REVIEW - Groove Armada Conquer Melbourne Parklife

03 October 2010

It was always going to be a tough ask... Australia's premiere dance music festival going up against the AFL Grand Final rematch on the same day in a football mad Melbourne. But my friends, I think they just about pulled it off.

Parklife could not have asked for better weather. The sun was shining, and if there were any birds around, I'm sure they'd be singing -- a massive line-up of fine local and international acts and a cool new venue; the perfect ingredients for a quality day out, right?

The first act I managed to catch was Yo Landa Be Cool who were playing a DJ set on one of the smaller stages. They were pretty cool, but as I hadn't eaten lunch at this time, my mind was very much on overpriced hot dogs than it was on these guys.

An overpriced hot dog later and I was at one of the larger stages watching The Wombats... how did these guys get so big? Flashbacks to seeing them DJ at a small pub in Melbourne to be and about 4 other mid-week desperados... and now half of Melbourne (minus everyone at the game) is watching them play they're uber cool/semi-ironic brand of indie rock. A pretty cool set... LETS DANCE TO JOY DIVISION.

I managed to catch a wee bit of Uffie whilst walking from one stage to another... wow she is, like, totally hot and shiz. A bit pop, a bit electro, all rolled up in to one British dynamo... will definitely have to revisit her music at a later stage.

For me, though, the one act I wanted to see all day was the Belgium geniuses Soulwax. Looking well dapper in matching suits... this performance was intense. Relentless. Unforgiving. This is what a festival set should be about. Anyone who hasn't seen these guys play before is missing out... besides, they're all incredibly handsome. Set of the day? So far...yes.

How to come down now? Go and eat another overpriced hot dog. Chill. Dandy Warhols. The token guitar band for the day. As it happens, I love guitars... so was well pumped to see these guys. Two songs in they busted out 'We Used To Be Friends' and despite a call from a member of the audience that "My Restaurant Rules had killed the song" it was still awesome... thing is though, this was all I could watch of these guys as they were on the same time as Missy Elliot. No one likes a clash, especially when the one of hip-hop's finest is on. Surely I didn't want to miss Missy?
Well my friends, that was my biggest mistake of the day. I am actually racking my brains to try and think of a worse performance I have ever seen by anyone, anywhere, in any genre of music.

Missy Elliot. Why oh why? I had made a massive effort to get right to the front of the stage to see her, and she was dreadful. There was actually a moment in the set where one member of the crowd was huddled up against the wall urinating into a cup. I had t double take... was this actually happening? What an image... a shocking performance juxtaposed with a quick wee into a cup. A lowlight of the day. Sure, I can understand that Missy is a hip hop legend, whose records are brilliant -- a key figure in the history of popular music... but her stage show just seemed so unorganised. Random dancers doing their own thing. Missy out of tune and out of time. And don't even get me started on the cringe-tacular "tribute" to Missy's dead idols like Lisa Left Eye Lopez, Michael Jackson etc...vom.

Luckily though, there was still one act left to play who would re-write this wrong... Groove Armada in what would be their final ever Melbourne performance. What a set. Parklife 2010 was very much the Groove Armada show. The light show, the sound, the set list. Everything just came together. The new songs like 'Paper Romance' and 'History' were incredible... the crowd was buzzing... dancing... it was a moment in time. 'My Friend' was beautiful, and the lone encore song of 'Superstylin'... well... I got no words.

2/10/10 = the day Collingwood demolished St Kilda AND the day Groove Armada demolished Parklife.

That's it everyone... see you next year!

Check out some awesome videos from the Parklife artists below!

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