Falls Festival ’04

I had a great time. From the top:

The Black Keys were awesome. A couple of guys who are naturals at what they do. I don’t know their stuff all that well but could appreciate a really well tube-driven guitar sound and drumming that was spot-on even when the guitar went bounding. They reminded me a bit of Cream minus a bassist. I think they’re going to be of that vintage of classickness.
It sounds odd, but the best thing I can say about them is that they didn’t let me down. It’s one of the hardest spots to play – really late in the day (11:30 – 12:30am) because I’ve seen a whole day of music and can tire of it — also very often I’ve dug music recorded then when seen live it hasn’t been as good. The Black Keys if anything were better live.

“…if you’ve got a website I want to be on it”

Billy Bragg was second best for me, and surprising because I wasn’t expecting to get much out of it. He was actually at a Big Day Out I went to once and I don’t think I even had a look. Anyway, maybe it was the sunstroke kicking in but I was moved so much to the point of even feelin’ a bit teary hearing a couple of the classics like ‘A New England’. Such an excellent song writer. It’s so hard to write politcal songs that don’t sound preachy or are coming out of the mouths of phonies (i.e. U2) but Billy’s always managed to do it. Same with relationshippy songs – just nicely done and not overdone. And like the Keys – gets a lot of sound out of a minimal set up = that’s two points for Fender amps.

TZU are a four-piece hip-hop outfit from Melbourne. I’d heard one of their songs on RRR and when they did it and hit the chorus we got a bit of audience participation going in everyone flipping the bird — “Fuck You! and your long list of isms”.
But the really cool part was later on I was wandering around outside looking forlawn to sit on and drink a coffee and I saw them sitting there so I went and said Hi! Good set, I’ve heard a couple of your songs on Triple R. I was talking to the guy you can see holding the mic. He asked what I thought of Xavier rudd, who was playing at the time. I looked away and said Oh yeah he’s alright. He says to me, You think he’s boring don’t you? I gasped like – someone else does too and said Yeah. I think the other 14999 punters were happy to have rudd take out his painful middle-class whiteboy angst-about-being-a-whiteboy-with-the-whole-aboriginal-thing on them.
I said a couple more stupid things then decide I should stop hassling them so split – eventhough they were just sitting there and truth be known no-one else probably didn’t even recognise them.
There was a million other thing I thought of later that I would’ve liked to ask. There’s so little decent australian hip-hop so far, but these guys are pretty good.

The New Pollutants were a lot of fun. Like the KLF meets your local cub-scout division meets that episode of ST:TOS with Spock laughing because of strange plants. Maybe you’ve been to some wild gigs (or sporting events) where people throw full cans at the performers — this was the other way around — the Pollutants were throwing their rider into the crowd after each song — a whole slab of green cans they were given and didn’t want. Amazing no one got sconed.

– De La Soul were good – I’ve only got their album …Is Dead, so didn’t know much of their stuff but they were big on the audience participation thing which made a good trade off with the black keys who came on after them and are more of a stand and watch thing.
– The Spazzys‘ pursuit of the perfect 3-chord song deserves respect. They’re living the rock n’ roll lifestyle – one of them broke her thumb so she couldn’t play bass but they got some guy to fill in. Very Melbourne.
– I was stuck at the stall when they were playing, but Butterfingers sounded impressive.
– Tim Rogers from You Am I is a wanker.
– Veruca Salt were there because they’ve got a new album coming out, but seemed a bit lethargic and very LA.
– I’m not all that much into The Cat Empire but they played good and one of those guys sounds like he’s permanently on helium.

I’m glad i didn’t have to camp and deal with the horrifying toilet situation. We headed back too the Ears’ Ranch at the end of each day. I felt a bit old there — I’d say the average age was 22yo, another year or two and it’ll be completely generation Y. A lot of them were from interstate. I spent most of the second day reading t-shirts. Almost nothing political, a lot of Volcom Stone which I’d never heard of before and still don’t exactly know what it is… a clothing line/label?
I saw this one little interaction where two girls were looking at a large tattoo on a guy’s back. It was of some chunk of Pulp Fiction dialogue and although I didn’t check, my guess is the ‘for I am truly my brother’s keeper …’. In dismissive tones one says to him That’s great mate, as if he must’ve been some whacko. You want to get something to eat? one says to the other, Yeah I could really go a fish taco, says the other.
I just thought it was funny – they really did have fish tacos there.

Hitched a lift back with the folks from the Authentic North Indian food stall. Really funny guy but not intentionally so. He takes things like unbroken double white lines as a serving suggestion only, and in a shitbox van hauling a trailer, tries overtaking a convoy of another foodstall trailer and a couple of cars. A car popped up over the rise at us – straight at us – I thought I was going to die, so he pushes back into the line on the left side of the road. A few minutes later a car gets to overtake us and honks as they go thru. He says in thick N.Indian accent, These drivers! they have no patience.
Nice guy though.

bassist from Veruca Salt

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