hoping Laneway's move to remain closer to the up-and-coming pulse rather than superheadliners will have us celebrating for another ten.
Words/Images: Daniela Sunde-Brown and Hamish Snow.