by Cormack O'Connor in New Music on Saturday 4 May 2013

Well, well, well. What is there to say about Groovin’ The Moo? As you should know by now it’s Australia’s ONLY regional touring music festival, which means one thing: highly excitable punters. I arrived super early (which I never do to festivals) to catch one of my favourite Sydney bands FISHING. The duo opened up the dance tent to a surprisingly large crowd for such an early time slot; bringing their trippy and chopped up beats along for the ride.

It was great to see them getting some attention from a large festival and the track “Choy Lin” was a big personal party starter for me.

After the boys had finished I took a little time to wander around the festival grounds before heading back to the tent to check out Tuka and Elesquire. The Blue Mountains really seem to have a knack for producing great Australian hip-hop artists because Tuka had me pumped from the second he rolled onto stage. Bouncing through hits like ‘Die A Happy Man’ and ‘Just Wanted To Feel’, energy levels began to peak amongst the young crowd.

Finally it was time to head outside to the Chanel [V] stage and embrace the sunshine. Brisbane four-piece Last Dinosaurs were up next and ecstatic to be playing to a crowd so large. I’ve personally been meaning to catch the guys for a long time and the wait was truly worth it. Running through a string of hits such as “Zoom”, “Andy” and “Sunday Night”, the musicianship and happy vibes injected the festival with a sheer sense of joy.

Moving slightly to the right, I found myself at the Triple J stage to catch Urthboy – a personal favourite of mine whom I have now seen countless times. As always, he was joined by the ever lovely Jane Tyrrell who has to ability to mesmerize me at will; delivering flawless vocals with goose bump inducing highs. Set highlights included a crowd surf and good deal of confetti throwing from Urthboy as he laid down his hard hitting raps – everyone bopping along.

Soon enough it was time to return to the dance tent, only some type of transformation had occurred. Hardcore fans had started to pile in as LA five piece The Bronx took to the stage (not to mention the Amity Affliction fans who were already seeking a good spot). The Bronx presented a flawless, energetic set which was filled with more than a couple head bangs and air guitar licks to tracks such as ‘Shitty Future’.

Shooting back out of the tent to catch the final few songs of Brooklyn two-piece Matt and Kim, I became absolutely elated with their euphoric stage presence. The crowd chanted along to the hard hitting “Now” as balloons bounced around and I decided to get closer to the stage.

Just as I did, Kim promised to get everyone laid via her Twitter dating service #kimsdatingservice before jumping into the crowd to shake her booty to Diplo’s “Express Yourself.” Ending their set with a version of “Daylight”, Kim promised to play “so fucking hard it’s like I’m taking it in the ass”. She lives up to her promises.

Australian rapper Seth Sentry seemed a little off during his set. While he jumped on speakers and shot at the crowd with NERF darts, he just didn’t seem as hyped as I’ve seen him on previous occasions. Regardless, the crowd were going wild for hits such as “Float Away” and “The Waitress Song”; apart from one crowd member who threw a water battle at Seth. He wasn’t happy.

Not being a huge fan of “screamo” music I was a little reluctant to check out The Amity Affliction. None the less, they certainly raised energy levels up more than a notch as circle pits opened and crowd surfers poured into the photo pit. While I didn’t stay long, I can definitely see why they have a huge following. It’s not that the set was particularly offensive, I was just really keen to catch Melbourne pop outfit Alpine.

They didn’t disappoint either! Bringing their massively happy sounds and bubbly vibes to the festival, the dual vocals of Phoebe and Lou sent the crowd into quiet a tizzy. “Gasoline” was definitely a highlight!
What happened next was possibly the best thing I saw all day – YACHT taking to the stage. Front woman Claire was wild and ready to party and so were the crowd. While front man Jona jumped around onstage, Claire wrapped herself up in her microphone cord before spinning down into the photo pit to play with the crowd. Admittedly I nearly got taken out by her as security tried to control her movements – she was loving it.

Meanwhile Frightened Rabbit were absolutely killing it onstage despite being “fucked” from their flight into the country at 5am that morning.

Back in the tent, YACHT finished up and Melbourne MC Pez took to the stage as the crowd changed – losing their cool vibe and turning into a cesspit of underage drunks. Being a photographer I’m quiet used to being hit by all manner of things in the photo pit (Phil Jamieson’s spit for instance) but coping a water bottle to the head before Pez had even come onstage was truly a reflection of what the crowd would be like during the set. From what I saw Pez performed well but the feral crowd totally ruined the set for me and I decided to go see Regurgitator instead.

Regurgitator are pretty much an Australian institution and as always they performed exceptionally. The bouncy energy of bassist Ben Ely, coupled with the raw power of Quan Yeomans vocals, set the guys up to be a total hit with the more rock oriented crowd of the main stage. Who wouldn’t like a song called “I Will Lick Your Arsehole”?

Next up was Brooklyn band They Might Be Giants, who proved not very popular with the young crowd. While they are great musicians in their own right, the quirky nature of their music and their older catalogue seemed lost in translation. The crowd began to gather towards the end though for the return of Tame Impala, fresh from playing the epic Coachella Festival in the US.

Unfortunately for us, all that travelling had killed Kevin’s voice, leaving him pretty much unable to sing anything not extremely low. Musically they were tight but the whisky just wasn’t helping his voice; giving up and letting the massive crowd sing “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”. It was a little disappointing but what can you do? I don’t think anyone was too upset as the band shredded through their psychedelic set.

After they had finished I pushed my way back into the dance tent area which was so packed the crowd were spilling out; bare chested boys climbing onto poles for a better vantage point. The man on everyone’s mind had arrived – Flume. Management seemed extremely worried about how many people at turned up to the set (I’d estimate over half the festival where in the small area) and quickly closed down the photo pit as they tried to control the crowd and pull flailing girls out. Walking into the crowd, the familiar boom of “More Then You Thought” began to drop as an ambulance tried to push trough the crowd. I think everyone knows Flume should have been upgraded to a bigger stage, but the staff really were doing a good job of trying to manage safety.

As I returned to the main stage, Brighton indie kids The Kooks were just coming on. More teenage girls were swooning as the boys ran through a set of solid pop numbers including “Junk Of The Heart” and “Seaside”. All in all a solid performance.

The Temper Trap then had the honours of wrapping up the main stage – a band which had previously been rejected by the Australian music industry. I’m sure all the people who wouldn’t give the boys airplay back in the day would have been very regretful as the crowd sang along to hits like “Love Lost” and danced their asses off to “Drum Song”. It was a truly perfect way to finish the main stage.

Before I headed home, I darted back into the dance tent one last time to check out English singer/rapper Example. The party crowd was of course extremely responsive to any wobble of bass or sing along chorus as Example smashed out his set. Favourites such as “Change The Way You Kiss Me” and “Stay Awake” were highlights for my very sore legs and I.

Groovin’ The Moo was absolutely wonderful (as it always is), despite a couple of little mishaps. In the words of Example “We’ll be coming back for you one day”. Mooooooo.

[Follow me on Twitter @cormy96]