How about that Splendour In The Grass lineup yeah? Just when you thought they couldn’t jam any more outrageously good acts onto that poster, there they were. With tickets going onsale this week (and some lucky folks already stitching theirs up last week), we thought we’d contribute to Splendsanity by going through the lineup and near-killing ourselves trying to drill it down to five acts we’re most looking forward to seeing at this year’s big dance.
Of course we’ve cheated beyond all fuckery with our honourable mentions but, after much internal agony and deliberation, a top five has been reached.
Baddies have a new album coming out and they haven’t had a chance to play at North Byron Parklands since 2015’s deluge of mud and muck meant that they played to a largely empty moshpit while their fans were kept at bay by temporary fences. You can bet that they’re chomping at the bit to get stuck in and rock everyone’s socks into next year.
We naturally assumed that the Brighton duo spontaneously combusted following their Earth-shaking 2015 Splendour set. Looks like they’ll be back to finish the job and make 30,000 ears bleed once again. Bring it.
Debut album on the way? History of spinetingling previous Splendour sets? Voice of a fucking angel (who has to have sold her soul to the Devil to sound even better, surely)? We’re looking very much forward to being held enthralled by Meg, beleedat.
Because at some point we’re going to find ourselves more burnt than your Grandma’s hot cross buns on Good Friday and this transcontinental duo and their breezy electro-pop are the perfect cure.
The Smith Street Band:
The reason we’ll be that burnt is probably from screaming along to every word of the Smithies set, that new album is looking all kinds of tasty.
Get up, Brisbane!
Because it’s actually Lil Yachty. Like, for real, Lil Yachty is just going to be there and we have no idea why but fuck let’s do it anyway.
Because of shit like this and don’t even pretend otherwise:
You know as well as I do that betting against Banks absolutely crushing it and putting on one hell of a show here is akin to putting your money on the Washington Generals (“SHE’S SPINNING THE BALL ON HER FINGER!”)
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard:
Five albums this year? Is it five? And they STILL have time to play festivals or even blink? THIS I GOTTA SEE! Also, the black hole of a circle pit that Gamma Knife is going to induce, blow me down.
If you’re not excited by being able to turn mid throwdown to any number of complete strangers or friends or whoever and screaming ‘TELL MY MAN SHUT UP’ right in their faces then you’re what’s wrong with everything.
The Peep Tempel:
Sorry about it Tame Impala, but “I don’t think Trevor is good for you” is the best use of the word ‘Trevor’ in a song hands down and it will be screamed at the top of a whole lot of lungs come Splendour.
Our top five though, in no particular order other than the order we thought of them, is:
LA sisterly trio HAIM are fucking incredible, to put it bluntly. With such an ear for a quirky pop hook or melody that will have you thinking wistfully of the halcyon days of Fleetwood Mac, saturated with swagger and presented in an intoxicatingly compelling live show (ask anyone who watched them nearly level New York’s Governors Ball in the pissing rain last year and they’ll attest to the same).
Right now they only have their sublime debut album in 2013’s Days Are Gone to their name, but their long-awaited sophomore LP is reportedly due for release mid-year which times just perfectly with Splendour. The prospect of new HAIM alongside old standards like Forever, Falling, If I Could Change Your Mind and a The Wire that will leave Splendour wondering what hit it so hard, you’ll be dancing rain, hail, shine or cosmic event to HAIM and if you’re not then I don’t know how to help you.
The biggest hip-hop act on this year’s bill is ScHoolboy Q and you can rest assured his set will be worth the wait and the limbs you might lose once you’re in the middle of it. Uncompromising bars, beats that will belt you upside your head and a stage presence that’s less ‘fire’ and more ‘raging inferno’, this won’t be for the faint of heart.
2016’s Blank Face LP was one of the year’s best releases and fans have been salivating over the chance to hear cuts from it like THat Part, Ride Out and Groovy Tony alongside favourites from Oxymoron, his two self-titled mixtapes and Habits And Contradictions (I have been waiting to lose my ever-loving shit to There He Go for too many years).
Splendour promises to be a triumphant return to Australia for the Black Hippy cornerstone and survivors will be few and delirious.
It’s a tough sell to tell the rest of the world you’ve properly lived if you haven’t seen Baltimore trio Future Islands live. In the upper echelon of Splendour acts this year in terms of pure energy, your eyeballs and earholes will find themselves superglued to frontman Sam as he scuttles around the stage in maniacal fashion cutting shapes harder than your shitfaced uncle at your mum’s last birthday and switching between operatic warbling and death growling completely effortlessly.
They’ve got a new album out this week in The Far Field, so expect plenty of rollicking new tunes to slither their way into their Splendour set alongside old favourites (and believe us, when Seasons (Waiting On You) kicks in, the collective noise of all that shit being lost will have your head spinning).
The elder statesman of the Splendour bill, you can expect tears to flow like the Murray River as perhaps the greatest singer-songwriter this country has ever produced rips into his mythological back catalogue of hits. Kelly hasn’t played a festival slot since damn near stealing the show at Falls as part of the Merri Soul Sessions.
It’s a solo effort this time around and there might be more recently relevant acts on the bill, but do the potential fantasy cameos not leave you as short of breath as I am right now?
Because the very possibility of Paul Kelly bringing out any of the many suitable home-grown artists like Tash Sultana, Julia Jacklin, Meg Mac, Luca Brasi (for what would be a supercharged run through of How To Make Gravy a la their Like A Version cover of it), Dan Sultan and A.B. Original (for a Dumb Things with a hip-hop twist a la their Like A Version Cover of it) The Smith Street Band (God in heaven), Bad//Dreems (good God al-fucking-mighty) and so many other acts that would leave us with goosebumps until Christmas.
And let’s not pretend the world wouldn’t just end right then and there if Bernard Fanning and Paul Kelly ended up onstage together at some point, because it can only contain so much euphoria without imploding in on itself.
Since coming within a bee’s dick of taking out 2016’s Hottest 100, Tash Sultana has been up there among the hottest names of 2017. She’s been amassing fans by the thousands in Australia, she’s been Stateside breaking it huge on late night TV of late and you can’t even say the sky is the limit for her at this point, she has no limits.
Splendour will be the biggest show Tash Sultana has played on home soil and you can expect her to leave crowds utterly mesmerised by her near Jedi-level prowess in the looping arts. Jungle will have that same crowd absolutely seething with delight, as will Notion, hell, as will literally everything this 21-year-old does because she does it so damn well.
Every year at Splendour there seems to be a local act who seizes every shred of the opportunity and steals the entire show. Last year it was Gang Of Youths, the year before that it was a Tkay Maidza-Meg Mac tie and this year it’s looking more and more likely like it’s going to be Tash Sultana being crowned Queen Of Splendour.
Splendour In The Grass 2017 tickets are on sale from 9am this Thursday via Moshtix
Splendour In The Grass 2017 (July 21-23) full lineup:
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE
SCHOOLBOY Q (ONLY AUS SHOW)
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
FATHER JOHN MISTY
CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
FUTURE ISLANDS (ONLY AUS SHOW)
THE SMITH STREET BAND
THE KITE STRING TANGLE
THE LEMON TWIGS
LATE NITE TUFF GUY
KIRIN J CALLINAN
THE PEEP TEMPEL
THE WILSON PICKERS
HARVEY SUTHERLAND AND BERMUDA