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February 27, 2012 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Laneway 2012

So this was my first Laneway. Pulled by its actually-really-quite-good line-up of established and breaking indie acts and pushed by BDO’s spectacular ability to out-shit itself into oblivion, I was excited.

I arrived in Auckland to a total spanker of a day and made my way down to Silo Park (a park, of silos, all industrial-like) on the waterfront in time to catch the end of EMA’s set. By which I mean, one looooong, yelpy rendition of ‘California’. But she looked fab, so whatever.

The first of my unmissables was Cults at two, although they were actually embarrassingly, utterly outshone by a blonde Florence clone and two freaky bondage girls who combined, I was told, to make Austra. Hand-wavey frontwoman Katie Stelmanis positively belted half of Feel it Break, their recent debut, and I was, to be totally honest with you, fucking impressed.

Girls were great. I swayed like a dork to ‘Alex’, yada yada yada. It would have been news if they weren’t fantastic; they’re only one of the most consistent indie rock bands to emerge in the last half-decade or so. Father, Son and Holy Ghost epic ‘Vomit’ was every ounce as epic as on the full length.

I must admit I kinda crashed from here on out. The near-complete lack of shade was naff and whoever had the just brill idea of queuing twice for drinks (once for tokens, again to exchange them) needs some time alone in a dark alley with Austra’s backup singers. While on the subject, Feist’s were creepy too, though in a more ‘emotionally disturbed schoolgirl with ESP’ kinda way.

Feist herself was begrudgingly compelling. The kinda-almost-headliner totally sassed her way through mic problems on ‘How Come You Never Go There’ and her vocals were easily the strongest of the night. Metals is now growing on me. Go figure.

I skipped Toro y Moi and SBTRKT to wrap up with The Horrors and M83 playing out the main stages. Horrors were meh. They only got going halfway through their set, after ‘Sea Within a Sea’, but then collapsed back into moody dirge again. I ended the night with my shirt off screaming with six thousand others to ‘Midnight City’ though, so overall, Laneway gets a grade of “pretty farking excellent”. Which is like an Excellence in NCEA. Swell.

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