Golden Plains Remains One of the Coolest Music Festivals in Australia
Oren Ambarchi, Olympia and Teenage Fanclub are highlights on a stacked Golden Plains lineup.
Saturday was great. Ausmuteants, Cash Savage. Camp Cope, Kurt Vile, The Damned, Total Giovanni and Habits all destroyed Golden Plains stage. The second day of the weekend festival kicked even harder with Chain and the Gang, ORB, Remi, The Peep Tempel, the Specials and Neil Finn all performing blinding sets.
Later that night a full moon was even promised. Good times.
Now into its eleventh year, it's difficult to match Golden Plains' eclectic and diverse programming and from early on Sunday three very different but equally compelling acts owned the audience. The experimental brilliance of Oren Ambarchi, the 90s alt rock/pop of Olympia and the timeless harmonies of Scottish legends Teenage Fanclub – in Australia for the first time in 12 years – proved why Golden Plains is one of the best music festivals in the world.
Oren Ambarchi is an iconic name in the experimental music world and his discography is a wild trip but this is probably the first time he's played a Sunday afternoon immediately following a country vocal harmony act called the Dusty Millers.
As the glitter faces and bed/sleepingbag heads wandered down to the SUP amphitheatre, Oren sat on stage by a mess of wires and nobs. Slowly he built a mesmerising live set of rhythms and drones that grew more intense with live percussion of legendary Australian metal drummer Matt"Skitz" Sanders, who didn't stop playing the entire set. Cobwebs were well and truly shaken from heads as the two built to a powering climax.
As the Sunday afternoon heat clicked up a gear, Olympia took the stage and immediately added some cool to proceedings. Olivia Bartley may have grown up in an evangelistic church outside Wollongong where she learned to play instruments by ear, but her performance today is nothing but polished and professional. She impressed many with gliding vocals, echoing guitar and ragged edges and flourishes of 80s and 90s 'alt rock'. As she finished her set with a version of TV On the Radio's "Wolf Like Me" more and more shoes/boots/thongs were held loft as a sure sign that she was one of the weekend's favourites.
Teenage Fanclub are an indie pop institution. Since 1989, the boys from Bellshill have produced sweet songs with beautiful harmonies and pristine guitar work. As they take the stage just before 6:30 new fans and old try to get that bit closer to the band. The band play a selection of his from across their catalogue and like Neil Finn later that night many of the crowd have no qualms about singing along loudly.
"Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From" from their 1997 album Songs from Northern Britain was sublime power pop. And as the sun slowly started to set and they closed out with "Everything Flows" from 1990's A Catholic Education it was obvious that we'd all witnessed another special performance at a very special festival.
Images: Theresa Harrison