As 2015 wraps up, it’s a time to reflect on the year that was… and what better way to do that than at a music festival?
Thankfully, the folks at Falls Festival have provided the goods once again with a lineup absolutely brimming with local talent and international heavyweights, just to help a lucky few (thousand) bring in the new year in musical style. Set times have just been announced, and we know firsthand just how hard it can be to figure out who and where and what to see. Don’t worry though, because your pals here at Howl & Echoes have got you.
Three of us will be heading to the festivals (Byron and Lorne), so these are our picks for the days ahead. Take it from us- these are not acts you’ll want to miss!
Always bringing an absolutely blistering live show with them, Foals are set to wrap up a banner year at this year’s Falls festival. With What Went Down now under their belt in all it’s hard rock glory, there will now doubt be an extra couple of punches packed in with Mountain At My Gates, Snake Oil and the title track each looking like they will be standouts in a live setting. Watch out for just how loose frontman Yannis Philippakis gets on stage – the man is a born performer.
He’s currently making his way around the US after dropping one of the best albums of the year with b’lieve i’m goin down…, and has been wowing audiences with his meticulous guitar work and band of guests (Kim Gordon, anyone?) Whilst we are not totally convinced he will bring out rock royalty, there is something about Kurt Vile on a Friday afternoon at the Byron leg that has me incredibly excited.
The Disclosure duo are no strangers to Australia, or Australian festivals for that matter with headline spots at Listen Out and Groovin’ The Moo already under their belt, so they’re pretty familiar with how we work. They’ve just dropped their mammoth, feature spot heavy sophomore album, Caracal, and whilst we could all agree it might not be as red hot as their debut, it will still provide some ultimate d-floor times with jams like The Weeknd featuring Nocturnal, the Gregory Porter featuring Holding On or the Sam Smith featuring Omen providing the perfect soundtrack to close out one of the nights.
Continuing her rapid rise to total world domination, it’s only a matter of time before Meg Mac well and truly explodes (you know, more than she already has). She has pretty much toured constantly for most of this year, so fans old and new will be in for a treat in terms of a matured and progressive live show. She toured the US with D’Angelo, played countless festivals local and abroad and continues to capture hearts with her bluesy-soul music, so she will no doubt bring a captivating touch to the festival.
US surf punk rockers Wavves have kept their distance from Australia over the last few years, so the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder” really does come into play here. Since their last appearance, they’ve only gotten bigger and better, with countless shows and a new album now under their belt. It will be good to hear a mix of old and new material, but who can really go past their breakout track, King of The Beach?
King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard
Melbourne seven-piece King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, aside from being the frontrunners of the worldwide ‘Best Band Name’ contest, dabble in some of the most raucously oddball garage psychedelia you’re likely to hear. They’re riding into this year’s Falls Festival on the wave of acclaim surrounding their two (!) studio efforts of this year in Paper Maché Dream Balloon and Quarters!, an album that went as far as to receive an ARIA nomination for Best Jazz Album (which it utterly deserved to win). This band throw everything in the tank into their live performances, something anyone who attended this year’s Gizzfest tour (I watched it from a multistory carpark!) will attest to. Catch them blowing minds to smithereens on Friday afternoon from the Forest stage.
Gang Of Youths
Speaking of ARIA nominated artists, Gang Of Youths are up there for one of the most exciting new talents to emerge within the last 12 months. Having released their debut LP The Positions earlier this year, a record full of superbly written, relentlessly foot-stomping rockers like Magnolia, Restraint And Release and Poison Drum that made it all the way to number five on the ARIA charts, the Sydney quintet are looking to make another outrageous mark at Falls this year. I’ve never seen these guys live before and I’m looking forward to an absolute belter of a set, one of the aforementioned ARIA noms they picked up this year was for Best Live Act (losing out to 5 Seconds Of Summer because children are terrible) so you can be certain that rocking up to the Valley stage on Saturday will not leave you disappointed. Just look for energy through the stratosphere and a crowd full of fans screaming along to every heartfelt word.
You’d be forgiven if you mistook your first hearing of Leon Bridges and his debut record Coming Home as the discovery of some lost soul gem from the 60s that somehow escaped your notice all these years. I certainly did, and was absolutely floored to find that the owner of this heavenly voice was from the present day. Bridges takes everything you loved about 60s Motown, channelling legends like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke, and transplants it into the 21st century damn near seamlessly, enjoying a subsequently whirlwind rise to stardom off the back of songs like Smooth Sailing, Better Man and the title track. It’s the Fort Worth crooner’s first time in Australia and if you’re looking for some ultra cool vintage soul music to blow away the summer heat you’ll be able to find it when Bridges plays the Valley stage on Saturday at 5.
Hands down one of the biggest headliners at this year’s event are the new incarnation of Bloc Party. It’s the Londoners’ first time back in Australia playing as Bloc Party since they were here back in 2K13 for Future Music Festival. Frontman Kele Okereke has been plugging away at his solo work and they’ve swapped out two band members in the intervening two years, finally releasing new material in a pair of singles The Love Within and The Good News in the lead-up to their next album. Hymns as it’s titled is due to drop on January 29th so look for the band to play some incoming stuff from that record for the first time live down under. The very earth may shake when Banquet or Helicopter or, shit anything they’ve ever done really, get the live treatment, there are a whole lot of Bloc Party fans here who have been waiting a very long time for this.
Paul Kelly and the Merri Soul Sessions
Perhaps lost in all the hype of your Bloc Partys’, your Disclosures’ and your Foals is the appearance by one of the absolute hugest legends in the music industry ever, one Mr. Paul Kelly. An absolute trailblazing pioneer for Aussie music, now backed by some of the best musicians this country has to offer, is Paul Kelly being accompanied by the Merri Soul Sessions. Falls are promising it will be a brilliant mix of Kelly classics and new material from this year’s absolutely stunning Merri Soul Sessions album. With people like Dan Sultan, Vika and Linda Bull and Clairy Browne among others, Friday evening at the Valley stage is set to be an absolute stunner. It’s not a mere possibility but a damn certainty that I will weep into my beer if they play How To Make Gravy. This is absolutely my most anticipated set at Falls and one that no self-respecting Australian music fan should find themselves missing.
With new talent behind the kit and on bass, Bloc Party have a re-enegersied sound that’s igniting some pretty intense excitement for their set. Bit jelly that Byron gets ’em for New Year’s Eve, but having seen them almost every time they’ve been to Australia (including Kele’s solo shows), I have no doubt that they’re gonna bring a set complete with feel-good party vibes and a dash of nostalgia thrown in for good measure. Bring it on.
I’ll be damned if Foals didn’t put out one of the best albums this year. If My Number or Mountain at My Gates ringing in the new year isn’t reason to get pumped for Falls at Lorne, I don’t know what the fuck is.
After a full on year, Courtney Barnett needs little-to-no introduction. However, you do need to see her at Falls, especially if like me, you have only experienced her live set vicariously through appearances on the Tonight Show and Austin City Limits. Can hardly contain damn myself.
Gary Clark Jr.
Courtney Barnett’s Austin City Limits compatriot Gary Clark Jr. is frequently heralded as the new guitar hero. His fusion of genres and command of a stage is nothing short of awe inspiring and you need to witness that shit. Please.
The soul/gospel singer put out his wonderful debut album Coming Home earlier this year. Nominated for a Grammy, Bridges has a stunning voice, matched with the ability to conjure some intense feelings of nostalgia while remaining totally relevant. His set is ridiculously high on my “do not miss” list.
Here’s the official full lineup:
BIRDS OF TOKYO
GANG OF YOUTHS
GARY CLARK JR
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
KURT VILE AND THE VIOLATORS
PAUL KELLY & MERRI SOUL SESSIONS FEATURING CLAIRY BROWNE, DAN SULTAN, KIRA PIRU, VIKA & LINDA BULL
TORO Y MOI
YOUNG FATHERS + MORE
BOOGIE NIGHTS LINEUP (DEC 28 LORNE, DEC 29 MARION BAY, DEC 31 BYRON):
ART V SCIENCE · EL VEZ · FLEETMAC WOOD · ‘WEIRD AL’ YANKOVIC + MORE
The following new acts have been announced!!!
Added to all locations: Wavves & Leon Bridges
Added to Marion Bay, Byron, Southbound: The Wombats
Added to Byron Bay ONLY: PEKING DUK (playing NYE), MIAMI HORROR, TIJUANA CARTEL, BOOTLEG RASCAL, GOONS OF DOOM, SPIRIT OF AKASHA & BULLHORN (playing NYE)
Lorne, VIC: Dec 28, 2015 0 Jan 01, 2016 in Lorne, VIC
Marion Bay, TAS: Dec 29, 2015 – Jan 01, 2016 (All ages)
Byron Bay, NSW: Dec 31, 2015 – Jan 03, 2016
Check out the official website for more details.