Menu ▲

Falls Festival Review: The scenewave guide to surviving Marion Bay Falls

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on January 25, 2013

After our time spent at Falls Festival in Marion Bay, Tasmania, we’ve developed a somewhat informative list (I make lists all the time) of 9 rules/tips, that can hopefully help out future Falls-goers by learning from our many mistakes and few victories.

Rule #1: Get your grog in.

This one’s key. I don’t want to make us all out to sound like useless alcoholics and that you need a bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Gold each day to have a good time – but it’s the truth. And after having all of our 16 bottles of spirits confiscated from our impenetrable vessel – inappropriately named ‘The Trojan’ – we were the most dejected and sorry bunch in the campsite.

Usually we get stuck into the grog-hiding techniques: from vodka in the water bottles, rum in the ginger ale, bottles in the spare tyre, etc. Every time we just get waved through and don’t bother to check a single thing. Last year at Splendour, my mate and I agreed that nek time, ‘Screw it. We could’ve had four cartons of heavies strapped to the car roof and have still been waved through. Remember this next time, and that there is a 0{6dc52fbdce2f0f97cf8a089cc5e2946dca963f75b53e76b06e4c7d8acf27faad} chance that we’ll get checked.’

So we relayed this information to our festival first-timers, who were driving all the grog in alone. As it turns out, we put the spirit bottles in bags, which I personally thought was an over-concealment, and three bottles were chucked in randomly at the last minute (the culprit is yet to come forward and face the music), and the rest is history. Luckily for our inexperienced comrades, their cavities were spared a thorough search, but they walked away with their tails between their legs nonetheless.

All we managed to get in was one measly Golden Oak Medium Dry White goon bag – and by god, it was the tastiest alcoholic drink under $10 I’ve ever put to my mouth.

Rule #2: Keep yo lids on.

I have to say, we were a little put out and surprised by the amount of fuckwits at Falls. I’m not saying too many, but more than we expected. You know the kind. The kind who upon getting through the gates to the festival, immediately get their lids off and tuck their deep-cut festival singlet in their back pocket, all in a pre-meditated and concerted effort to show off the countless hours invested at the gym, and their Latin cursive tattoos, which are usually comprised of an italicised ‘Carpe Diem’ (the Latin YOLO).

These dickheads really ruin the carefree festival atmosphere that the Falls team foster and it really is a shame that there’s no Tasmanian Big Day Out or Stereosonic where these all of these wankers could hang out, flex in front of each other and practice the Zyzz dance moves.

Rule #3: Get in to the festival early.

Falls Festival boasts one of the lineups with the most depth of all Australian festivals, and this year was certainly one of their strongest. Absolutely minimal clashes means that timetables are sorted for you and you don’t have to stress to make the last 15 minutes of one of your favourite bands.

Day One – 30th December 2012

We started with Best Coast, who were surprisingly left off the main stage, but I’m sure they’ll brag about sharing a stage with Coolio for years to come. Between starting ‘scoll, scoll, scoll’ chants, urging the audience to neck their beers every couple of songs, the lead singer declared that the tune “The Only Place”, which was written about California, could well sum up Marion Bay, and the crowd agreed, communally singing ‘we’ve got the ocean, got the babes, we’ve got the sun, we’ve got the waves, this is the only place for me’.

At 5pm, we were treated with the delicate indie jams of Bombay Bicycle Club, and they were certainly my favourite act of the two days. Starting with “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep” was just surreal, and must be the one of the best ways to start a set ever. “Your Eyes” and “Always Like This” were incredible, as well as the majority of the tracks that they played from A Different Kind Of Fix. I eagerly await their return to Australian shores.

Rule #4: Don’t play flip cup.

Unfortunately, goon sacks don’t have a disclaimer on the side of them, stating: “If you like the bands Two Door Cinema Club, The Hives and TEED, do not pour this wine into a cup, skull the cup, and proceed to flip it onto the other end”. If it had, we all may have a bit more of a clue of what happened during the night of the 30th, and not have had to sheepishly ask our mates the next day, “Soooo… they played Undercover Martyn, right?”

My vague recollections of their set inform me that Beacon tracks “Next Year”, “Settle” and “Sun” were all superb, and that they unsurprisingly finished with crowd favourites “What You Know”, “I Can Talk” and “Undercover Martyn”. One of the best festival bands getting around, and I was certainly jealous of Lorne getting them for NYE.

Rule #5: Meet at the rainbow tree.

The rainbow tree was hands down the best meeting place for tracking down your mates when lost in the festival. It certainly saved my skin that night, and avoided me having to rave to TEED alone.

Rule #6: If Pele Anqvist asks you if you love The Hives, you answer accordingly.

The Hives are easily one of the best live acts getting around. While Pele might piss some people off with his on stage persona and unashamed arrogance, it’s important you take him with a grain of salt, because if in the right frame of mind, he will deliver one of the best performances you’ll be lucky enough to experience. “Go Right Ahead”, from their new record, was sensational, as was the traditional closing of all their sets, “Tick Tick Boom”, where Pele makes the entire crowd sit down before launching them into the most animated mosh of the night.

Having done my TEED prep, which involved watching countless live videos, I knew what I was in for with Orlando’s live gig. But nothing, and especially not my shitty Logitech speakers, could prepare me for that drop of “American Dream Part 2”. It landed and it was absolute mayhem. “Household Goods” was crazy as expected, as was “Tapes and Money” and “Your Love”.

Day Two 31st – NYE

The last day of the festival, New Year’s Eve, boasted the deepest and strongest lineup of the two days, with absolutely no reason to leave the main stage. It kicked off with Ball Park Music, who proved once again why they are one of the most frothed over festival bands. Sam Cromack delivered a special performance as frontman, forever pushing indie fashion boundaries, this time double-strapping a backpack which clearly had nothing in it. “It’s Nice To Be Alive” and “Coming Down” will remember me of that festival more than any other tracks played.

Django Django played the most incredible set, and for more details on them, have a read of our latest review of their gig at the Zoo (we couldn’t get enough and had to go back for more). The Vaccines played late afternoon when everyone is usually at their most boozed, and they brought the house down. After having been a little ‘meh’ about their latest record, Come Of Age, I completely turned a corner watching their set. All the songs had stuck with me live and sounded amazing in a festival setting. “Post Break-Up Sex” and “All In White” were highlights.

Rule #7: Stay off the shoulders.

Boy & Bear was dominated by eager luts getting up on shoulders which created an impenetrable wall and the band were impossible to see. I remember “Fall At Your Feet” went completely mental, as did our Falls roadtrip song from the year prior, “Golden Jubilee”. I couldn’t think of a better way to see in the sunset of New Year’s eve (maybe other than Bon Iver) than Beach House. It was sensational. That airy dream-pop thing they’ve got going was combined with some insane backdrops and bulk smoke, which made her even more unidentifiable, if that’s even possible.

Rule #8: Lay off the drugs, Wayne Coyne.

The Flaming Lips played New Years and I have to say, were kind of disappointing. I’ve heard from a myriad of mates that they’re one of those acts that you don’t need to know any of their songs to have an amazing time at their concert. How it went down was, that they played a complete blur of tunes that no one particularly knew up until “Do You Realize”. A close up of his battered old head through his close-up microphone camera has been eternally burned into my mind. They then went into “New Year’s Eve Freakout”, and as promised, they gave us confetti city. No balloons this time. Unfortunately, the gale-force winds prevented anyone further back from 10 rows in to get involved in the action, so that was a bit of a bummer.

Any disappointed fans only had to hang about for a short half hour for electro-pop veterans Hot Chip to grace the stage. They were fucking unreal. Funky, drunk dancing combined with a pretty much greatest hits setlist resulted in one of the best sets of the festival. Tracks from their new record were so tight.

SBTRKT was absolutely mental and not at all what I had expected. I had an preconceived image of him up there wearing that badass mask, going through the motions on the decks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. He plays a live drumkit, with all sorts of added spoilers, which enabled him to control everything from his kit. It was insane. He was accompanied by Sampha, who had the crowd eating out the palm of his hands. He’s one of those singers that sounds like he just isn’t trying; really laid back and easy to listen to.

Then, like that (after hours spent looking for a butter chicken ended in vain) the festival was all over.

Rule #9: Bring back Govindas!

A late night binge of Govindas would have completed what was an incredible live festival. Marion Bay certainly knows how to do Falls. The heavies are awesomely priced (easy for us to say as Qlders), great food, great close campsite, majority of happy, chilled out music lovers, and it boasts one of the greatest festival lineups in Australia, without a single clash.

Thanks, Marion Bay, we’ll be back!

Leave a Reply