By Deb Kloeden, Rock at Night Australian correspondent
Venue: Adelaide Showground, Wayville, 26th April 2019
It was a cool, windy day as I headed into the first of this year’s GROOVIN THE MOO festivals in Adelaide. Groovin The Moo hold a series of one-day festivals over three weekends in several, mostly regional locations in Australia. Adelaide is lucky to be the first.
I arrived early to see the Adelaide acts on the bill, OLLIE ENGLISH, WING DEFENCE, PINKISH BLUE and THE MONTREALS. I have followed Ollie English for some time now and love his soulful tunes and charismatic stage presence. Groovin The Moo could have given him a longer set time. It was all over too soon. I have seen Pinkish Blue and The Montreals as support acts before. Both are impressive emerging bands. I enjoyed Wing Defence. They are an energetic, Indie/Pop/Rock female duo who have a bright future ahead of them.
I was keen to see Melbourne singer-songwriter ANGIE MCMAHON again. She has been turning heads since 2013 when she won the chance to open for Bon Jovi. Since then she has gone from strength to strength, building up a big fan base along the way. She played a faultless set including the very popular ‘Slow Mover’ and ‘Missing Me’.
G FLIP is another impressive female multi-instrumentalist. She bounced around the stage delivering her catchy, pop tunes. More lady talent came in the form of HAIKU HANDS, an impressive foursome who combine dance, performing art and vocals. The transparent masks they wore gave them a mysterious appearance. Their bass driven pop is a great way to get a party started. I really enjoyed THELMA PLUM’s set despite her suffering a cold. She delivers her soulful Pop with lots of charming charisma. Her latest release, ‘Not Angry Anymore’ received a huge reaction from the crowd.
It was time for some more solid hardcore, so I headed over to see TROPHY EYES who had the crowd jumping right from the start. Their anthem-style hit ‘You Can Count On Me’ had everyone singing at the top of their lungs. I’d been waiting to see Indie-rockers HOLY HOLY, long time favourites of mine. They combine layered vocals with heavy guitar riffs. They are a well-established feature on many festival line-ups these days. I was lucky enough to chat with vocalist Timothy Carroll who was strolling through the crowd before their set. We both commented on feeling ‘old’ amongst the very young crowd.
Acid/Pop sweetheart JACK RIVER was up next, with her dreamy vocals and sing-along hits. She gave a dazzling performance. DMA’S need no introduction. They are firmly placed as one of Australia’s finest bands with their familiar, loveable Manchester sound and deadpan stage show. They hit the ground running with their debut single ‘Delete’ back in 2012 and haven’t looked back since. They drew a huge crowd at Groovin The Moo. Playing at almost the same time was Norway’s AURORA. This young (22 year-old) dreamy, pint-sized angel, whirled and dazzled her way round the stage, delivering sounds as magical as the Northern Lights. Her sound flows in curtains that ebb and flow like a dancing Aurora.
In complete contrast, I next headed over to see the classic Aussie funky/rock band REGURGITATOR. They treated punters to new songs and old with ever-popular hits like ‘!(The Song Formerly Known As)’ and ‘Polyester Girl’. They certainly haven’t lost their appeal. Australia’s Indie-electro trio CROOKED COLOURS were up next. I saw them last at New Year in New Zealand and have been keen to see them again. They treated their followers to new music from their up-coming second album ‘Langata’, due for release on May 17th. They deliver a unique sound of atmospheric beats, soft vocals, dreamy synths and hypnotic guitar. They’re about to start an extensive Australasian tour, so check them out if you can.
You never know who’s going to make the bill at Groovin The Moo. This year brought the return of Grammy award-winning act COOLIO, probably best known for his 1995 hit ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’. Delivering a definite hip-hop sound, I was pleased to see the young ones lining up to ‘get down’ with this esteemed homie.
I was very excited to find electronic dance duo SOFI TUKKER on the Groovin The Moo line-up. They hit my radar with the release of their debut single ‘Drinkee’ in 2016, which had me dancing from first listen. They decorated their synth player and microphone stand with large artificial leaves to give a jungle look. Hanging behind them were seven illuminated image frames, which doubled at electronic percussion instruments, adding a really unique feature to their set.
Next I had to decide between Denmark’s Pop sensation MØ, and Aussie enigma NICK MURPHY (Aka Chet Faker) because they were playing at the same time. It was a hard call, but I had been waiting a long time to see Nick Murphy live, so I chose him. Sadly we photographers were not allowed in the photo pit to shoot his show and by the time we realized were not going to photograph him, it was far too late to negotiate the huge crowd to get to MØ. I watched Nick Murphy’s set and enjoyed seeing him work his way around soundboard and piano, all the while delivering mesmerising vocals.
A further disappointment was not being allowed to photograph USA’s Pop phenomenon BILLIE EILISH. The crowd was much too thick to negotiate to watch their set, so I called it a night at this point. It had been a long day and my sixth full festival day in the last eight. There are plenty of other artists on the bill at Groovin The Moo and still four more events to go.
Exhibition Park, Canberra – April 28,
Prince Of Wales Showground, Bendigo – May 4,
Murray Sports Complex at Townsville Cricket Grounds – May 5
Hay Park, Bunbury – May 11.
Groovin The Moo is a fun all-day Festival that showcases a huge range of premium international and homegrown acts. Check it out if you can.
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