Festival reviews are always fraught.
Writers will try to tell you who the best acts of the day were, but in reality it’s just the best of who they wanted to see.
Not that this is their fault, it’s just that the human race hasn’t yet discovered a failproof method of traversing spatial and temporal planes – and as such, we can’t be at multiple stages at once.
So we won’t tell you that these were the ‘Best Sets You Missed At Laneway’ or ‘The Bands That WON Laneway’ or some other thinly veiled lie. We respect you, our loyal readers too much for that.
BUT we did have a blast on Sunday and these are some words about some of the bands we saw accompanied with some photos we took.
Rex Orange County
Alexander O’Connor, the devastatingly talented 20-year-old wunderkind from England staggered onto the stage just as the festival really started to kick into full swing.
Backed by his very own horn section, O’Connor breathed life into the afternoon crowd with frenzied renditions of ‘Uno’ and ‘Sunflower’ before crooning his way through singalong tracks like ‘Corduroy Dreams’ and a breezy cover of Alicia Keys’ ‘No-One’.
And just as the doof-hunting punters were getting visibly restless with the slower tracks, he brought the house down with an enormous rendition of his smash hit ‘Loving Is Easy’.
ROC has long been touted as the next big thing and with a stage presence that belies his years and a willingness to take creative risks on stage, it’s not hard to see why.
What So Not
Emoh doesn’t need Flume.
The Sydney boy’s homecoming slot as the sun went down made it clear that What So Not has emerged as a bonafide success in its own right.
Chris Emerson’s solo project showed off the most ambitious iteration of his live show yet with a revolving door of live singers and musicians (including Emerson himself going full Dave Grohl on the drumkit and trigger-pad), dazzling visuals and obligatory giant inflatables.
Rotating seamlessly between hip-hop, trap and euphoric dance tracks, Emoh had the crowd in the palm of his hand and topped it off with a Daniel Johns cameo (who featured twice on What So Not’s first full-length album) during his epic version of Silverchair’s ‘Freak’.
Gang Of Youths
After a jaw-dropping, coming-of-age performance at Splendour In The Grass and a string of headline performances across the country, Gang Of Youths fans knew what to expect from their live show.
A dripping, ferocious David Le’aupepe steering the ship, a doting crowd in full voice and a spine-tingling mix of euphoria and melancholy.
They rolled out all of the big guns, kicking things off with ‘Fear And Trembling’, finishing with ‘Say Yes To Life’ (with a dash of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’) and having every other crowd favourite you’d want in between.
Who knows if this is the peak for Gang Of Youths, but the next frontier has got to be overseas because they’ve already conquered Australia.