Ahhh Paradise Music Festival, a veritable festival highlight of the calendar which mixes hanging with 2,000 of your closest mates with amazing local acts, an industrial dance hall and a beautiful mountain location (complete with sub zero temperatures).
What more could you want? See our top ten experiences from the kick off festival of the season.
All photographs in this article by Laura Owsianka
Best Musical Institution: My Disco
These legends may not be everyone’s cup of tea, when oddly placed at the Saturday party time slot, but you cannot argue with ten years of musical experience. My Disco is an experience to behold as they pull apart the fabric of rock music and amplify every chord and drum stroke until they reach some amazing post punky noise. They put on an absolutely incredible performance, made only more striking by the atmospheric venue.
Best Vocals: Lurch And Chief
These Melbournites are incredible live not just for the music but also for the energy that each member brings to the stage. The best thing about this band is the vocal interplay between Hayden Somersville’s unique and emotion laden tones with Lilibeth Hall’s striking use of vocal looping making the already full sound even larger. Although it is difficult to differentiate any highlight in this set, their cover of Air’s “Sexy Boy” was bloody beautiful.
Best Reason To Stay Up Until Sunrise: Misty Nights
If there was any downfall, it would have been early Saturday morning lineup at Clubland. The acts did not seem to keep the flow going throughout the morning. However, if you had the stamina (natural or otherwise) to make it through to 6am, you were rewarded to a fantastic set by Misty Nights. His bouncy, disco infused house helped push through the tiredness for the night owls/got the early risers moving and smiling enough to ignore the brightening sky visible through Clublands’ high windows.
Best Onstage Antics: Dorsal Fins
The nine-person strong menagerie that is Dorsal Fins was one of the absolute highlights of this festival. Even in my hungover and sleep deprived state, I still managed to drag my sorry arse to the front to have a boogie to their genre bending tunes which I hereby name psych-funk-rock. As the set descended into an incredible frenzy, several of the band members began some simian antics with the percussionist rattling away at the top of a speaker stack and the guitarist hanging from the stage scaffolding luckily being caught by the tallest dude at the festival. What a time to be alive. Special mention for best cover: Pash by Kate Ceberano.
Best Discovery: Broadway Sounds
Punters who were lax about arriving in time for the music on Friday received no accommodation by the Paradise scheduling as the bands were pumping from the get go. Call me out of the loop, but knowing nothing of Broadway Sounds, they totally blew me away. Opening with more laid back world music/Jinja Safari vibes, this unique set grooved through elements of funk, afrobeat and jungle with incredible variation with a Yoko Ono cover for good measure.
Best Non-Music Experience: Creek hangs
Paradise isn’t named for no reason: the location is one of the most beautiful I have ever been to. The drive towards the alpine resort would be striking enough for its rolling vistas, but the burnt out forests are off this planet. Every time of the day there is a new visual experience and this is a festival where it definitely pays to take time out from the stage for exploring. Feeling real fragile after the night before, a group of my mates journeyed to the creek for our first beers of Saturday and were not disappointed. Friendly banter was exchanged with other creek explorers, relaxing was had and dance-sore feet were soaked. Our hang was quickly made responsible for our revitalisation ready for another long day of music, but really it could have been the hair of the dog…
Special mention: Sunset at the summit
Best Act For Making Friends At The Front: Habits
Perhaps it’s their super inclusive ethos as well as their awesome bangers that make Habits so fucking enjoyable. Their set is another highlight of the weekend with a perfect combination of harder dance tracks and more melancholic electronic pop numbers. Although in an arguably strange slot (mid afternoon rather than later for the party times), Habits got a whole bunch of old mates all grooving and smiling together.
Special mention: The Harpoons
Best Band To Be Hungover To: Good Morning
I was so excited to see these new kids on the block which I guess is how I managed to stumble out of tent and down to the stage still in my bed shirt. I am a big fan of the melancholic Mac DeMarco vibes of “You”, however this set was surprising in its variation with a mix of the warmer psych tracks and cute rock tracks like “Overslept.” Absolutely perfect vibes for the sunny pre-noon eating-the-end-of-your-mate’s-jaffle times…good morning indeed.
Best Set For Techno Fans: Cale Sexton
Well known on the dance scene, Cale Sexton is a Melbourne staple who can slam out some deep house and techno like it ain’t no thing. Again, if you could struggle through the mediocre sets before him, he was certainly worth the wait slamming bass and impressive monochromatic visuals to get the wee hours going with some serious dancing.
Best Dance Moves: Black Vanilla
Black Vanilla started out as a live project and are seriously nothing but a good time. Although I wanted to get down to their unique mix of dance and R&B, there was simply too much happening on stage with Marcus Whale and Lavurn Lee jumping around like kids who got into the red cordial while smashing out some sick raps. By the end of the set, they were inviting so many people up on stage that it was it’s own party.
Stay classy – Rosa.