Sugar Mountain kicked off what was going to be a rad day for music fans in Melbourne with acts like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, How To Dress Well, Banoffee, ODESZA, Iceage and Nas on the line up. Walking in to the Victorian College Of The Arts had a similar feeling to walking into a Primary School fete with glitter and streamers hanging from above and beside. The majority of the punters and myself headed straight to the Dodd Street stage to get a spot for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard while trying to stay out of the roasting sun. A quick look around VCA and I knew that Sugar Mountain was going to be a day full of good vibes.
It’s well known that getting to a music festival on time is one of the more difficult tasks in life but it certainly has its benefits. No line for the ATM, food or sunscreen was probably one of the biggest scores of the day considering the dense lines to come later. If you have been to Dodds Street imagine each line being as wide as the street but also bending to allow for more festival-goers to line up (it’s not ideal lining up for sunscreen in the heat). Not only did I get the cash to purchase a delicious Pastrami sandwich from Uncle RB’s but also the much needed sunscreen from the paramedics tent was there for the taking and boy am I glad it was.
Top Four Acts
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard
I had never seen the Melbourne locals play live before but I have only heard good things and they were the perfect way to kick off a day at Sugar Mountain. With the festival having a few psychedelic features such as the art and decorations, it was fitting that King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard opened up the day and go into everybody’s minds. They put on a ripping show and played one of the tightest live sets I’ve ever seen with their songs like Cellophane that anyone could boogie to. Both of the drummers carried the set through with the constant beats and in-sync fills that led the songs into one another with only one or two breaks in between songs.
All seven members of the band could capture the audience’s attention. Whether it be the vocals or the harmonica, there was something interesting happening throughout the whole set. A flute solo was not something I was expecting to see at Sugar Mountain but I was absolutely stoked that Stu, the vocalist, busted out into what I would call a shredding flute solo. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made my top four easily not only from their rad live performance but also for being one of the strongest opening acts at a festival that I’ve seen.
Intense is the best way to describe an Iceage set. Even the sound check had me on edge, it was gut wrenching listening to the minor chords, loud drums and grunts of Elias being played over and again until their set began. The stand out song of their set was “How Many”, after hearing the track live I went home and compared it with the recorded version and the difference between the two were outstanding. It wasn’t the quality that was different but the aggressiveness of the live performance would have scared anyone who hadn’t heard Iceage before. It was hard to decide how I felt watching Iceage due to the colourful surroundings and the sun beaming down but at the same time I hade four blokes from Denmark playing dark and aggressive music that I couldn’t look away from. There were a few technical issues during the first song with the guitar cutting in and out but Johan without fault pulled it back together like nothing had even happened. Iceage are a no frills type of band and they don’t mess around, between songs there was no talking only the name of the next song. It was exactly what you would expect and want from a Danish punk band.
These guys were a lucky find. I thought I’d go and check out The Theatre and I found “Mordialloc’s Filthiest Animals” setting up. By the time soundcheck was finished, the Theatre was full and the crowd were ready to dance. I may have been seated at the back of the Theatre but these guys made it seem as if myself, and everyone else in the back row, were right in front with the rest of the punters, dancing. The lads from Slum Sociable knew exactly how to work the crowd and nailed their mix of lo-fi jazz hop. Slum Sociable were another treat that played earlier in the day proving the point that getting to a festival early has its advantages.
Photo Credit: Superteam Studios
There is only so much I can say about seeing Nas perform Illmatic live. I made the rookie mistake of making it back to Dodd St late, leaving me close to the back of the crowd. Despite being only just able to see Nas, what I heard was enough. Nas’ flow has always been part of the reason I started listening to rap because I’d never heard anything like it and he did not disappoint at Sugar Mountain. Although some of the punters may not have been there to see Nas, everyone was on the same vibe regardless of who they were there to see and, whether it was NY State Of Mind or Represent, heads we bobbing and the crowd was bouncing. Anyone can listen to Illmatic but seeing it live is a totally different experience. Obviously it ain’t hard to tell that Nas absolutely nailed Sugar Mountain.
Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby.
Ariel Pink‘s drummer for playing in an aqua bikini and cowboy hat.
Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby.
Banoffee for pulling off denim-on-denim.
How To Dress Well for his all-white matching outfit.
2 Bears for bringing out some insane dance moves.
Photo Credit: Chip Mooney.