Project Description

BEYOND THE VALLEY

@ Lardner Park

28/12/17 – 31/12/17

(Live Review)

Beyond The Valley

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Struggled to plan something fun over New Years? By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what you’re going to do to perfectly round out your 2018 – attend Beyond The Valley (BTV).

A four-day music festival held at Lardner Park near Warragul, BTV boasted its best line-up ever this year. The fourth instalment of the New Years celebration hosted the likes of Schoolboy Q, PNAU and The Presets among dozens of other incredible international and Australian acts.

With no action coming to the Main Stage and the Dance Tent on Day One, Day Two was littered with breakthrough artists of 2017 opening the day in style.

Off the back of their excellent debut album, Vera, Crooked Colours were the shining light of the line-up on the Main Stage in the afternoon. Their set was concluded with their hit ‘Flow’ and the first of many confetti explosions of the festival.

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The most anticipated acts of Day Two, PNAU and Stormzy, were billed back-to-back. With a whole new album and dance hits like ‘Chameleon’, ‘Embrace’ and ‘Changes’ in their repertoire, PNAU proved why they are one of the biggest festival acts in Australia.

Although front-man Nick Littlemore spooked and confused the huge Main Stage audience with his characteristically weird screeches throughout the performance, PNAU were unquestionably the runaway winners of Day Two.

Somehow, the Day Two roster was topped by Day Three’s impressive line-up, which featured the two most hyped international acts of BTV, English wunderkid Mura Masa and rapper ScHoolboy Q. But Mura Masa and, more particularly, ScHoolboy Q were massively overshadowed by a trio of Australian all-star acts.

At the very beginning of the evening, Meg Mac pulled in most of the BTV punters available to play hits from her debut album, Low Blows, and her 2014 self-titled EP.

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Her modern classic ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’ proved to be a fan favourite, but it was Meg’s newest material, such as ‘Low Blows’ and ‘Ride It’ that demonstrated a multifaceted progression, assisted by her six-piece band.

Following Meg, it was as if the crowd from her performance, as well as everyone from the Dance Tent made their way over to witness Australia’s best crooner Matt Corby perform a falsetto-filled sundown set.

The raspy-voiced singer had the entire wrapped around his finger, as they swayed away to hits like ‘Resolution’ and ‘Brother’. I’m not gonna lie, Matt brought a tear to my eye towards the back-end of ‘Empires Attraction’, a deep cut from his 2016 debut album, Telluric. And with that, Matt’s set was the first genuine highlight of BTV.

The third of the great Australian sets of Day Three came courtesy of indie-dance legends Cut Copy. They’ve been killing it since their inception in 2004, but the Melbourne quartet are unfortunately yet to better the output of their 2008 record In Ghost Colours, featuring the dance classic ‘Lights and Music’.

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However, they’ve still being putting out strong albums, which showed up in their BTV set. The performance featured a couple of tracks from their new album, Haiku From Zero, in ‘Black Rainbows’ and ‘Airborne’. Of course, they closed it out with ‘Lights and Music’, which absolutely set the crowd off. I boogied like a fool throughout the band’s entire 50-minute show.

After the terrific Aussie talent during Day Three, it was unfortunately concluded in ordinary fashion with Mura Masa and ScHoolboy.

To be fair to Mura Masa, there wasn’t a lot wrong with his performance. The esteemed British producer played his part to relative perfection, but it was his vocalists that were slightly disappointing.

The sub-par singing was represented in one of Mura Masa’s most popular tunes and a favourite in Australia – ‘Nuggets’. The singer was extremely scratchy and nearly ruined what could have been one of the highlights of BTV.

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Despite this minor setback, Mura Masa was still a load of fun to jump around to, and that’s exactly what the huge Main Stage audience did. However, the same can’t be said for Schoolboy set.

All early signs of ScHoolboy’s set were great: the DJ played some of the most hype hip-hop tunes of the year, like ‘Gucci Gang’, to kick the crowd into gear. But, as soon as ScHoolboy began, it was clear the vibe just wasn’t there.

ScHoolboy ran through a mix of material from his newest album, Blank Face, such as the Kanye-featuring ‘THat Part’, and some older stuff like ‘Collared Greens’. However, there was hardly a response from the crowd.

ScHoolboy became so desperate for some positive energy from the crowd that he instructed his DJ to play a couple of classic Kendrick Lamar songs in ‘HUMBLE.’ and ‘Backseat Freestlye’, which worked momentarily.

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Then, as he instructed the crowd to converge on one specific attendee he called “Buff Man,” all hope that his set would be a good one was effectively lost. Not to mention a certain amount of respect was also lost for ScHoolboy.

Although Day Three ended disastrously, hopes remained high for an awesome final day of the BTV, which featured performance from more rising Australian legends.

The day began shakily with a set from Amy Shark, who, through her single ‘Adore’, has risen to acclaimed status in her own backyard. Unfortunately, Amy’s on-stage performance had little resemblance to her voice on-record. Her vocals were seemed slightly off-kilter, disappointing the festival-goers that were extremely keen to see Amy put in a lovely afternoon set.

After a couple of delightful afternoon performances from Harvey Sutherland & Bermuda and San Cisco, the Britpop revivalists DMA’S appeared, taking take Day Four up a couple of notches.

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With a consistent album of sing-alongs and new single ‘Dawning’ up their sleeve, the Sydney band had the entire BTV audience reciting each and every word.

As is the procedure with every DMA’S set, the superior moment is their debut single ‘Delete’, and this show was no different. The group then finished on another belter, ‘Lay Down’, a high energy tune that wound the crowd up for what was to come – The Presets.

Anticipation was through the roof for The Presets, and not just because they were rounding out 2017.

After their critically acclaimed album Pacifica, they had a very quiet period. This year, the electronic duo re-emerged with the single ‘Do What You Want’ and announced a select few festival appearances. For most in the crowd, including me, it was a first seeing the pair.

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The set began exceptionally with The Presets unfurling a couple of deep cuts from past records. Before long, ‘Do What You Want’ was injected to the BTV crowd’s delight. I was previously nervous how the song would sound live, but I wasn’t disappointed – it was incredible.

As the New Year was within minutes of rolling around, the boys cut the probing audio to begin the countdown. Following a huge detonation of confetti, there was no better way to end the silence than ‘My People’. It was the perfect way to kick off the New Year.

Following the countdown and ‘My People’, The Presets’ performance became a bit flat, and by the end, I was pretty glad it was over. Even with the debut of a new song, which didn’t sound as inspired as ‘Do What You Want’, it all became just too monotonous.

With that, BTV was complete for another year. Whether a punter would stay longer or not is a very accurate measure of a festival’s quality. While my severely sunburnt neck was glad the three-day bender was done and dusted, I feel like I could’ve endured another couple of days at BTV. Success? I think so.

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Beyond The Valley

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Beyond The Valley

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Check out Taylah Walton’s gallery of Day 2 HERE

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AMNPLIFY – DB
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