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Homebake 2011 Review by Phil Sheather

photography by Julian Wrigley

Looking out the window today is drab compared with the bounty of blue sky and sun that shone on Homebake 2011. With my Homebake app in hand—which was brilliant as it provided in-depth information about the line up and an ‘at the ready' schedule with reminders of where your should be next —I was ready to take on the day’s event.


Opening on the main stage was garage rockers Bleeding Knees Club—who impressed early crowds. Some tracks, I thought, reminiscent of The Ramones.

A stone’s throw away, was the big top, where Gold Fields were punching out a rhythmic melody of pop synth to a now growing crowd. Gold Fields' live act was impressive and demonstrated how great the sound could be under the canopy, blending Born Slippy (from the Trainspotting soundtrack) into their percussion piece Treehouse.

At the Rowland S. Howard stage Split Second, hailing from WA with 5 WAMI awards, wooed the audience with a medley of instruments producing their romantic pop sound. Later appearances on this stage saw Damndogs (consisting of members from Jet) served up their indie rock, and the dirty rocker sound of Noah Taylor and The Sloppy Boys.


A notable performance here was Unknown Mortal Orchestra from New Zealand who packed the marquee with punters wanting to catch a glimpse of the talented trio’s psychedelic rhythms and Hendrix sounding guitar hooks.

The Dome’s leafy surrounding fig trees provided a panacea to the mid afternoon sun. New Zealand’s Avalanche City gave punters an upbeat orchestra of folk, while CW Stoneking brought out the banjo and the Primitive Horns to entertain the crowd with his hillbilly blues.


 The songstress Sarah Blasko joined the stage for Gurrumul's final ballad making for pleasant listening. And the legendary band The Triffids were joined by a league of vocal talent including Mick Harvey and Alexander Gow (Oh Mercy). A respectful crowd looked on with the Cut Copy lads.

By mid afternoon the punters had filled the grassy surrounds of the main stage to watch, among others, Homebake veterans The Vines, Architecture In Helsinki and The Jezabels.

With unianimous applause, from the crowd, Gotye brought Kimbra to the stage for Somebody I used to Know. However the sound coming from Goyte’s set was a little disappointing to say the least —particularly true of Somebody I used to Know the subtle beginning of the track was drowned by the crowd at times but as  the chorus kicked in the crowd's cheers were lost over the vocals of duo Kimbra and Gotye.


Well into the evening Ladyhawke lit up the big top captivating the audience with her seductive voice and electro beats but it was Pnau that stole away an elated crowd by unleashing their irresistible electro dance pop and provided a visually stellar performance—Nick Littlemore’s engergetic stage presence and Gwenno Saunders’s gorgeous voice echoed throughout The Domain.


With all their touring Cut Copy have not tired a bit—sounding like a well oiled synthesized machine. Their performance shone with tightly assemble beats, an epic light show and an awesome stage presence.


Volume controls were at maximum when Grinderman hit the main stage to close the night. I watched in awe , as did the rest of the crowd, as frontman Nick Cave launched himself over the crowd barriers bellowing vocals across out to the masses. High energy, impact and a cacophony of sound was precisely delivered by Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos and Martyn Casey for all of the set but especially for No Pussy Blues


With ringing ears I exited en masse out the gates of Homebake 2011 having gladly participated in the return of an important Aussie festival.