Groovin’ the Moo is a fantastic concept. A music festival that hits provincial cities, giving whole new audiences a chance to taste what the cap cities seem to be spoilt with all year ’round. I lived in Bunbury last year but didn’t attend…this year in Townsville I was looking forward to it immensely.
It’s a fantastic feeling simply parking the car and walking around the venue perimeter. Spying the stage rooves, seeing Channel [V] and Triple J logos, smelling the fresh-cut grass and hearing distant amplified bass. Your senses are already titillated and the anticipation builds.
The first songs I could identify were by The Last Dinosaurs, and a very familiar tune at that…they were covering Lady by Modjo. Refreshingly surprising to hear a band playing this and doing so well! I was singing just walking down the street. Then it seamlessly progressed in to Spiller’s Groovejet. I was on fire before I even entered the venue! Tops.
Got through the gate, said a quick g’day to my wife who was working, distributing wristbands, and paid my respects to the end of The Last Dinosaurs’ set. Good stuff!
With the vibe already set up, the day was a no fail. Across to the second stage, “Moolin Rouge”, (see what they did there?) for Hungary Kids of Hungary. I’ve been listening to their last album quite a bit and live, these guys were total pros. Great pop songs, plenty of energy, and lots of crowd love. Thoroughly enjoyed the entire set.
But it’s not where the action is! And you can’t get dirty! So next was The Amity Affliction, and wow. In previous settings, I’ve been turned off by the screaming. I love my music loud… a huge fan of The Butterfly Effect, Karnivool and the like. Screaming vocals tend to put me off. But holy hell. I was not prepared for how much I would fall in love with The Amity Affliction today. Their songs are perfect. The riffs bounce and swim exactly how they’re supposed to. Rhythm shifts to half and double time, kick drums and crash symbols adding layers… they can seriously write a good track and created an energy that I’ve rarely seen. The circle pit they created before the final song was hee-yooge! No other similar artists on the bill unfortunately, but to those who attended for a bit of metal were left pleased that they did.
Hopefully they found some gems among the rest of the lineup because there was genuinely great music throughout the day. Following TAA’s set there was a DJ set of 90’s hip-hop, which really got the dancing started. There were plenty of well-prepared characters in the crowd. A few customary Mario & Luigi pairs, Sailor Moon, Bananas in Pyjamas were spotted and much swooned over. But my favourite was this guy:
My wife clocked off work and joined the festival as a punter, and we made our way to Regurgitator to relive our high-school days! Everyday Formula, I Wanna Be A Nudist…I felt a bit silly singing much of their ridiculous ramblings but really did have a good time. I had enough grass space to try some late 90’s style skanking, too. My highlight was when Quan said “This song’s about Kung Fu Sings.” Excellent. That’s my favourite type of song. The below photo taken during “I Will Lick Your Asshole”
My main “geez I’m an old man” moments came from the amount of young girls showing off their own arse cheeks and sideboobs. Done in the right way, I’m a man, OK thanks for the view! But really…there were hundreds of girls just dressed inappropriately with lack of self respect. Dress for the sunny weather but keep your bits in, please. Rant done!
The rest of the evening was a blur and heady mix of music, wandering, dancing, relaxing, waiting in queues for beer, singing and smiling. As the sun went down over Tame Impala, I hit bliss when Feels Like We Only Go Backwards began. I sway my arms high, close my eyes and breathe it all in. Tegan and Sara were also excellent. They didn’t chat with us in between songs, until the very last two, and wish they’d done that more. But they’re excellent performers. The Kooks were also pretty flawless, and as I called it a night was left with an endless loop of the “doo doo doo” chorus from Always Where I Need To Be. Not a bad problem to have. The music stayed with me, so did the great memories of thousands of people all sharing the same experience, expelling energy, smiling, screaming and just being themselves. Music festivals are brilliant beasts and Groovin’ The Moo didn’t fail. I’m certain the events in Maitland, Canberra, Bendigo & Bunbury were just as successful. I enjoyed my much needed dose of live music. Here’s to next year!