Laneway 2017 And how to be a human being

Artwork by Astrid Ana Jansen

tl;dr: My Laneway was hashtag lit (and we’ll kick you off with a playlist).

I woke up in one of those bastardised moods where I’d have just liked to keep human interaction to the minimum and spend the entire damn weekend under the sheets. You’ve had those, I’ve had those, we’ve all had those, let’s face it. Bare minimum. Even if that meant missing Glass Animals later in the night.

Picture: Joshua Loh / 23compendium

But I had to. I made a commitment. I showered and I put on my Nike’s for their last swansong in the rain and mud, and I made my way.

As it happened, my Uber dropped me somewhere with no sign of a music festival present. Could not tell you where I was, but I saw two Caucasian ladies with floral headbands (obvs.) and asked if I could follow them in the search for music and a beer.

I was well lost but I knew our five minute trek was definitely towards the wrong direction, and I had to stop them. They asked why they were wrong and my best answer was “I just know!”. We got into a little kerfuffle and frustratingly said our goodbyes, and while they continued, and I Google Maps-ed my ass on to The Meadows.

It was still pissing down, I had the most ridiculous poncho on, my 10 dollar beer was getting weaker with every drop of rain that interfered, and soggy cigarettes just aren’t as cool as normal, dry cigarettes. I find the Bay Stage just in time to see Gang of Youths’ David Le’aupepe plunged into the crowd and in the rain and be lifted around in biblical fashion what with his luscious locks of hair.


But in my left peripheral was one very annoying waving hand. One desperate hand just calling out for attention. I look over, and see a smiling face waving right at me. She had a very familiar floral headband, and she raised her can of beer. I obliged, with a smile. The two ladies made it.

And I can tell you, it was right then and there and when and where I just… grew up. I embraced the shit out of the situation I was in. The liquid sunshine turned seductive, the puddles all around me became my friends, I could genuinely see the #goodvibes hashtags floating through the air. And all the music? A blessing.

Le’aupepe’s affection with the crowd was a treat, and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard tickled with the adrenaline, but it’s the seven to ten minutes after an act where it all kicks off.

The few minutes you have to switch stages on to the next act, or stop for a quick piss, or grab a warm-about-to-get-moist-with-rain kebab and tacos for a bite; it just seemed like the mundanities of ordinary life turned into festivities. Like switching pleasantries with the bloke behind you in a queue for the loo? Always enjoyable. There’s nothing you’ll quite hate.

Picture: Joshua Loh / 23compendium
Picture: Joe Kang / 23compendium

Tourist flaunted his emotive club music that made the crowd dance, cry, sometimes both. Fiddling with his electronics and telling the saddest most loving stories in a manner only he knew how. Sometimes it got a bit fucking annoying when you feel like your heart’s about to break any moment now, but Tourist made it a good day out.

Tycho didn’t disappoint either; Scott Hansen wouldn’t dare. Awake is the first time Tycho recorded an album with a three-piece band, and if the prior stuff showed glimpses of another reality you’d like to be in, this one rolls out the red carpet with ethereal klaxons. They don’t quite bother with vocals, but their guitar licks will give you all the soul-enhancing non-lyrics you need.

Picture: Joe Kang / 23compendium
Picture: Joe Kang / 23compendium

“…slow down, it’s a science
He’s been waiting, to bring you down

…snake eyed, with a sly smile
He can hold you , and shake you child”

There were a lot more people around, not in a crowded sweat-swapping way, but you could make out the merry-infected tickles and giggles that continuously endorsed the festival. Glass Animals came on to a stage draped in a orange hue, very matchy-matchy with their latest album How to Be a Human Being (apt). And the album’s whimsical and hypnotic lyric “Pineapples are in my head” made more sense with every new dance move I was inventing on the spot. The album was stitched and sewn into four-minute masterpieces with anecdotes and stories (some of love, crystal meth, and cocaine) picked up by Dave Bayley while on their first headlining tour in 2015. Don’t you just love it when things come full circle?

My ride back home was much simpler this time, and the hot shower I so earned was equally antidotal. My next cup of tea tasted as good. And as for the rain? The lights were brighter, and the music was louder. Maybe they always were.

Picture: Joe Kang / 23compendium



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