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the short of it (crossposted from my own journal) - Meredith Music Festival

About the short of it (crossposted from my own journal)

Previous Entry the short of it (crossposted from my own journal) Dec. 17th, 2004 @ 12:10 pm Next Entry
Meredith was wonderful.
The weather was crazy,
I saw the dirty three play from side of Meredith stage,
& I thought it'd be a few more years & a famous band before that'd happen.

I can hardly remember who was playing on Friday night yet without looking at the programme. But I do remember their performances. Ok. Car'd it down on Friday with three friends in a little four wheel drive, red to match the vols car pass I had so we could get through the que quicker. Still, got there bit late to catch the first two bands (Digger & the Pussycats, & Die!die!die!) Couldn't find a space in Bushland to park the car & have room for the tents so I decided to bugger off to Tasmania which suited me fine. Caught a bit of Always but didn't really take it in gotta say. Liked the redsunband, even with the HUGE THUNDERSTORM that decided to announce it's presence rather forcefully as myself and a couple of friends were making our way to the stage from tent. They decided (panicked?) halfway & went back the car to get some more appropriate weapons & attire to battle the storm, while I persevered with my little umbrella. Aint never seen a storm at Meredith before, & was talking later to someone who'd had a chat with Jack Nolan, the 60something yr-old who's family have owned the farm for generations (so I've heard?), who'd said he aint never seen a storm like that in all his years there. So, I think that might help you get the idea of the kinda storm twas. And you know what? It didn't dampen no ones spirits none. People were dancing in it!
Enough weather for now.

67 Special I'd been looking forward to seeing these guys again, & they lived up to my high expectations. Rock. (rather than a rock-covers band, mention no names) I like 'em.
Wolf & Cub hmm alright. I recall Wolfmother better. Got a kiss from a lovely ex-brisbane boy I'd been talking to.
I was a little disappointed with Groundies, they just weren't as tight as I remember & the singer seemed a little out of it. The fairy lights everywhere were looked great, but seemed a little gimicky. They'd warmed into it by the end. Wasn't bad, just wasn't great.
Cobra Killer. Their performance certainly made an impression. What can I say about them. Crazy Germans? maybe. I kept being reminded of the Nick Cave bio I read recently & the talking in it about how during The Birthday Party years they were destroying themselves on stage (I guess there's a whitlams lyric reference there as well) & how that destructive tendancy was what audiences came to expect & demand from the band. Well watching these two ladies was like that, watching them destroy themselves to the entertainment of the audience. I'm not going to go into the psychology behind that. The males around loved it, that's for sure. Performance wise it could've been mind blowing - if they hadn't had the long breaks between songs, or at least some banter to occupy the space. They almost continually were climbing onto stage pillars & into the crowd & surfing. It was all kind of mesmerising. (Cave's time in Berlin also helped the birthday party connection, crazy germans.)
After passing under the strip of stage roof that covers the first couple of lines of the audience I'd been able to fold up my little umbrella, but I'd gotten sick of being at the front after cobra killer, particularly since I wasn't intrigued by any band with the word country in their name, even if it is followed by 'killers' (what's with the morbid theme for the Friday night bands?) aka The Immortal Lee Country Killers III, the last band for Friday/Saturday morning. Wandered up to the Pink Flamingo for a bit where a miracle occured. A friend tried to ring me ('cause she knew I'd be the only one of our group silly enough to be still up so she told me!) & I happened to have reception just at that time. So I told her to meet me in the Pink Flamingo & we spent a bit of time hanging out there, some talking to random people, til I realised she was falling asleep in her chair so I took her back to the car which she'd lost & went to get some sleep myself.

Woke on Saturday in time to get dressed & out of the tent before it turned into a sauna for the day. Caught a bit of My Disco who were fun. Wolfmother next who looked like they were having fun. A three piece, can anyone tell me if they were brothers? Liked how they each had the same kinda scarf, one having his around his head, the other on his wrist and the drummer on his kit. Tis the little things..
Went for a wander between them & Sage Francis, not paying much attention to the latter besides noticing he was using lots of other people's music & a lot older than expected, as well as not seeming a very impressive figure onstage. From the distance I was anyways. So, sat in a tree & gazed at a bit of Meredith countryside.
Went back the the stage for The Unicorns. Ran into an Augie March fan I'd met from last years Meredith (hello Fiona!), asked her if she knew what the band was like, & in brief; "Architecture in Helsinki but with balls". Once they'd gotten past the first straight kinda rock number I could see what she meant. The white & pink outfits were amusing.
M Ward pulled out the big guns when he got Jim White , drummer of dirty three fame onstage to play with him. Twas a nice surprise to see a real piano onstage too, shame it was only used for one song. Wouldn't mind seeing him play in a more intimate setting, I guess. Saw one of the guys from Art of Fighting in the crowd.
Was going to watch Young Heart Attack but saw a friend from high school who was working with the soundguys & we went to catch up for a little & find some more people who she knew. It was her first Meredith (I've been telling her to go for years, especially since she lives in Ballarat), & she goes and gets a job there to come. The band looked like they were having fun, & I generally like seeing females onstage (think about it, it's still only occasional).
Just before the next band I found a prawn food stall. yep. prawns. Got some garlic prawns just for the novelty value.
True Live were great! A highlight in fact. Aussie Hip Hop mixed with Jazz played by a band which included 'cello, double bass & violin. What a great mix. What I like about (australian - not fond of the other kinds strangely) hip hop, at least the stuff that's not too popular, is that you'll get enough space to dance even at the front, as contrasted with rock moshes.
Dallas Crane were heaps better than the last time I saw them (Amplifier Bar), both in the mixing & the performance, they rocked out in the festival setting.
Hilltop Hoods were a favourite of some ex-housemates of mine, or at least one of them's sister who stayed with us for a while. I have been curious to see them. Their crowd was probably the roughest I was in all weekend (that's what I mean by liking 'less popular' hip hop live) & while I aint too fond of meaningless swearing in lyrics / meaningless repetitive lyrics, I got into it by being surrounded by people that were enjoying themselves. (go mob mentalities). Plus, I was sticking around for The Dirty Three.
So. One of the mixers I worked with at the Queenscliff festival happened to be one of the 2 stage mixers for Meredith. ...A few minutes before The Dirty Three came onstage, he noticed me being up the front (again) & made motion
'want to come up here?'
So he gives his pass to another man who jumps down & gives it to me, one of the security helps me over the barrier, & I'm instructed to climb up onstage. (unfortunatly I have to give the pass back once I'm up there.)
So I'm sitting side of stage for (a bloody brilliant set by) The Dirty Three. Turns out the sound dude from Queenscliff is a friend of Jim White for about the past 20 years too.
Ah, so much to tell. Ah, well. I'm told later that my being there, & allowed to stay (as a member of the general public with no pass) is possibly the only time that's ever happened by an incredulous worker there. And later still I'm told I'm welcome anytime. :) I decide to stick around up there for the next few bands, including Combo La Revelacion (who play every year & get a huge conga line going, but i've never been that into them, though I do recognise they are a staple of what Meredith festival is & wouldn't change it. gives me an excuse to rest anyhow)
Rocket Science, I still say they are one of the best live bands in this country. Was very curious how they might have changed considering the amnesia suffered by the lead singer/organist/theramin player I heard about. Better if anything. That organ/theramin set-up is fantastic.
Spiderbait, Had to see having not seen them before. I like a few songs, y'know, the singles heard on the radio & stuff. (Why do I feel like I have to make excuses to've been watching this band?) I remember a competition on Triple J to find australia's smartest drummer & Kram from Spiderbait winning it. They played the songs people wanted to hear. Oh, & Dirty Three's drummer came to watch & tap his foot to them for a bit.
Later Kram came to do the same for Dexter presents The Shook Daily Crew, & after a few songs I decided to leave backstage & get some warm clothes, even though this meant not being able to get backstage again or so I thought. My friend from school who was working on sound, who'd been watchin with me on the stage, thought I was going to bed like a piker & came out to find me & bring me back! Which turned out good 'cause I nearly did fall asleep. We went & relaxed for a bit in the artist camplands & the view they have of the 'Eye+valley+stage from that direction is gorgeous! Not that any of the meredith campsite is ugly, 'cepting near any portaloos 'course. I eventually decided to check out the outdoor cinema before it was too late, & my friend had to go do work. Dexter is great, but I'd done plenty of dancing to him last year, so it was fine to chill out this time. Went to the Pink Flamingo for a wander first to see if any of my car mates were up & wanted to come to the cinema. Didn't find them, but did have a chat with Edmondo of AM, what a lovely guy. More impressed by him each time I meet 'im. Saw some mono-chats around there too, no surprise of course.I found the outdoor cinema playing episodes of The Monkees. Love the cinema, I hope they bring it back next year, & that I think to bring a proper blanket to sit on to watch it or at least some money to buy one of the Meredith ones which looked alright quality. Didn't stay & watch for all that long I suppose, as the sun started to rise & I decided it was time to lie down for a while.

Sunday sunny side up?
Woke up proper to be rushed out of the boiling tent down to see CW Stoneking's set that had just started. He is fantastic, & was my favourite at Queenscliff. Seeing the Hokum drum & banjo & Kirsty Fraser who sang the last song was all new to me though, it was great to see some extra effort being put into the set because of the festival setting. And the Meredith Bootleg was a brilliant idea, not only from the point of view of all the people that went to snap it up after the gig, but for having only his orginal compositions on it, compared with his old cd is one of covers & about 6 years old now - still good, but the new stuff is too. Cool to see a pregnant Kirsty onstage, & it worked well with the lyrical subtext as well!
Soon after that it was my time to do a bit of work. Checking ID at the Pink Flamingo & it's not unpleasent, you can see the stage if you're smart about it. Having seen Xavier Rudd many many times (including booking him for a gig) over the years I wasn't fussed about not being near the stage for his set. He's good & I recommend seeing him if you haven't caught on already. I had some cool co-workers for this shift (hellos to anthony, jinta, rachael) & it got cut short (thanks Lou) in time for the gift so that was even better. There'd been a rumour that JK going for the world record was a hoax & after seeing him run past I'm still not sure, not tanned enough for the running he's supposet've done? Dan Kelly & the Alpha Males sounded good from where we where. Saw a few interesting people go by, & had to not let some people through even though they were obviously overage - it's an insurance thingo rather than age. I was glad we stuck to it when I was flashed a Victorian Police Badge (2 undercover cops) as ID. That was an eye-opener. They passed by more subtly than some musicians did that where trying to go unnoticed.
Watched the Gift, which seemed over the quickest in recent memory. Though the last band, Dynamo actually sounded & looked like they'd be good, I had a driver and impatient fellow passengers that were wanting to get home. A hurried packing of tent & baggage, & listening to beatles cassettesas we said goodbye (& see you next year) to the Meredith Music Festival.

Thanks to those that organise the best festival in this country.

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