Festival-goers swarm as LA-based singer-songwriter Finneas — better known as Billie Eilish’s brother — rolls onto the stage. Finneas delivers a hyper-theatrical performance; roll over his piano and pout the audience. His voice is flawless, but his bravery is a little frightening. He is followed by Norwegian indie pop star Girl In Red. She performs a powerful, heartfelt set full of her own profanity and rollicking humor.
If you’ve followed The Jungle Giants over the past 12 years, you’ve seen them grow from indie rock darlings to pop anthem heavyweights. However, their personable charm is still undiminished and they please their fans by tossing two disposable cameras into the crowd to pass them around.
Melbourne’s Laneway program has recently been revamped to allow online phenomenon Fred Again to have the 7pm festival all to themselves, following his secret sell-out show in Melbourne last weekend, which saw tickets sell-in in 3.4 seconds, according to reports were sold out.
The 29-year-old London producer plays a breathless electronic set, with videos of staff and singers projected onto the screen behind him as he strums his drum and synth pads. Fred Again’s gratitude and disbelief towards the audience is touching. His joy and humility in playing is a welcome change from the extravagance of previous acts.
Incongruous programming permeates the rest of the festival. Tens of thousands of fans pour out of the grounds at the end of Fred Again, just as Phoebe Bridgers opens with her understated hit, motion sickness. Such a dramatic rush of activity leads to a delayed focus on the scope of Bridger’s hauntingly beautiful set, both sonically and visually.
Japanese R&B rapper-singer Joji is arguably the most inopportune headliner to have ever performed at the festival. He, his hype man and two other bandmates play a sloppy, confusing hour of awkward, obnoxious jokes and gags, with poorly executed snippets of music interspersed. Meanwhile, British DJ Ross from Friends brings a meticulous set to a packed tent of dedicated listeners.
LA sisters Haim close out the festival with a sassy, electrifying performance. They call Melburnians their reputation for being the “craziest crowd and sexiest people alive.” The flattery and flirtation gets a little pretentious, but thankfully, the trio’s synchronized dancing and musical talent is undeniable.
A cultural guide to going out and making love in the city. Sign up for our Culture Fix newsletter here.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/music/laneway-festival-boasted-many-stars-but-lost-its-shine-somewhere-20230209-p5cjbq.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture Laneway Festival Melbourne