It’s just about to tick over into December, which means one thing: we’re less than a month from the 24th annual Falls Festival. With just a few weeks of shitty Christmas carols and resisting the urge to murder everyone at your local Westfield who also decided to buy presents at the last minute in a rain of blood, we took a breather to look at the acts on the bill you should, nay, must see lest you want future generations to snicker when you try to tell them tales of your Falls experiences that don’t include:
Gambino’s return to Australia is set to be meteoric in scale. The man is about to release what is sure to be one of the top contenders for album of the year this Friday in the long, long LOOOOOONG anticipated Awaken, My Love!, and what we’ve heard of it already has us dribbling.
His set at Falls will be one of the first chances for fans anywhere in the world to cop a big old earful of new material in a live environment, plus you just know that amphitheatre is going to be absolutely seething to the likes of solidified belters like Bonfire, Freaks And Geeks and 3005 among swathes of others.
He’s not playing a single sideshow either, so if you go to Falls and don’t see Childish Gambino, we can’t be responsible for the twisted ruin your soul becomes in the coming years as it shrivels with regret.
Having not been spotted since a goosebump-inducing set at last year’s Splendour In The Grass is London vagabond Jamie T. With his latest album Trick up his sleeve, the inimitably-accented rocker is back for summer to captivate audiences once again.
You may remember him from yell-along hits such as Sheila, Sticks And Stones and Zombie among many others, but if you’ve never seen him live and you do at Falls, you’ll remember him from the shivers you get up and down your spine thinking back to that moment.
The crafty veteran of the bill is the granddaddy of the decks in Grandmaster fucking Flash. Seriously, it’s 2016 and Grandmaster Flash is on a festival bill. What a time to be alive.
The man has seen damn near everything in hip-hop since its genesis. I’m not sure if he’ll be making his entrance from a beam of light bursting down through the heavens but such is his myth that it’s more than likely.
His set will be full of vintage hip-hop for the soul, but let’s face it, if you don’t make it your business to bask in the glory of The Message played live, you will have to look St. Peter in the eye one day and tell him why he should let you into heaven when you already passed up the chance to be there once before.
Do you feel that? It’s elation, it’s ecstasy, it’s euphoria… it’s the unofficial Emperor of Queensland Bernard Fanning. Yes, there’ll be heat-induced visions of Milton Mangoes and Castlemaine Cranberries by the Brown Snake with the 1994 Maroons re-enacting their Miracle Try as the singer-songwriter-sacred deity takes to the stage guitar in hand at this year’s Falls to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that none of us are worthy.
One of the few bonafide legends of Australian rock still making noise today, miss Bernard Fanning live and be condemned to a lifetime of being jersey-slung out of bed by Gorden Tallis every morning instead of an alarm clock.
Danish sensation MØ (fun fact, that’s actually pronounced ‘Mer’) might be best known for her vocal contributions to that one Major Lazer song that became a small hit, but she’s a pop star in her own right as well, with stunning solo album No Mythologies To Follow an absolute ripper.
Possessed of a badass swagger and a bloody great set of pipes on top, prepare to get absolutely lost in the MØ live experience. Just see if you can even begin to handle the pure pop rapture that is Kamikaze at any rate, you’ll be hooked for life.
Yet another Kiwi export that Australia will no doubt be claiming for its own very soon is smoky crooner Marlon Williams. If you’re looking for a change of pace from a frenetic Falls to a laidback lounge in the grass, you’d do well to catch Williams, whose 2015 self-titled debut set hearts aflutter and saw swooning rates increase by 600% (approximately).
Williams is a throwback that’ll stop you in your tracks, and with three days of being absolutely buckled to push your way through, it’s so important to take some time out to chill here and there. Let Marlon Williams be the soundtrack to at least one of those brief periods of peace.
Speaking of throwbacks, Melbourne’s Client Liaison do late 80s/early 90s dance pop better than anybody on this planet. They’ll be riding into Falls in an off-white limousine (probably) and pulling out all the stops onstage. These guys are showmen to the bone (frontman Monte Morgan a true treasure) and their set will be absolutely wild.
With a debut album’s worth of new material to light up the night with from this year’s Diplomatic Immunity, (Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight ought to bring the house down the moment that first kookaburra starts warbling, as will Wild Life and World Of Our Love from that same album), expect elaborate stage props and costumes, choreographed dancing and glorious, tear-inducing saxophone solos.
Client Liaison live aren’t just a pick-me-up, they’re a grab-you-by-the-collar-and-throw-you-into-the-galaxy.
City Calm Down
An enthralling live act, Melbourne’s City Calm Down have been one of Australia’s biggest breakout acts of the last year since sophomore record In A Restless House first exploded onto the national consciousness.
Post-punk in the vein of The Cure (frontman Jack Bourke’s wide-ranging vocals eerily reminiscent of Robert Smith), the City Calm Down boys bring their sprawling sound from record to stage with razor sharp precision and professionalism and leave audiences breathless. They’re known for a blisteringly honest cover of Bowie’s Let’s Dance and their own signature tunes in Rabbit Run, Son and the anthemic Your Fix always leave a crowd breathless.
City Calm Down are a group on the upswing and there doesn’t look like a zenith in plain sight.
If you like unbridled joy, superhuman levels of energy and dancing, all of the dancing, then California’s Grouplove will unquestionably be for you. They too have a brand new album this year in big hit Big Mess and they’ll no doubt be bringing a sizeable horde of fans to life with good vibes exploding from the sound system.
Catfish And The Bottlemen
Having an outstanding year are blue-chip Welsh rock and rollers Catfish And The Bottlemen. Their latest album The Ride has been thrilling and chilling auditory senses and uppercutting everyone directly in the feels since its release earlier in 2K16. They’re back to turn it up to 11 in Australia once again and their loud, evocative rock and roll is nigh on perfect for a summer festival.
If you don’t drunkenly sway while holding a pair of Extra Drys aloft and off-key bellowing the chorus to 7, were you even at Falls?
If you’re of the opinion that this list is lacking a little in Aussie talent, not to worry. Keep an eye out for our list of Aussie Acts to Catch at this year’s Falls Festival coming soon.
Image: Miss Dimplez