THIS is my second year reviewing Falls Festival in Fremantle – like last year an eclectic mix of bands made appearances, as did the glittered up punters, the skimpy clothing on both genders, just add bad op shop tees and seedy moustaches to the guys.
Drugs appeared to be the big theme at this year’s festival – there were drug warnings, messages to hydrate and warnings about pills.
Signs told unwell people who had taken drugs to seek out medical staff “they won’t tell police or your parents”.
Despite media reports to the contrary, drug culture at festivals hasn’t changed in 20 years and I’d know, I’ve been going to them for that long.
People were taking MDMA, speed and cocaine then and they’re taking it now.
We watched one girl in her late teens get her cocaine taken confiscated on the way in – “it’s so sad” she said to a friend.
Another festival-goer spent Sunday using the pass out availability to go home and take his drug of choice.
Both seemed in good spirits though – which is more than can be said about some of the drunken louts.
There was Nintendo set up on a giant screen for those sick of the mosh, Iconic provided a clothes shop for anyone so inclined, there was also a steady stream of people (pardon the pun) having their urine tested at the State government’s STD testing tent.
The only let down this year was organisers crushing the entire festival on to one oval – in previous years there was more room with performers spread out over a wider area.
Back to the music though, which is why we were all there.
Standouts on day one – New South Wales surf rockers Hockey Dad got the crowd jumping before it was time to mellow out to Dean Lewis’s melancholy guitar.
The hit song Be Alright was a sing-a-long favourite, as were his covers of Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen and Don’t Look Back in Anger by Oasis.
He was followed by Aria darling Amy Shark and she is worth every one of those awards. Her voice didn’t falter and she belted out Adore and I Said Hi. But it was her cover of Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag that truly delighted the crowd.
Dizzee Rascal, unfortunately, clashed with Chvches. This old girl decided to head to Dizzee Rascal’s stage for nostalgia’s sake. The British rapper was still high energy and put on a fun performance.
Dizzee was wasted on the back stages – the massive crowd that flocked to his set proved he deserved a main stage for his performance.
On day two we didn’t return when gates opened at midday – instead due to the heat – we leisurely strolled in to see Ocean Alley at 3pm. However, we needn’t have worried the sea breeze kept everyone cool throughout the arvo.
Ocean Alley have a new fan in me – cemented with their cover of Baby Come Back and their song Confidence is a tune and deserves its top spot on the Triple J hottest 100 betting predictions.
My concert buddy is a mega fan of the DMA’s, but said she was disappointed in their set, despite their performances of favourites Delete and In The Air.
In 2017, it was Daryl Braithwaite song Horses that all the kids were obsessed with and in 2018, it was Toto’s Africa.
It was their song Rosanna that had everyone dancing though and their cover of The Beatles’ While my Guitar Gently Weeps also proved popular.
All the phones came out and Insta stories and Snapchats were sent off when they played Africa.
I first saw the Hilltop Hoods perform in 2007, I reckon whether you enjoy Aussie hip hop or not, you’d have to agree they’ve become some of Australia’s top performance.
They opened with Chase that Feeling, which would be well known to any fan of AFL.
The anthemic Nosebleed Section seems slightly out of place in 2018 though – crowds these days are tame compared to those in the early 2000s. They closed with the fun Cosby Sweater.
The biggest crowd of the day went to Vance Joy who left most of the women and some of the men with a massive crush by the end of his set.
I’d say there’s no better way to spend a Sunday, than watching Vance Joy play, while drinking a cocktail in a paper cup while the sun goes down.
His music is mellow, popular and catchy – who doesn’t know the words to Riptide?
I was excited to see Interpol play – their tune Evil easily ranks on my top ten songs of all time list.
However, you couldn’t hear them play from the stands, luckily they attracted the smallest main stage crowd of the day, so there was no battling the crowds to watch them.