Between the riverside streets of Footscray, St Jerome’s Laneway festival was pounding the pavement between apartments, houses, warehouses and factories. With over 40 acts stuffed into a little under 12 hours, each of the four stages commanded a small army of a crowd. A carefully curated lineup of heavyweights, including Flume, CHVRCHES and Grimes, were interspersed between a solid showing of promising local talent. High Tension, Banoffee and Big Scary Laneway’s pull is many-tentacled: from heavier rock and metal acts like Violent Soho and High Tension, the lineup easily swings to pure DJ and electronica acts (East India Youth, Japanese Wallpaper, Hermitude and Hudson Mohawke) and again to rising indie stars (DIIV, Majical Cloudz and Shamir).
The crowd warmed up through the afternoon, swaying to the likes of Slum Sociable, Ali Barter and East India Youth, but by the time Thundercat appeared, the crowd was in full swing. By Hermitude, the crowd pulsed in waves, filling out completely the Very West Stage. Hermitude was beset by flaky laptops but the crowd kept dancing, moving to the impromptu beat (or lack thereof) until the Lion King singalong could get started.
Grimes’ act was opened by the loose-limbed Alison Van who captured the audience in a dance solo while Grimes made her way on stage. By the time she greeted the audience, she was rushing to catch her breath – the first two songs were interspaced with aerobic and acrobatic leaps. The last 3 hours were horribly stuffed with Flume, CHVRCHES and Purity Ring, each starting 15 minutes after the earlier act. It would not be humanly possible to catch all three acts, though some valiantly tried.
Flume’s set promised to be killer with the crowd treated to guest appearances by Kai, the singer featured on his new single Never Be Like You, and Vince Staples. Purity Ring graced the stage with ethereal lights hanging from the ceiling and a ring of jewels around the deck, winning over the crowd gathered on the lawn with their particular brand of creamy electronic pop.
CHVRCHES came on stage to chants for Lauren, but the crowd had to wait for MC Kieren to say a few words before the Glasgow-band would grace the Dean Turner Stage. Lauren bounded onto stage with Never Ending Circles against a violently pulsing light show. Flume, a Sydney boy, closed out the night with an emphatic “I LOVE YOU MELBOURNE”, before we all shuffled onwards and upwards to the afterparty, or, for those too spent to go on, home