Just as the Beach Boys had envisaged, all of Australia was feelings those (all together now) – Good Vibrations! One of the most adored and anticipated events of the dwindling summer; Good Vibrations’ yearly occurrence is l
ike a ray of musical sunshine. With an impressive and formidable line-up, this year’s Good Vibrations festival was the most eclectic to date, despite being relocated to the uninspiring surrounds of the Flemington Racecourse.
As with any festival, there were significant clashes between the day’s main acts and the dense crowd made switching between stages somewhat difficult. Nonetheless, the blend of old and contemporary artists meant the day was always going to be enjoyable, one way or another.
The sensational Hercules in NY opened the day’s festivities by pumping out their electro pop tunes on the main Good Vibrations stage. An utterly tremendous feat for the boys from Melbourne and a clear display that more success awaits this vibrant and energetic band.
Across the way at the Laundry stage, John Course was certainly getting everyone in a spin with his most wanted dance and house hits, whilst mate and fellow disc jockey Grant Smilie followed suit.
Art Vs Science was a surprisingly dominant force on stage, with lead singer Dan McNamee ripping off his shirt through the set and belting out their pop rock tunes. Despite a controversial second place on Triple J’s Hottest 100 with _ Parlez Vous Francais _, these Aussie lads showed the massing crowd just why they deserved the recognition.
It was obvious at the completion of the AvS set, that no one was budging from their Main Stage positions. The most anticipated act was to soon grace the stage – the lycra wearing, puffa jacket sistas of spice, Salt-n-Pepa. With dancers leading the two ladies on stage, it was clear that the years had not wearied these two divas of rap, hip hop and pop. Looking absolutely fabulous decked out in black from head to toe, Salt-n-Pepa were joined by their disc turning counterpart, Spinderella. Dropping classics like Let’s Talk About Sex, Push It and Shoop had the entire crowd trying to keep up with the quick and sassy rap rhymes and grinding to the iconic hip hop beat.
It brought us all back to the time when we owned a Salt-n-Pepa cassette and secretly listened to Let’s Talk About Sex on our chunky Walkmans, out of the ear shot of our parents. The trio has not lost any of their smooth moves or tongue in cheek attitude, the entire set was so full of positive energy and happy reminiscing from the late eighties and early nineties.
Gossip were next on the main stage agenda, with Miss Beth Ditto looking resplendent in her aptly decorated sky blue tight-fitting dress, complete with cream pies and hotdogs embellished across it. Belting out hits such as Standing in the Way of Control, Heavy Cross and Love Long Distance, Ditto’s impeccable vocals and carefree attitude confirmed her superstar status and reaffirmed Gossip as the most relevant band on the day’s line-up.
Between DJ Steve Lind’s musical intervals, the crowd reformed to witness the most entertaining group this side of the cosmos – the irresistible and effervescent, Basement Jaxx!
BJ are music festival gurus, with loads of colour, attitude, fun and dancing. It was a set that satisfyingly leant on their classics, with phenomenal tracks such as Good Luck, Red Alert and of course, Where’s Your Head At? all given a run out. The ground was thumping as punters also enjoyed Felix breaking out his own vocals for a spine tingling version of Raindrops, as well as fellow new track, She’s No Good. With half a dozen vocalists either displaying their Jamaican roots, dressed as a golden bride, or krumping and wiggling their way through the set, it was an outstanding display of fun and talent.
As the sun set with a glorious explosion of pink over the Melbourne sky, American producer and DJ Armand Van Helden delivered some hard house to the punters over at the Laundry stage. It was, however, hard not to be distracted by the lights coming from the main stage, as The Killers arrived to close the festival. Having cancelled their appearances at other capital cities due to a family tragedy, Melbourne was lucky enough to enjoy this set from the Las Vegas natives. Despite the wind causing some havoc to sound, the crowd was immersed in this set with chart topping tracks such as Somebody Told Me, Mr. Brightside and Smile Like You Mean It.
Catching the above acts meant missing other noteworthy performers such as Naughty by Nature, Kid Cudi and Busta Rhymes. Perhaps that only serves to highlight the strength of the festival though, proving that Good Vibrations should be around for some time.