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Festival Review: Falls Festival Byron Bay 2015 - Day Four

There was a hint of sadness in the air as the sun dawned on the fourth and final day of Falls Festival Byron Bay. No signs of slowing down on the music front through as day four was set to deliver a multiple international acts and a final performance from a seminal Aussie band.

Brissie pixie gal Airling roused people out of their four day hangover, her ethereal voice making some people forget that they haven’t had a shower in multiple days. An eclectic mix of delicate pop and soft electronica, Airling’s set was almost as refreshing as the breeze that was finally making it’s way through Byron Bay parklands.

English rockers Wolf Alice were next up under the convenient shade of the Forest Stage and wouldn’t you know it, the first band to dress sensibly for the weather were poms. Shirtless and in shorts (with lead singer Ellie Rowsell donning a slip of a white dress) Wolf Alice took the crowd through their debut LP. Rounding off the set with a vocally spectacular cover of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear a lot more of Wolf Alice in 2015.

Not many things could have pulled me away from the cool, comfortable Forest stage to the blistering heat of the Valley Stage. Fortunately, catching the second half of Brisbane success story The Kite String Tanglewas one of those things. Running in just in time to catch the heartbreaking Stone Cold The Kite String Tangle (real name Danny Harley) had already fully soaked through his shirt mirroring the heat levels in the crowd. The mega bright sun was the antithesis to the melancholic lyrics of single Arcadia, not that the audience seemed to mind as they bopped and swayed to Harley’s masterful beats. Humble as ever Harley extended his gratitude to the crowd explaining “This time last year I was the Triple J Unearthed act and to be here now is just amazing.” Completing his stellar set with a recording perfect version of Given The Chance, Harley cemented himself as one of the brightest musical gems to come out of the sunshine state in quite some time.

The Kite String Tangle, Photo: Dean Swindell

Creators of one of the most infectious ear worms of 2014, German duo Milky Chance emerged on the Valley stage to a humongous audience. A band of very few words, lead singer Clemens Rehbien said a simple hello before launching to Stunner off their smash hit album Sadnecessary. Rehbien’s stunningly husky voice, prominent on all Milky Chance tracks, was a standout feature of their set.  While the band was quite reserved it didn’t stop the love flooding in from one of the happiest crowds I’ve seen in a long time. There were signs professing love in German, the German flag flying proud and the most amazing crowd moment I’ve seen. I was at the front of the mosh and the usually surly security guards began smiling and laughing at something. Turning around I witnessed the full 9000 person crowd doing the vine together in perfect synchronicity.  As the dance move made its way to the pit and the song ended the look on the bands face was priceless. I think we left a good impression on them as one of the only full sentences Rehbien said was “You guys are fucking crazy!”

Milky Chance, Photo: Dean Swindell

I was prepped and ready to pounce and people started to crowd around to witness what would be the last time they saw Australian legends Bluejuice live.  This was to be their second last show ever as the band dropped the bombshell late last year that they were breaking up after one last victory lap. It was with a heavy heart but high spirits that I fought my way to the barrier of the mosh ready to see one of the best live bands one last time. They did not disappoint. It was pretty much the same set as their retrospectial tour but you would not have heard one complaint. Hit after hit after hit, all the while watching Jake Stone run amok on the stage and Stav Yiannoukas ground his otherwise insane bandmate.

Tears were shed during On My Own as both crowd and band repeatedly yelled “Even though I know that it’s over, even though I know that it’s done.” I’m getting a little emotional writing about it now. Stages were invaded during Vitriol, the song that broke them through into mainstream Australia. People flew around during last ever single I’ll Go Crazy and Jake pulled out his signature climbing up scaffolding move for the high intensity Medication (and on a freshly twisted ankle no less). Going on a glow-in-the-dark theme the band threw hundreds of glow sticks into the crowd only for Stav to command to “make it rain” chucking them all back on stage creating the most spectacular lo-fi light show.Every single song was sung as hard by the audience as it was by the band but none was louder than closer Broken Leg. A tremendously upbeat swan song for one of the most loved Australian bands in the last decade. As the last chords played there was a sense of finiteness within the above capacity crowd, the boys took their last bow together and exited the stage triumphant. It was the highlight of the festival; it was a highlight of my life. Goodbye Bluejuice, you will be sorely missed.

Bluejuice, Photo: Dean Swindell

After such an earthshattering set it was hard to get amped for anything else but the massive crowd helped me get excited for Alt-J’s festival finishing set. While the music was enjoyable enough the performance was a little lackluster compared to their bright and erratic light show. Finishing up the festival with fan favourite Breezeblocks the British quartet's set was good but not as great as their recorded music has led us to believe.

Just as fast as it started it was all over and Falls Festival Byron Bay was finished for another year. It was awful but also kinda great and sometimes the best bloody time of a young person’s life. Really, isn’t that the way all music festivals are supposed to be?

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