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Groovin’ The Moo Review

Last Saturday saw thousands of people congregate in Bendigo for the Groovin’ The Moo festival. Accomoodation had booked out a long time ago, all the bottle shops were sold out of mini Smirnoffs, and the roads from Melbourne to Bendigo were full with P-Platers. Everything was ready to go.

After a long but enjoyable roadtrip we arrived in Bendigo, checked into our mootel, and headed to the festival. We arrived at about 12.15, just after the very first acts had taken to the stages. We figured we would have to wait for at the very very moost half an hour to get in, so would be in plenty of time for Jonathan Boulet, the first act I wanted to see, at 1pm. How wrong we were.

Getting In

Half of my festival involved waiting to get into the festival. The line was just fucking ridiculous, stretching further than the eye could see in both directions, running along a traintrack of all things. It was probably a kilometer long.

We dutifully took our spot, on the railroad, but after only a few minutes everyone started leaving the line and sprinting down a sloping hill closer towards the festival entrance. Having no idea what was going on we decided to join in, and soon realised we were in fact storming another line that converged with the railway one a bit later on. Really though our panicked group sprint through a field didn’t advance our position in the massive line much at all.

Only later would we learn that there were actually 3 massive lines all converging on the one entrance, and that security were only letting in one line at a time. The organisation was a joke. It was like they had decided to open up a quarter of the gate at the entrance and just though “fuck it, we’ll just let the 15,000 people sort the rest out for themselves, I’m sure that won’t cause any problems at all”. It was the most appalling lack of organisation I have ever seen at a festival, especially when compared to the Big Day Out which had three times as many people, and you could simply stroll in.

There were no line markers and no authoritative figures overlooking the lines, meaning that they became steadily wider and wider as people tried to gain an advantageous spot. Meanwhile as we waited in our rightful spot there was a stream of people walking along the outside of the line, bypassing everyone who had been waiting for hours more than them; a procession of cunts.

Partly due to this, the pace was excruciatingly slow. For the majority of the time we were waiting, we couldn’t make out the end of the line in either direction, and had no idea how close we were to the entrance. Jonathan Boulet’s set came and went, which was shattering as he was one of my main reasons for going. When Lisa Mitchell’s set came and went and the entrance still wasn’t in sight, we were seriously close to leaving and going to a pub. People were starting to get seriously pissed off.

By the time the entrance was in sight, we had been waiting for three hours. Fuck off. I did’t pay $100 to wait in a line for half the festival, and miss two of my favourite acts, especially when there were only 15,000 people attending, which is comparatively tiny for a music festival. The organisation (or lack thereof) was a complete and utter fuck up and got the day off to a horrible start.

British India

By the time we finally got into the festival, at 3.20pm, after waiting for three hours, British India were just beginning at one of the two main stages. They had been yet another of my reasons for coming to this festival, but by the time we got inside we were so angry that all we really wanted to do was go to the bar and pay $10 each for several beers.

The licensed area was much larger than at the Big Day Out, which was good at least, and meant you felt less like you were in a cage. The bar area also overlooked all three stages, meaning drinking and watching music was no longer a mootually exclusive choice.

British India were enjoyable from a distance, but we were incredibly annoyed that we were too late to get a spot in the mosh, which looked like lots of fun. God Is Dead, Meet The Kids and I Said I’m Sorry got the set started, as everyone in the licensed area didn’t let our lack of proximity to the band stop us from screaming along with “I’m b-grade, underweight, but excited to be here”.

A cover of Nirvana’s Lithium was brilliant, and Run The Red Light, Tie Up My Hands, and Black And White Radio got the mosh going properly. The first single from their new album, Vanilla, works great live, as do the few other new songs they played.

British India were enjoyable from a distance but it couldn’t compare to when I saw them at the Corner, and in all fairness we were probably too busy being pissed off to enjoy them properly. I’ll definitely try to catch their album launch at the Corner coming up.

Miami Horror

…Are really bad. I’m sorry but they are. This set offered nothing whatsover- every song sounded the same, and the cowbell they add to moost of their music is just horribly out at place and a blatant attempt to be different and indie. Sometimes was fun but that’s about it. This was my third time seeing them live and I have enjoyed them less and less each time.

Spoon

These guys were the main drawcard of Groovin’ The Moo for me, and by this time I was desperately craving an act I could really just enjoy. Britt Daniel and co. didn’t disappoint of course.

This was a clinically masterful live set. Spoon played a satisfying mix of their new album and older songs, and despite leaving out a lot of huge hits from their set, were wholeheartedly satisfying. Britt Daniel was the perfect frontman, charming the entire crowd with his brief banter and genuine smile.

The crowd wasn’t really into it as much as I thought they might be, but Spoon isn’t really moshing music- you have to let it wash over you and appreciate the intricacies of it and the musical talent that has gone into creating it.

Don’t Make Me A Target received a huge amoont of applause when it was the first song off ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’ they played (I think), but material off ‘Transference’ also went over very well. Got Nuffin and Written In Reverse are just awesome to behold live.

Spoon finished with The Underdog, my favourite song of theirs, and this was far and away the highlight of the festival for me. It was awesome, and worked surprisingly well with a keyboard riff instead of horns. In that mooment, singing along to every word, I completely forgot about the line to get in.

And, way too soon, the set was over. The Lack of You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb was certainly disappointing, but Spoon have such a massive back-catalogue that they are never going to satisfy everyone with one setlist.

This was an absolutely awesome, unique, and enjoyable set.

Grinspoon

Alright fine, these guys used to be a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Even if I completely dropped off them after the appalling ‘Thrills Kills And Sunday Pills’, it was fun to hear Chemical Heart live for the first time, from the bar area, which used to be a song I could not get enough of many years ago. Seeing as I have satisfactorily embarrassed myself, I will moove on.

Empire Of The Sun

Heard them from the Vampire Weekend pre-mosh. So fucking boring. The dancers were fun though.

Vampire Weekend

In the leadup to Vampire Weekend taking the stage the mosh intensified to new levels. This was really strange given that they aren’t exactly a moshing band, but ultimately, despite having a spot in the first few rows, I decided to retreat back a bit simply because I couldn’t be bothered going through so much pushing.

In all fairness it was a very tame mosh compared to the likes of Muse at Big Day Out, the new year’s Falls moshes, and acts such as Franz Ferdinand, but I just wasn’t in the mood and was happy to stand back a bit on this one.

I should preface this by saying I’ve never really got into Vampire Weekend that much, always having found their lyrics really annoying. However live, they were one hell of a lot of fun.

Five chandeliers were hoisted above the stage, the cover of ‘Contra’ was placed as a backdrop, and the guys took to the stage. I don’t know the names of their songs very well, and was really just enjoying the constant stream of very fun music rather than individual songs, but I’ll do my best.

M79 was absolutely awesome, I know that much. This is one of the Vampire Weekend songs that I really enjoy in studio form as well, and live it was so very great, with that catchy hook of a chorus that got the whole crowd chanting and screaming.

A-Punk was of course all kinds of fun, as was One, where the band got the entire crowd screaming out “Blake’s got a new face” in unison. Oxford Comma was clearly enjoyed a lot by the crowd, so much so that I could nearly overlook the wankerishness of the lyrics hearing it live.

Songs from ‘Contra’ were greeted very warmly indeed: Cousins got the whole crowd mooving and Horchata provided a great singalong. Meanwhile Ezra Koenig, as much as it pains me to admit it, was utterly and completely charming as a frontman. He seemed like a genuinely nice down-to-earth guy, and was very appreciative of the crowd, saying it was “the best gig in a long time”. In a strange way his personality made the entire set so much more enjoyable for me- it was like his charm meant I could forget about the elements of Vampire Weekend’s music I had always found annoying in studio form.

Walcott was the perfect end to the set, and provided the crowd with one last reason to go nuts and scream along. The band and their chandeliers departed the stage, and the general consensus from those around me was that Vampire Weekend had “saved the festival”.

I honestly did not think I would enjoy this set nearly as much as I did. In fact I found myself wishing that I knew their music better so that I could get into it moore, and this of a band that I found quite annoying and over-hyped prior to hearing them live. I’m not sure whether I’m officially a convert or not yet, but what I can say is that this was a very very fun set.

End Of The Day

I’m not a fan of Silverchair and was way too dead on my feet to enjoy the Yack Club DJs, even though they were absolutely going off at the smaller stage. Meeting up with a few mates and grabbing a few more ridiculously over-priced drinks was in order, before making the long trek back to our accomoodation.

Overall

This was my first, and will be my last, Groovin’ The Moo. As fun as some  mooments were, for me the day never really recovered from the three-hour wait to get in, which was completely draining, meant I missed two of my main reasons for going, and rendered our pre-drinks completely useless.

Spoon were brilliant but I could have seen them in Melbourne in a much less expensive and longer gig. Oddly the main redeeming element of the day for me was the fact that it may mean I can finally get into Vampire Weekend

Don’t get me wrong the day was a lot of fun, mostly because I had a great group of mates at the festival. But ultimately there is just no way it was worth the $200+ I shelled out on a ticket, accomoodation, drinks, and petrol.

The organisation of getting into the festival was fucking appalling, and was not helped at all by those who saw themselves as important enough to push in ahead of those who had been waiting for hours.

I know this isn’t exactly the most endearing review, and can see it getting a lot of hate, but what can I do, this is simply how I found the Moo.

Abuse me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pluckmusicblog

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7 Responses to “Groovin’ The Moo Review”

  1. Yeah I just got back from the GTM in Townsville and I agree with some of the comments here. Townsville wasn’t as bad to get into 15-30min wait. I was lucky 20min wait. But the whole drinking area was a complete joke. BDO in Goldie allows you to walk around EVERYWHERE with your drinks so it really made it a dissappointment not being able to get some drinks and head on over to mosh.

    I agree with you on Miami Horrorible. Grinners on the other hand were hands down the best act. Overall it was an up and down day. Poor organisation is the reason behind this so hopefully in future GTM’s they fix this up.

  2. I swear to god… you missed out on some magic with Silverchair. I’m by no means a huge Chair fan. I didn’t even go to Groove In The Moo to specifically see them, it was mainly for Vampire Weekend, Spoon, Jonathan Boulet, Lisa Mitchell and Empire Of the Sun. BUT: I do respect a classic Aussie rock band (what precious few we have left now that Powderfinger is gone)… and I must say… to hear Freak, Ana’s Song, Straight Lines, Emotion Sickness, and a whole bunch of other songs I’d completely forgotten about or not heard in years… was just amazing. I’ve got a reborn respect for Silverchair. If you ever get the chance to see them again I highly recommend it. Because when they break up for good too and stop touring, it will be a sad day for Aussie music. What’s sad today, is the state of Australian music fans, that over half the festival would rather see one-half of Yacht Club DJs (who the fuck are they?) rather than an iconic Australian rock classic. Absolutely pathetic flippancy with fans in this country.

  3. One minor correction, Vampire Weekend ended their set with “Walcott” not “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”. This is forgiveable because the lyrics in Walcott go “Don’t you wanna get out of Cape Cod, out of Cape Cod tonight?” But the way to remember which one is Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa is to listen for the mention of Peter Gabriel. Gabriel did a cover of it, too, with Hot Chip, and it’s the most entertaining, surreal thing to hear him singing his own name in such an amusing way. Definitely go chase up that cover.

    • Ah okay, thanks for pointing this out. Like I said, not as knowledgeable about Vampire Weekend as I perhaps should be. Correction made.

  4. I was considering going to this but picked Regina Spektor instead. Seems like the right choice after reading this. Paying over $100 to stand in a line all day does not sound like fun.
    I’m glad to hear you liked Spoon and Vampire Weekend though.

    Also, Spectoral is right. That cover is full of win.

  5. glad you liked VW! they were loads of fun @ festival hall on wednesday
    but i get what you mean about them not being a really mosh-y band – it’s more like running-in-place-really-excitedly music haha

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SCAM Vibrations « Intentious - February 4, 2011

    […] worse and worse every year? I speak of disappointing artist line-ups, huge wait times in queues (who could forget the 3 hour wait at the gates for Groove In The Moo 2010), mass overcrowding and inadequate facilities, and the epitome of disrespect: canceling artists and […]

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