Back You are here: Home Reviews Harvest Festival @ Brisbane Botanic Gardens, 19.11.2011

Harvest Festival @ Brisbane Botanic Gardens, 19.11.2011

Come midday Saturday, everyone’s ready to reap what they’ve sown. The sun is blazing as we leisurely stroll through the Botanic Gardens to catch the ultra-funky Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. The first act we get to watch properly are New York’s The Walkmen, who ably demonstrate what a powerful weapon Hamilton Leithauser’s voice is on songs from last year’s Lisbon and longtime favourite The Rat.

Portishead

The cosy Big Red Tractor stage proves to be a great chillout spot – and with a band like Dappled Cities providing the soundtrack, it’s simply a must-attend. Zounds highlights Wooden Ships and The Price are, as expected, magnificent. Over at the sun-scorched Windmill Stage, cosmic Americana kings Mercury Rev make for a dream set, emerging amidst clouds of transparent smoke and sending us to a galaxy far, far away with Deserter’s Songs favourites Holes, Endlessly and Opus 40.

 

The hotly-anticipated TV On The Radio draw hordes of punters to the River Stage, pumping out staples Golden Age, Young Liars, Repetition and, of course, Wolf Like Me to overbearing cheers. Back at BRT, Sydney’s PVT play to about 100 people – a shame, considering tunes like Light Up Bright Fires and the calling card O Soundtrack My Heart are mesmerising.

We briefly check out geeky New Yorkers Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and frontman Alex Ounsworth’s funky hat before finding perfect spots on BRT’s lawn for UK electronic-rockers Death In Vegas – who, save for the omission of Scorpio Rising, deliver a groovetastic hour-long performance. Despite their huge fanbase, the same cannot really be said for Conor Oberst’s yawn-inducing Bright Eyes and we cross over to Windmill to see mighty post-rock fathers Mogwai obliterate everyone’s senses with Rano Pano and Auto Rock.

Discerning music fan’s arena-rockers, The National roll out the full splendour at Riverstage, opening with Anyone’s Ghost, inciting sing-alongs with Afraid Of Everyone and Conversation 16 and creating a huge sonic domain with Fake Empire. Could watch them over and over again and not get bored.

Everyone knows The Flaming Lips put on best psychedelic party at a festival, and they don’t disappoint this time either – in fact, Wayne Coyne and his troops treat us to a spectacle that’s just as jaw-dropping as the one at Splendour 2009. We get the full works: “the birth of psychedelia” grand entrance, a plethora of bouncing balloons, confetti blasts, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots pt.1, dancing cheerleaders, alien suits and the requisite, heart-stopping Do You Realize?? finale.

Following the F’lips’ wide-eyed wonderment, Portishead end the day with a spine-tingling set combining trip-hop classics and more recent material. Hearing Beth Gibbons sing Mysterons, Sour Times, Glory Box and Machine Gun live is an experience to be… well, experienced, and likewise, few could argue that Harvest turned out to be 2011’s best one-day event.

 

Denis Semchenko - AAA Backstage

 

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