Ah, another month, another festival. A very typical move by me, but if you’re reading this then you should already know by now that I sure do love my music festivals.
Last weekend saw me headed to our nation’s capital, Canberra, for the third annual Spilt Milk festival. Apart from very exciting things like The Mint (everybody’s favourite, right?), Parliament House and Questacon, I didn’t have much time to check out the cultural sites of the city. Instead, I focused my efforts on drinking spiced rum (again, this should be of no surprise to you), and dancing the day away to some of the best talent on offer. See below my jam packed review for Spilt Milk 2018!
Don’t cry over spilt milk…
The first act I wrangle my way around to is the ever-fabulous Jack River, who is currently touring the country with her new album ‘Sugar Mountain’. After getting heavy plays across radio, Jack River has made quite the name for herself, and this fact is backed up with the amount of support at the festival, with thousands of punters gathered around the main stage to hear her iconic bops like ‘Limo Song’ and ‘Fool’s Gold’. She carries herself with such an energetic, upbeat presence, and it’s hard not to dance along to her ephemeral sounds, especially since she’s wearing a killer gold one-piece. Jack River is on the uprise and this is only the beginning.
I take a quick break mid-afternoon to suss out the festival food and make my way to the *dreaded* portaloos. There are two things promised in life: death, and extremely long lines at festival loos. The latter took me almost an hour. Close to 500 people at any one time were in line waiting their turn for the portaloos, but what seemed like a lack of amenities lead to total madness, with some people opting to use bushes and trees instead of waiting for upwards of 45 minutes. If there’s one thing that any festival could use, it’s more toilets. Even if you think you’ve got enough coverage, keep in mind your audience are fuelling themselves on drinks 24/7, and mother nature tends to call more often when you’ve had a few to drink. On the other hand, festival food was GREAT. Like, really great. So many different options to choose from, between gourmet burgers, chef-designed pizza trucks, fried chicken and bao buns, we were totally spoilt for choice. I opted for a very safe option of pasta with bolognese from Urban Pasta food truck, which went down really well. Not as good as Mum’s spag bol, but definitely a great hit with the tastebuds nevertheless.
Perth rockers Methyl Ethel are on the hit list next for me. After a stellar few years topping the charts in the Aussie music industry, Methyl Ethel are one of the best rock bands to keep an eye out for. Their new single ‘Scream Whole’ goes down a treat amongst the huge crowds, with most people knowing the lyrics back to front despite the song being released a few weeks ago. Other mega tunes such as ‘Ubu’ and ‘Twilight Driving’ ring around the festival site in all of their glory, and although I had high expectations, the guys absolutely nailed their set. It’s one of the best live performances I’ve seen in quite some time, and it’s fair to say Methyl Ethel left with a whole bunch of extra dedicated fans after their Canberra appearance. #faveoftheday
The Jungle Giants, AKA everyone’s favourite road trip band, make their way onto the main stage and are fast welcomed with a sea of smiling faces and rowdy behaviour. The band have a soft spot in most people’s hearts and are well known for their rosy, summer-esque sounds. Their latest album of 2017, ‘Quiet Ferocity’, has been embedded in most heads for some months now. If you haven’t given the Jungle Giants a listen, I cannot recommend them enough. Not one pair of feet stood still for the next hour, as we all jumped, sang, screamed and crowd surfed our way through the afternoon blissfully accompanied by some of their best songs ‘Feel The Way I Do’ and ‘Used To Be In Love’. It’s the ultimate feel-good set which leaves everyone content, but slightly reeling for some more. I’ve waited a few years to see this band live, and not one inch of my being was disappointed. Can I fast forward to their next gig already?
A quick change of set and a bigger change of pace, DJ Golden Features takes to the main stage as a last-minute replacement for Childish Gambino who pulled out of the festival a few weeks ago. He had some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’ve seen Golden Features before and he knows how to control a crowd. This time round he sounds as slick as anything. As more bodies poured in to feel the thumping bass and massive tunes from Golden Features, I feel like the sound at the main stage could’ve been turned up a notch as most of the crowds soaked up the sound before it hit our ears. He played banger after banger, keeping us entranced and excited with his melodic beats like ‘Guillotine’, ‘Worship’ and ‘Medicate’. Golden Features lights up a cigarette and bops along to his own tunes, and it’s pretty clear to see he’s chuffed with the turn out of fans who’ve come to dance with him. Sunset starts to greet us, and with that it’s time for the set to wrap up. Golden Features never fails to bring a huge vibe and even bigger beats to any festival, and as an eleventh-hour fill in, he did a bloody good job.
I squish my way through some crowded spots and find myself at another stage to see Sydney producer Hayden James play his laidback set. He’s well known for his sunset vibes, if that makes sense. To explain better, picture yourself in a Corona television commercial and that’s the kind of summer/sunset/chill vibe he specialises in. I decide to also take the chill route and hang by the outskirts of the crowd, after all, I needed a bit of a break from standing and dancing all day. Hayden James is extremely easy to relax to, with songs ‘Something About You’ and ‘Just A Lover’ being clear crowd favourites. It’s a really nice time to take everything in and enjoy the falling sun, which finds itself reflecting perfectly off Molonglo river, casting gorgeous hues of orange and yellow across the skyline. Sometimes in the madness of a festival, you forget to take time to give your brain a bit of a break from the loud noises and flashing lights. This was definitely needed, and was a great programming call by the Spilt Milk team. Hayden James is now going to be on my meditation playlist because he left me feeling super zen.
It was a tough trek to get back to the main stage in order to see The Wombats, but never to fear, we made it back in good time and snagged a spot close to the front-left of the mosh. With my friends being self-confessed huge fans, they were eager and nervous all rolled into one to see the band play. You’d think the British boys would be sick of playing in Australia, given that I think this is their fifth show in our country this year, but hey, no complaints from us! Their new album ‘Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life’ has been a staple listen the past couple of months, and is without a doubt one of their best albums yet (apart from ‘This Modern Glitch’). Packed to the brim with catchy tunes including belter ‘Lemon to a Knife Fight’, there’s no doubt that British rock still has a fond place in the hearts of Aussie festival-goers. Pair this with giant inflatable balloons and actual human-sized wombats, the set is nothing but infectious fun and good times. The Wombats prove to be a classic hit no matter the occasion. We love them here in Australia and I’d happily see them again any time soon.
And for the big finale, Canberra’s very own Peking Duk are given the greatest honour in closing the festival. Fun fact- the duo once used to set up the tents for this festival 10 years ago. Fast forward to now, they’ve worked bloody hard to make a name for themselves and have ended up nailing a closing performance slot, and boy do they sound good. Peking Duk are one of our best musical exports. Their showmanship is phenomenal, not to mention the stellar handful of guests they bring out to sing along massive songs like ‘Wasted’, ‘Take Me Over’ and ‘Fake Magic’. The boys are very vocal in letting us know this is the best night of their lives, and why wouldn’t it be? We’ve got fireworks, confetti, streamers and smoke surrounding us, bass pumping through our bodies and voices yelling at the top of their lungs. Michaela Baranov, Kwame and Alister Wright jam out on stage with Peking Duk, truly highlighting just how damn talented Australian musicians are. It’s a proud moment to be Aussie and to fill our lungs and ears with great music produced by local artists. It’s an epic way to end a huge day, and before we know it, the set is over and this show is done and dusted for another year. Very sore feet and ringing ears let me know I’ve had a great time.