"Fuck you!" a punter in a nearby teepee hollers when one of his campmates plays Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) at 8.46am. There's a bit of random sports action going on in the campground, particularly that toss and catch game with Velcro frisbee for mitt.
Uncharacteristic weather report: At about 11.35am, there's a downpour. It looks as if it'll be all over within ten minutes, then persists; following this pattern twice. Then the skies clear up again, returning to hot and steamy. Another Daft Punk track gets an airing during set-up time. Can they just hurry up and announce a 2017 world tour already? Several Glitterfication Stations are scattered around the site for added Instagram enabling.
Random festival observation/possible improvement for next year: It's a pain in the arse having to use tokens for one thing (dranks) and cash for others (eats). And we could also use a coffee vendor in the Main Stage area instead of two in Central Park Stage area.
Big Words project their band name across Main Stage's back screen at regular intervals throughout their set, by way of introduction, and what they bring is an interesting hybrid with two band members taking turns with the vocals. Keys player William Scullin boasts a more trained, soulful timbre whereas his bass-playing counterpart Kieren Lee demonstrates something more raw. Lee fails to nail some sustained notes, but his hip-hop delivery is strong. This act call to mind Matisyahu. Guitarist Cam Dusting looks as if he'd rock out in a showier, riff-centric band with songs containing more guitar solos. Big Words throw a bit too much into each song at the moment and could use refining, but they'll work it out.
Next up on Main Stage (and amid whispered storm warnings) Alex Lahey belts into Wes Anderson (complete with cheeky chorus lyrics, "You're the best night's sleep I've ever had"). She unwittingly supplies BTV with their own collective festival slogan via Every Day's A Weekend.(What? Today's Thursday?) It's a tough slot - we're all baking and wilting - but the punters are definitely behind Lahey. The bass player's BVs are a little high in the mix (especially during Let's Go Out), but Lahey and co. once again prove they're worthy of all the ongoing hype/awards.
Wandering back to the campsite in search of shade, we actually see posses assembled inside their cars with engines running and air-con set to Arctic Blast. But when it's hot to the point of vanity vanishing out the windows, that mindset's a welcome addition to any festival.
In Central Park's culinary delight section, there's actually a Smashed Avo stall. We (willingly) pay $12 to sample "The Classic". Worth it? Hells, yeah! You even get two slices of artisan toast with it! Native Spirit(featuring brothers Jonathan, Asher and Daniel Takle) take a couple of songs to get their shit together but, when they do, the drummer leads competent dance-inspired sounds akin to peak-time Underworld. A girl we share a brolly with says she lives near these fellas, in Eltham, and describes their music as "groovy". Her mate then offers, "I'm getting lots of Rufus vibes."
A guy surfs barefoot down the muddy hill leading up to Main Stage's main entrance, wipes out and then announces, "Not even Care Bear!"
The DJ we swear we saw warming up for TLC's recent Palais Theatre show (Mimi) drops No Scrubs (which we hear for the second time this festival - always welcome) in between sets just so we just know we're not mistaken.
No spirits are dampened as Harts commences with some vicious licks underscored by alluring bass during a rainstorm. There's some dish-plate pupils darting around the front section about now - ping! The festival's night lights prematurely illuminate at 4.40pm, cutting through the gloomy conditions, but Darren Hart generates plenty of heat of his own up there. He introduces a "new one" Fear In Me (from his latestSmoke Fire Hope Desire set) and if we were the test audience he's got a surefire hit on his hands. Then Peculiar further melts our faces. When Prince passed early this year, he definitely gave Harts his (probably purple) blessing to continue his legacy. When will the world catch on? In 2017, we hope. While Hart plays a dementedly awesome guitar solo, a "Sever [sic] Weather" warning flashes across the back screen. Many sing along with the paralysingly amazing Red & Blue. Hart encourages us not to be scared of the rain, admitting he's concerned he jinxed our festival via Breakthrough lyrics ("Let it pour like rain"). He politely requests that we attend one of his own headline shows down the track, but we need no encouragement.
Many have already scurried off to batten down the hatches (or in the case of tents, flaps?), but now the hardcore among us that toughed out inclement weather conditions for Harts follow suit. There's a dude wearing a sumo suit! He's probably wet with sweat under there, but nonetheless not satched by the rain.
There's a cool-but-crazy-looking sextet just finishing up as we wander into Central Park. They're shambolic in a rad way, like King Gizz and co, and we wish we'd seen more of Splendidid. Sinead Horne follows on this stage, accompanying herself on keys, and her voice floats whimsically by on the breeze (sweetly singing No Diggity, no less). The wind makes a perfect Beyoncé fan for Horne, but it's rave o'clock so we hike up the hill to Main Stage.
Some punters are getting about completely covered in mud as if they've emerged straight from a swamp. Then we see from whence these mythical creatures came. Half of Main Stage's front section has become a mudflat, which these maniacally grinning revellers have converted into their own slip'n'slide.
We check out Dance Tent for the first time and Purple Disco Machine(nice 'tache!) slams down cuts for the munted from his sky-high position that would make requests impossible (except, perhaps, if you sat on your mate's shoulders with a giant light box hanging around your neck spelling out the title of said song). It's fun watching some shufflers trying to work around these groovier tempos.
It's not raining so we go back outside and hear Claptone expertly throwing down the most wafer-thin of Black Box samples (Ride On Time). Geez, the flies are aggressive 'round here! The pests repeatedly double-divebomb into mouths and ears (we speak to a coupla peeps who have actually even swallowed flies!?). Claptone looks like a magician up there and fucking sounds like one as well. A sample from Wildchild'sRenegade Master totally wins us over. Master of the sizzling tease-drop, Claptone demonstrates his steez during an In The City remix. Including Underworld's Born Slippy!? Genius. We then score the sludgiest of shuffling bass beats to take our hips hostage. What's Claptone's secret? Is it something to do with those mime-inspired white gloves he wears? An endless supply of coke in the nose of his mask? He throws a couple of crumpled pieces of paper out into the crowd (his phone number, perhaps?)
It's nice and loud in Dance Tent as we enter to check out Sonny Fodera.
The visuals are spectacular: A1 quality, often utilising a pyramid configuration, which reminds us (once again) that we ache for a Daft Punk tour. His song with repeated "party all night" lyrics coaxes a massive cheer. Gypsy Woman by Crystal Waters, served with added bass rumble, is immense and we all "La-da-dee/La-da-dow" along.
Emerging from Dance Tent back out to Main Stage causes an unavoidable drop in volume, but Bag Raiders (live) hold out on the hits and deal slow, laidback, funky cuts - a little too much so for their 9.45pm time slot. The cover of darkness sees pesky flies go nigh-nigh, which is a relief. Then Snake Charmer slithers in - now we're talking; that percussion (or is it xylophone?) sounds irresistible live! Way Back Homeis almost unrecognisable were it not for the lyrics, but the set's tempo has now shifted and Sunlight is so awesome it redeems anything that came before. Bag Raiders (of course) close with their biggest hit,Shooting Stars (which actually evokes Cut Copy) and all are well into it.
In between sets, the punters get down to Afroman's Because I Got High. It's important to find some stable ground for Hot Chip DJs, which puts right up to the sound desk out of action unless you already resemble a golem. The DJ drops Missy Elliott's Get Ur Freak On, which is rudely interrupted. Punters boo. "Sorry, that was a bit of a quick cut off, that was not supposed to happen," announces one half of Hot Chip DJs. "Anyway, this is Hot Chip." They play a Star Wars theme intro tape. A munted Melbourne man shares, "I love just getting into the zone of the music!" as he skates over the mudflat to get closer to Hot Chip DJs. We watch threatening distant lightning behind the stage while a punter blows rhythmically into a whistle - old school! We're then treated to a new Joe Goddard track called Lasers, which we're are told is fresh outta London - "business class, bitches!" It's sinister and darker than a black hole, to soundtrack your K-hole. What a jump from Bag Raiders' breezy, sunny afternoon stylings!?
Meanwhile, over in Dance Tent everyone's unleashing their inner freaks for Guy Gerber. His is a proper Ibiza set: Space recovery at 7am or some such hedonistic hour.
Back down at Hot Chip DJs and everyone's thinking it: Hot Chip live would've been preferable. Every time they mix in one of their own tracks, such as Flutes, the hill comes to life. We hear a rumour that a storm is 15 minutes away. Okay, then, finish this drink and if involuntary movement doesn't take hold soon it's back to camp we go. Then they drop Prince'sControversy and we must pay our respects. We clock a fitness-fanatic couple doing push-ups in the mud. Hot Chip DJs are stealth back-to-back mixers and show-off changeovers impressively teeter between tracks.
En route to our tents, a group of dudes attempt to lure passersby over for a spontaneous "spot pulse". All involved must drop on cue, grabbing their own ankles and then twerking as fast as possible. Is this even a thing?
Inside tents we drift off, listening to punters holler along to Spice Girls'Stop, safe in the knowledge that our future is in safe hands. Or is it?