The third and final day of Splendour in the Grass 2015 got off to a miserable-looking start with rain pattering over the roofs of the countless tents in the campgrounds, but by the time the music was starting, things had cleared up. Before we dive in, make sure you catch up on the party times we’ve had so far:
It was seventeen minutes into Bad//Dreems‘ set before security allowed a mosh to form, due to the potentially (definitely) unsafe muddy conditions, but when the crowd was finally able to run in towards the stage, it was met with a sigh of relief from frontman Ben Marwe, who exclaimed: “F*ckin’ finally!” The band were rollickingly scungy as ever, a match made in heaven for the grotty conditions underfoot and the punters who danced below them (let’s face it, it’s day three and we are all disgusting by now). Bad//Dreems delivered a raw and rambunctious set full of songs the crowd knew well, such as most recent single Cuffed and Collared, and plenty they didn’t but still seemed to froth on just as much. It certainly got everyone amped up for what’s sure to be a monster final day of Splendour.
If there’s something to be said about this year’s crop of punters, it’s that they definitely don’t let an early set time deter them from catching an amazing band. This worked out very nicely for Holy Holy, who played a swaggering set to hundreds just after midday – no mean feat, considering just how hard the entire festival seemed to be hitting it last night. The ambience of their set was perhaps a slightly kinder way to ease into the day for those of us who’d gone particularly ape on Saturday night, with gentle build ups giving way to rolling distorted instrumentation. Timothy Carroll was clearly loving every moment – he couldn’t keep the smile off his face as the band expertly navigated their catalogue of songs, displaying the effervescent stage presence of a much more storied band. History sparked a stage wide singalong, but nobody could compare to Carroll’s mountainous vocals as pink, blue and yellow lights flickered and spun behind him. Put these guys firmly on your radar if they’re not already there, because we think they’re bound for big things.
Local boys The Delta Riggs arrived on the Amphitheatre stage, ready to send out fitting Sunday arvo rock n roll vibes. The sun was back and while some crowded front of stage embracing it, others stood back along the tree line for shade, but still lapping up the sounds none the less. Tight jeans and rolled up sleeves furbished frontman Elliott Hammond, and as he paced/stumbled around, his guitar was hung so low behind him the head of it dragged along the floor of the stage. Hammond melted the grill off the mic, screaming lyrics to bouncy bop-along The Record’s Flawed. After instructing the crowd “It’s dangerous out there, make sure you keep it sexy”, tremolo heavy For Tonight was dedicated to the ladies, followed by No Friends, which was dedicated to all the “pinga heads” that got on it last night and lost their mates. Shade dwellers were reeled into the arvo sun when the psychedelic grooves of Marmalade Shoes filled the amphitheatre grounds. The set came to an end with a slowed down low down cover of Hey Joe while Elliot smashed a tambourine on his leg so hard it exploded into pieces and the remains were thrown to the crowd.
There’s just no polite way of saying this: Wolf Alice tore Splendour a new one. Ellie Rowsell’s guttural screams were even more startling in person – it was difficult to reconcile such a primal sound with such a tiny person. The band were dripping with sweat and oozing cool as they damn well nearly burst ear drums with their most savage track yet, You’re A Germ, much to the mosh pit’s delight. Bassist Theo Ellis told us a while back that their debut album, My Love Is Cool, was going to be the first chance we’d have to really “meet” Wolf Alice, but he was wrong. This set, with the album now out and receiving rave reviews from around the globe, was our first true introduction to the multi-faceted band. Rowsell didn’t lie when she said they’re not a grunge band – there are elements of grunge here, sure, but there’s so much in the way of contrast, a spirit of adventure and a thirst to craft something truly unique.
The Vaccines emerged to the delighted screams of many, and without a word, launched straight into Handsome, from their latest record English Graffiti. Their jumping, cacophonous indie-rock spurred countless punters to stream down to stage, slipping and slided with their mates in tow. Frontman Jay Jay Pistolet kept up overly-dramatic appearances throughout the set, gesticulating wildly as he sung, head banging so hard he lost his sunnies. Many of The Vaccines’ songs may come off as egotistical or self-involved at first listen, but to witness them in person is to understand that it’s confidence and bravado they’re projecting, and it’s designed to rub off on their fans. It was certainly working – the outlandish shapes that the crowd was pulling were proof of that. The Englishmen delivered #tune after #tune with a popping energy and snappy execution, relishing in the grinning faces below. The theatrics that The Vaccines are capable of – showed off best during firm favourite Do You Wanna – cemented the band as one of the festival’s highlights.
With sets from Jamie T, Alpine, Tame Impala and of course Blur still to come, there’s plenty left to see and do yet! Splendour ain’t over till we say so.
Lead image: James Wills, all other images: Splendour in the Grass
Words by James Wills and Liz Ansley