Homebake is my second favourite festival of the year (to Splendour in the Grass) and I was so pumped to head down to the Domain in Sydney last Saturday to be immersed in the best Australian music has to offer. I had studied the timetable and had my day packed with almost 12 hours of musical goodness starting from 11:20am.
My day started off at the Main stage for Philadelphia Grand Jury. The duo has exploded on to the Australian music scene in 2009, accompanied by a guest drummer from the US who was going off! The whole band had it “goin’ on” as they say; even though bassist MC Bad Genius had bronchitis they pushed through for a slamming set. Highlights included hits like “Going to the Casino” and “I’m gonna kill you” from the Philly Jays debut album, “Hope is For Hopers” released this year and recorded on a budget of $3000 by vocalist/guitarist Berkfinger. The guys put on an energetic, raw and somewhat crazy show, ending with Bad Genius dropping his bass and storming off stage, Berkfinger walking round in circles and repeatedly singing the same line and eventually unscrewing drum cymbals and rolling them off stage. Rock and Roll!!
Next, it was over to the Hopetoun stage for Triple J Unearthed winners, Boy & Bear who were fantastic. This 4-piece embrace 70’s folk rock and sound like they’ve come down from a pure and untainted life in the mountains somewhere with pure harmony pulsing through their veins and it was pure heaven for my ears and my heart. Yeah, I was loving it. They sound like a sort of mix of The Shins and Fleet Foxes- so you can imagine how gorgeous that sounds- they are in my video diary so take a look and listen. This was definitely one of my stand outs of the day. Band members Dave Hosking, Killian Gavin, Tim Hart and Jake Tarasenko were overwhelmed by the turnout (the tent was packed) saying it was double the size of the largest crowd they’ve ever had. And I think they’re only going to get better.
After rushing over the The Middle East for a couple of songs, and hearing something a bit different from them (they had a bit of a country twang) it was back over to the Hopetoun stage for Castle Hill locals Jonathan Boulet. One thing I can say is that I didn’t expect them to be so young! But age obviously isn’t a barrier for talent because these guys were also great. I was engaged for all of the group’s songs but enjoyed the single “A Community Service Announcement” the best. They have such a young, fresh, sweet, fun vibe that breathed light and happiness to the whole tent, everyone was bopping and dancing and the boys should be commended for an impressive performance.
After some time under the trees, it was back to the Hopetoun stage for Parades who had a different lineup to last time I saw them (I think). Two members were guest performers from Hopetoun band incentive winners Kyu who contributed on vocals, keys and percussion. The band even bought along a horns section which surely impressed!
After some food we headed to the Big Top for the first time for the day and I was looking forward to a dance at the Aston Shuffle. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the guys, I expected to hear their original tracks that I really loved, but it was more like a DJ set then a live set. While the crowd went off to the Bloody Beetroots and other popular dance artists, I really wanted to dance to Aston Shuffle hits, they only ripped out their hit “Everyone” as the last song of the set- at least I was pleased by that.
After a slight hospital incident (my friend got in a fight with an inanimate object and needed stitches) I had time to catch the end of Phrase’s set in the Big Top and I was so stoked to catch my favourite song of his, “Spaceship”. I had a terribly fun time during that track and danced my heart out- which is always fun.
Then it was back to the Hopetoun stage (it really was the place to be today!) for my old time faves, the Red Riders. And boy did they come ready to impress!? Armed with songs new and old, Alex and the boys were full of energy and swagger- strumming, smashing and singing out in classic Red Riders fashion. While they didn’t play my favourite song (I Think You’re Blind- from their first EP- The Plan A) the amazing performance made me forgive them for omitting that small detail. The set included stellar songs from the bands debut album “Replica Replica” like C’mon, Slide in Next To Me, A.S.P.I.R.I.N, My Love is Stronger Than Your Love and my favourite of the day, Scream and tracks from the new album “Drown in Colour” including Ordinary, Tomorrow/Today and You’ve Got a Lot of Nerve. And to the guy that kept telling frontman Alex to get a haircut- get a life! He has the coolest fringe! GREAT job Red Riders! Love you always.
I’d planned to stay on at the Hopetoun for the Howling Bells, but was dragged to the Hilltop Hoods-which isn’t a bad thing!! The boys definitely are the kings of Aussie hip-hop and chilling and sitting on the grass during this set was just what I needed at this time of the day.
At 8pm it was time to head back to the Hopetoun stage (for the last time today!) for Yves Klein Blue. These boys had were super slick with a cute, boppy, rock-a-billy style while still remaining raw, real and connected embodying and personifying the title of their debut album “Ragged and Ecstatic” perfectly. Guitarist Charles Sale won’t shy away from a killer solo either!! Apart from impressing the crowd with hits like “Getting Wise,” “Polka” and “Make Up Your Mind the real crowd pleaser was the Bruce Springsteen cover “Born To Run” which had the whole crowd screaming “Baby, we were born to ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!!!”
Now the headliners for each stage were tough ones to pick… I had to totally ditch Eddy Current Suppression Ring (unfortunately) and planned to split my time between Sarah Blasko at the Dome(9:15- 10), Midnight Juggernauts at the Big Top (10-10:30) and then close with Powderfinger at the Main Stage til 11pm.