Brisbane Botanical Gardens & Riverstage Nov. 19
Large, stripey broad-brimmed hat - check. Sunscreen applied so thick it acted as an additional layer of albino skin - check. I certainly was safe and sunsmart ready for Harvest. Mercury Rev took this scorching day up a few notches in the mid afternoon with a blistering set. This New York alt. rock band dressed mostly in black with shirt buttons undone filled the arena with their all-consuming, warm and heartfelt songs. â€˜The Dark Is Risingâ€™ and â€˜Youâ€™re My Queenâ€™ are such powerful songs when accompanied by vocalist Jonathan Donahueâ€™s sweeping arm gestures and dynamite smile. I now want to go out and buy every single Mercury Rev disc ever released.
I caught the last few songs of TV On The Radio before moving on to see Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. I canâ€™t pinpoint what it was, but I couldnâ€™t seem to get into their set. I left a few tracks in to check out Death In Vegas, the UK psychedelic rockers. They were perfect for what I was in the mood for and I really dig the surfy-synth-sound aspect of their music. I then walked over the grassy hill where the main stage opened up before me to find Bright Eyes playing his opening piano chords. The crowd began to cheer and would do so for the next 60 minutes as frontman, Conor Oberst, captured us all with his varying songs.
By: Danielle Golding
Droves of gatherers braved the scorching Queensland sun to secure their share in the bountiful musical crop that was Harvest Festival. First pick of the day was TV On The Radio, whose set undulated between tracks from all four studio albums. With their full and distinctive sound, they expertly built and dwindled layers of guitar, synth and trombone that culminated in the anthemic â€˜Wolf Like Meâ€™.
Complemented by the setting sun, The National provided the Riverstage with a welcome yield of indie rock. On point from the first note, the band produced a rich, dignified sonic experience, accompanied to perfection by Matt Berningerâ€™s baritone. The emotional climax of â€˜Terrible Loveâ€™ marked the end of a truly heartening performance.
Not having sown musical seeds in Australia for over a decade, Portishead finally took to task headlining the festival. With shuddering bass and a melancholic mix of live and programmed sounds, they created a tense and engaging groove. A pin could have been heard to drop in the Brisbane River when, in her achingly exquisite voice, Beth Gibbons performed a half-tempo rendition of â€˜Wandering Starâ€™ accompanied only by a simple bassline, wailing guitar, and the silence of 10,000 people.
By: Jerath Head
For the majority of Harvest revellers, Portishead was the main ticket; but for mind, The Flaming Lips were the big drawcard - yes, theyâ€™ve toured here half-a-dozen more times than Beth Gibbons and company. But fuck, you canâ€™t beat the Wayne Coyne led Oklahoma outfit, particularly when it involves Coyne entering the crowd inside a gargantuan plastic inflated ball, enough coloured confetti to cover a couple of football fields â€” multiple times â€” oversized balloons of every conceivable colour launched into the crowd and a stirring rendition of â€˜Do You Realizeâ€™ to close proceedings. Yes, I walked out on Portishead â€” but not because I didnâ€™t like it. The trip-hop of the UK act was too damn slow after the candy-cane induced high of The Flaming Lips.
By: The Matchstick
As far as festivals go, this one was the hairiest Iâ€™ve ever been to. Granted the date coincided with the Movember madness thatâ€™s currently happening, but it was the onslaught of beards, side burns and hairy chests that was most noticeable. The vibe was super chilled to match the musical line-up with the fashion also reflecting this.
With a slew of sundresses, the girls looked cute, fresh faced and summery with straw hats, bold bangles and lots of long wavy hair. Flip to the lads and there were skinny coloured jeans aplenty, arty tees and lots and lots of quirky, cool sunglasses and shoes. Walking out through a myriad of upside umbrellas hanging high in the sky, all felt right way up in my world.
By: Majella McMahon