Review by Scott Singh
It was time yet again for regional juggernaut Groovin The Moo to hit the University of Canberra for a day of unforgettable musical acts that highlight the diversity of Australian music whilst also showcasing a few international superstars.
The day kicked off with a range of openers fighting for the attention of the early arrivals but it was Sydney based Gordi who had the crowd moving about with her blend of electro-folk tunes including the ominous number, “Can We Work It Out”. Even as an early performer, Harts commanded his time on stage, relishing in the pure joy that is Funk-Rock. The climax of his set ended with an emotive tribute to Prince; that personified his respect, admiration and pure love for the late artist.
As the day trailed on, attendees soon realised it was time to secure a spot at the main stages or the Moulin Rouge, if they wanted to get alongside their favourite performers. This in itself raised a difficult question. Do you stay outside in the heat and bounce along to the sounds of Boo Seeka and DZ Deathrays, in which these performers are notorious for drawing every ounce out of their audience; or do you retreat to the comfort of Moulin Rouge and enjoy ever changing mix of artists? With artists such as Remi hyping the crowd with his infectious rhymes to Vallis Alps luring onlookers into a trance with their refined soulful electronica, it was easy to spread yourself thin trying to witness all the acts.
Luckily this became less pertinent as the afternoon acts delighted the crowd with longer sets.
New York duo MS MR dazed onlookers with a brilliant barrage of pop anthems including Fantasy and Painted, which set the pace for the remainder of the festival. Then moments later it was Safia who drew in the largest crowd of the day so far, teasing fans with snippets of their upcoming album before ending with an explosive rendition of Take Me Over featuring a surprise appearance from Canberra local, Citizen Kay.
Under the guise of the dimming sunlight, Jarryd James took to the main stage and with it, isolated a chilled ambience that would not be seen again for the remainder of the festival. Though he himself is a quiet man, Jarryd soared throughout his performance with Give Me Something encouraging the crowd to shake off the cold before slipping into Do You Remember at the end of the performance to leave the crowd yearning for a little more.
What came next was visually the greatest performance of the night, Twenty One Pilots held nothing back during their set. Tyler Joseph presented a wealth of energy as he leapt from the various mic on stage, dropping supersonic rhymes that lost even the most faithful of fans; all this was supported by Josh Dun who handled all the percussions for the set. Smoke flared up and shrouded the performers during Ride and when Guns For Hands closed the set, fans were showered in a glory of confetti.
Rising up to the difficult task of following the previous performance, The Rubens used their music to assure fans, they were worthy of their hottest 100 title. Showcasing a majority of their latest release Hoops, the boys were accompanied by a backdrop of studio lights and nothing more, it was all about the music which was executed perfectly. There was even an insistence where frontman Sam Margin leapt onto an inflatable raft and surfed the crowd as the remainder of the band delved into a prolonged outro. The performance was very reminiscence of their comeback set during Splendour In The Grass 2015.
It was at this juncture that Boy & Bear reminded the crowd what a performance was like when a band has worked tirelessly for years to perfect their craft. Able to reach heights higher than any of their recorded material, the set lifted the best elements of their discography including Feeding Line, Harlequin Dream and the latest addition, Walk The Wire. Tight harmonies swept over the crowd in the cool of the night, seizing onlookers and bringing them to a halt.
Here we are left with the climatic performance by Alison Wonderland, who created tremors across the grounds as this EDM giant did everything from remix current hot tracks such as Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean to Zhu’s Working For It; to unleashing some deep trance onto the crowd, demanding any remnants of their life. From a mesmerising light shows to Ben Woolner from Safia joining in for Take Me To Reality, having Alison as the final performance ensured that each and every person in the crowd were getting the most out of their festival experience. If the people weren’t satisfied before Alison came on stage, they surely were when it came to the end of the festival.
During a time where we have seen the fall of so many great festivals, Groovin The Moo stands as a testimony for what people love and continues to nurture the passion of the fans and in that, the industry itself.
Festival: Groovin’ The Moo 2016, Canberra
Date: April 24, 2016
Featured Bands (in alphabetic order):
Alison Wonderland, Boo Seeka, Boy & Bear, British India, Danny Brown, Drapht, DZ Deathrays, Emma Louise, Genesis Owusu, Golden Features, Harts, Hockey Dad, In Hearts Wake, Jarryd James, MS MR, Polish Club, REMI, SAFIA, The Rubens, Turquoise Prince LTC, Twenty One Pilots, Vallis Alps