Camping, bands & DJ’s = Falls Festival – 2009/2010

One of the best things about The Falls Festival is being in the great outdoors. Before i even made it to the first check point, I was reminded of the outdoor feeling when a snake quickly slithered across the road in front our car.
The Festival definitely has it all, not only amazing wildlife and the perfect idyllic backdrop on the edge of a forest with rolling hills where the forest meets the sea, but also great loos, showers and amazing food stalls. On top of all that, it boasts an incredibly diverse line up which most festival lack these days. At Falls i watched some of the best bands I saw in 2009.

My Falls experience really kicked off when I witnessed hobo looking Seasick Steve for the first time. His particular blues form of spoken word and singing drew on his incredibly colourful background – an unfortunate childhood at the hands of his awful stepfather and how he got his own back. An amazing story-teller and a musician who is humble and sweet, highlight of his set was when he pulled pretty young blonde girl up onto the stage, sat her on a chair in front of him and sang to her… kinda wished it was me!

Next up for me was Sarah Blasko. Whats not to love about Sarah – her beautiful dresses, her sweet sultry voice and the beautiful songs she crafts, all in all, always a pleasant experience old and new songs. I’m also a massive fan of her backing band and string section.

Lyrics Born always rocks the house with a high energy show; and their falls performance was no exception, armed with his funky band and amazing backing vocalist who moves pack a punch. Lyrics certainly knows how to get the party started.

Having never seen Datarock before, I must say they were way more pop than I expected, slightly gimmicky too, from their guitars to their matching red tracksuits, but still amazingly entertaining with super catchy tunes. The drummer Adrian Meeham currently playing shows with a broken leg impressed me hugely.

The final band for my first night was Wolfmother. I can’t say I’ve ever really been a fan, although they put on a great live show. To me all their songs just meld into one, but I did enjoy the handful of covers they did throughout their set.

The highlight of the first night for me was heading down to the The Valley, deep into the forest and away front the rest of the festival, which was full of colorful, carnival-like characters locked away in their own private world where they can take mushrooms and other hallucinogens with like-minded people. Bogan Bingo was highly entertaining as was the 10 minute disco and the gypsy band with limbo line taking place at the front of the stage.

First up for me on Day 2 was Australia’s younger version of Sarah Blasko, Lisa Mitchell. I’m not a huge fan, but she did win me over with her live show. The band was tight and she held the crowd well with a couple of new songs before she hit the punters patiently waiting for “Coin Laundry”

My surprise of the day were young Scottish lads The View, bless them having left Scotland, which was -5 degrees and flying into 35 degree heat. These lads have grown up and so has their show since the last time I caught them a few years ago. They are older and more experienced in the world of rock n roll and much tighter as a unit altogether. They gave a keen crowd rocking hits from their debut album and new tracks too.

Next up and definitely one to watch in 2010, Dan Sultan which is effortlessly rockin blues. I didn’t get to catch the whole set due to interviews with other bands, but what I did see I loved.

Icelandic beauty Emiliana Torrini totally took centre stage down in the big top! Wow! What a crowd, the tent was full. Looks like Bjork might soon get knocked off her Icelandic pedestal if Emiliana keeps gathering fans like she did on particular occasion. Of course the crowd went completely nuts when she played her hit song “Jungle Drum” that put her on the map in Australia.

White Rabbits were none other than exceptional in my eyes. Their mix of tribal drumming seems to be what all the cool kids are doing these days, but they’re arrangements were second-to-none in their intelligent mathimatical / early emo style of rock. Which I later found out whilst interviewing the band comes from a heavy influence of band members being into drum n bass. Definitely a band I would gladly go see again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see the whole of Grizzly Bear’s set due to interviewing commitments but what i did see and hear from mulling around backstage was exceptional.

Next Temper Trap hit the main stage to possibly one of the largest crowds of the day. The last time I saw The Temper Trap was before their now famous move to London to take over the world and I must say (and i don’t say this lightly), TT were by far my favourite band of the festival! Opening with ‘Downriver’ it certainly showed that the band have been on the road for a year, playing some of the biggest festivals in the world. It’s great to know that people still buy records as the massive crowd knew the words to every song from their new album which they have only just starting touring back on their homeland soil. It was fairly clear TT have crossed over into commercial land!

Editors were the last band I managed to catch on my last day at the festival and they never disappoint. They started their set with a bunch of songs off their current album and then they slowly back-tracked into their older stuff. To be honest I was more excited about hearing older tracks from ‘The Back Room’ as it’s still one of my favourite albums to listen to, that never seems to age.

Unfortunately I couldn’t stay to see the Yeah, Yeah Yeah’s, but did manage to bump into Karen O backstage in the toilets of all places, So, Overall Falls Festival is an amazing experience. I would definitely come back as a general punter! And that’s a massive big-up from a festival snob who doesn’t do camping!

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