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Splendour Spotlight

So we all know that Splenour In The Grass has some huge names in the lineup this year. But to me, the real strength of the festival lies in the quality of the smaller bands, both Australian and international. So whether you’re after acts to see earlier in the day, or want to avoid the enormous crowds that will inevitably flock towards the bigger bands, here’s a bit of information on five Splendour bands you may not have heard of.

[ALPINE]


Villages

Alpine will be one of the bands representing Melbourne at Splendour In The Grass. They’ve enjoyed deservedly rave reviews for their debut EP ‘Zurich’, and have become something of a Triple J darling. But it’s for a good reason: they play genuinely brilliant pop music with just a hint of darkness and a decidedly Scandinavian vibe. 

It’s enchanting stuff that lulls you into something of a hypnotic state before jerking you back to reality with powerful guitar riffs and powerful choruses. Their live shows have also been met with a great critical response, and they’ve secured some very enviable support acts opening for the likes of Sparkadia.

This is great music that I think will suit a festival atmosphere very well. Unfortunately they’ll probably be played in the morning, which won’t suit their moody music very well, but look for them to put on a fantastic set nonetheless.

[GUINEAFOWL]


Botanist

Guineafowl’s music is a curious mix of electronic elements, a decidedly ‘bedroom music’ feel, and strong vocals. At the same time as it is layered and unconventional however, it is also instantly accessible and very, very likable. 

Despite beginning as a solo project, Guineafowl has expanded to a full six-person band. Their music is surprisingly infectious, and you’ll find yourself listening to single Botanist in particular over and over again without realising it. This isn’t brash music, it doesn’t jump out at you and demand attention. It is attention grabbing, not attention seeking. 

My only concern is that I imagine Guineafowl’s music would be rather difficult to translate to a live setting, but I have little doubt that they will still be very enjoyable indeed.

[KIMBRA]


Cameo Lover

It won’t be for much longer that you will hear the words Kimbra and ‘may not have heard of’ associated with one another. Hailed by some as ‘Australia’s answer to Florence’, Kimbra is another of the Melbourne representatives at Splendour (although she was born in New Zealand).

First thing’s first: her voice is unbelievably brilliant; she is easily one of the best Australian female vocalists at the moment. And she plays to this strength with her music, utilising sweeping choruses and quirky jazz elements that allow her voice to really shine. Her latest single, Cameo Lover, is an insanely infectious song, and if this doesn’t get a festival crowd dancing and singing along then I’m not quite sure what will.

[WILD BEASTS]


The Devil’s Crayon

Wild Beasts are quite the big deal internationally, however haven’t really received the attention that they deserved in Australia when they have toured here in the past. I was lucky enough to see them live at last year’s Laneway festival, even if it was only from a distance at the end of the day, and it was a magical moment. They have a fantastic sense of energy about them as a live band, and while their studio music is also great I think that they really shine with an audience in front of them.

Their third studio album, ‘Smother’, is due for release in a few days, and it will be interesting to see how the band adjust to their increased backcatalogue. The record is just as strong as their earlier music however, so there is no fear of ‘Smother’ diluting the quality of their live show. 

I’m somewhat unsure as to how an Australian festival crowd will respond to this type of nuanced, complex music, but one thing is for certain: Wild Beasts’ Splendour set is not to be missed.

[ELBOW]


Grounds For Divorce

Elbow are one of the most under-appreciated bands of our generation. They’ve been making music together for more than twenty years now, have released five critically acclaimed studio albums and wowed audiences in their home country of the UK with their powerful live show, but yet they’ve never really broken into the mainstream.

I saw them play live at my first ever music festival, the 2009 V Festival, and they were simply fantastic. Their 2008 album ‘The Seldom Kid’ is a masterpiece, featuring the raw power of Grounds For Divorce, which you’ve almost certainly heard in one form or another, and the impossibly restrained and beautiful One Day Like This

Elbow’s music is driven by emotion, and their live show is no different. These guys are one of my most anticipated acts of Splendour In The Grass.

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3 Responses to “Splendour Spotlight”

  1. I really like this article. I wasn’t drawn at all to the big acts but really like the small act line up. Pity for me it’s so far away and costly.

  2. I can’t wait to see Elbow. Thought their Coachella set was insane

  3. Great article.. saw Alpine supporting Sparkadia a while back, were ggreeeat!

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