Laneway @ RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane, 01.02.2020
By Jennifer Cheshire
The 1975 may have been a last-minute cancellation at Brisbane Laneway Festival this year, however the day as always, does not disappoint. Solid sets from the Last Dinosaurs, Tones and I, and other Aussie talent like Spacey Jane, Hatchie and Hope D keep the good vibes going all day.
The sun is shining, people are in high spirits and the cooling breeze is greatly welcomed by all. At times I’m not sure if I’ve stumbled onto the set of the 90’s cult hit Clueless, with baby pink the colour of choice and a sea of matching plaid, sundresses and pigtail buns surrounding me. Intertwined with this is a fruity bonanza – watermelon, banana, pineapple, avocado and pear prints dominating the scene.
Early on, I’m pleasantly surprised to hear the great vocals of Miiesha calling from the Spaced Out stage. I hadn’t planned on seeing her set – RnB, Gospel and Soul are not typically what I love. Miiesha is a strong, proud Pitjantjatjara/Torres Strait Islander woman from the small Aboriginal community of Woorabinda in Central Queensland and her music is a little reminiscent of the 90’s girl group TLC. Though her set draws a small crowd to the front of the stage, the fan base is much larger from the tree shaded seats nearby. Her authenticity and didgeridoo infused tunes inspire a wild haired man to dance solo in the most fun-loving and free-spirited fashion I see all day. She’s definitely an act worth seeing.
Next up is Hope D and she’s by far the best find of the day. The Brisbane alt-pop musician has tracks that are more infectious than coronavirus. She starts her set with “Miscommunicate” and by her second song, I’m singing out “kiss me one more time” – words to a tune I’d never heard before. She’s sweet, energetic, sparky and raw. Hope D plays some great guitar riffs and with her all-female 4-piece band, gets everyone jumping around and having fun. There’s something about her that reminds me of Amy Shark, perhaps her honest heart felt lyrics or it could be her youthful enthusiasm. Whatever it is, I need more Hope D in my life!
As anticipated, Tones and I draws a huge crowd to the Good Better Best stage. The mass of people only seems to grow as she sings and talks to her fans, sharing stories about her life and recent trip to LA. Having only caught a little of the ‘Dance Monkey’ craze, I’m happy to sit back and watch from the stands. There is no other way to say it – she has a BIG voice; the power and notes she can hold are incredibly impressive. That voice combined with strong beats creates a carnival type vibe; there are people doing cartwheels and flips and spinning each other around. Tones and I brings the festival alive.
Hockey Dad give us a taste of their Aussie surfer rock, the band saying this is one of the largest crowds they’d played to. I have high expectations, liking the band from their triple j unearthed days back in 2014. Unfortunately, they don’t strike much of a chord with me at Laneway. I must have been part of the minority on this however – in the peak of the day’s sweltering heat, the throng of people clamber onto shoulders and enthusiastically throw their arms up in the air for more Hockey Dad.
Spacey Jane have a hot and frenzied start and finish. Their melodic indie pop rock gets everyone moving and clapping along. For anyone that likes Circa Waves, you cannot help but be a fan of this great Freo band. They finish their set as the sun faded with the track ‘Good for You’. Laneway is the group’s first national tour, but I’m sure this is only the beginning for such a talented band.
Hatchie looks fabulously serene as she plays her guitar on the Future Classic stage. She’s another artist I’ve been keen to see live and I was lucky enough to be front of stage for. I couldn’t help but dance to her dream pop tunes, with a smile from ear to ear. The hometown crowd love every moment, her songs ‘Stay with Me’ and ‘Obsessed’ going down a treat.
Just before the Last Dinosaurs play, Laneway announce the cancellation of the festival’s main stage headliners, The 1975, due to ill health. Thankfully, the festival still has this ever-reliable indie rock band to depend on for energising the crowd. You can’t sit still when Last Dinosaurs begin to play, their catchy hooks and choruses and even get a younger patron’s mum up and dancing. ‘Zoom’ was a definite crowd-pleaser, after which many people then make their way to the Never Let It Rest stage for the DMA’s. Last Dinosaurs were the perfect note to end on. While I stick around to see a little of the DMA’s, I found their set is lacking – possibly due to being caught at the back of the giant shed they are playing in.
All in all, it’s a great day and I can’t wait for Laneway 2021.