As glitter, rhinestones and psychedelic crop tops emerged from the depths of teenage drawers everywhere, and food trucks and hatchbacks congregated, Falls Festival 2016 was ready for an action-packed four days.
In earshot of the Valley Stage, fast-paced dance music was constant and familiar.
Day 2 delivered English pop star, AlunaGeorge, who with an orange bodysuit and mad dancing skills, drew crowds from all corners of the festival. Iconic New Zealand seven-piece, Fat Freddy’s Drop, played a very jazzy set in what can only be described as eclectic performance wear.
In the cloudy night, duo Broods flooded the Valley Stage with purple strobe lights, flashing neon and electric bass drops. The entire mosh pit danced in sync to catchy electronica, with hit single ‘Bridges’ cut with a quicker, stronger beat.
Childish Gambino made his (shirtless) appearance just before midnight, with legions of sweaty fans dashing to the front of the already packed mosh. We all joined in a major singalong to ‘Sober’ and ‘Sweatpants’, with Gambino supported only by drums and a keyboard. He proclaimed his (obviously genuine) love for all of us, as ‘3005’ electrified the crowd and we begged for an encore.
For those seeking refuge from sunlight, or a sort of prelude to an action-packed evening, Rancho Relaxo or The Village offered stand-up comedy, open mics and general vibes during the day. Comedy duo The Stevenson Experience worked a hilarious rhyming musical routine and Joel Creasey had the entire Grand Theatre (and queues of people outside) laughing like we’d all been best friends forevs.
On Day 3, Australian indie pop royalty The Jezabels rocked the early evening crowds with crashing drums and symbols, the audience captivated by lead singer Hayley Mary’s incredible stage presence. Openers ‘Mace Spray’ and ‘Endless Summer’ were favourites, while two rounds of crowd surfing granted Mary an eager pash from a front-row fan.
The lowering afternoon sun formed the perfect backdrop to the softer sounds of Ball Park Music. With a Vampire Weekend-style set and a mom-jean wearing lead singer, the group played ‘Nihilist Party Anthem’ to a bopping crowd. The sunset was then made even more beautiful by Matt Corby. A huge singalong to ‘Brother’ was bettered by Corby’s own incredible husky tones and unassuming star-quality (he came on stage to position his own guitar and mic before the set).
Later, on New Year’s Eve, The Rubens’ lead singer poured a drink for the (quite literally) fallen, and lit a cigarette. Hit single ‘Hoops’ (voted Number 1 in last year’s Triple J’s Hottest 100) was no doubt the hit of the set, followed by the super catchy ‘Hold Me Back’. As the sun set, psychedelic rockers Pond electrified legions of hyper-excited teenage boys, and a fearful mosh pit dramatically parted ways to give way to huge spinning mosh circles. (“Dude I LOVE your pond t-shirt!!!!!!!” “Naw dude I love yours!!!!!!!!”)
The countdown came, and Australian six-piece The Avalanches satisfied everyone in sight with colourful on-stage projections, super catchy beats and feel-good music. Not a single body was still while the band played ‘Subway’ or ‘Because I’m Me’.
Super cool Adelaidean, Tkay Maidza, then led us into the new year with awesome rhymes, Beyoncé-esque confidence and pink strobe lights, brightening the night. It truly was a very Happy New Year. Thanks again, Falls!