22 July, North Byron Parklands

Saturday at Splendour is always my favourite day. For 24 hours I’ve been subsisting on a diet of hummus and goon and things have never looked better.

After stumbling into the festival around 1:30pm we started our day catching Middle Kids under the GW McLennan tent. Now, for those of you who haven’t seen this Sydney trio live, do yourself a favour and catch them whenever you can. Their eclectic multi-instrumental presence is one of the more grand and impressive three-piece troops going around. From there, we rushed to see Bag Raiders – a now household name that has certainly proven their might over many years. The set closer as you might have guessed was Shooting Stars, a song that still over-enthuses any mosh, despite being a few years long in the teeth.

Vallis Alps lulled us into the afternoon with their highly adored Young – a song not easy to fully appreciate until heard live; its nostalgic aura covered the crowd just as the sun sank deep behind the hills. Skipping out a little early to steal some prime real estate for Bernard Fanning‘s greatly anticipated set in the Amphitheater, I could hardly contain myself as a long-time dream came to fruition right in front of me. Easily drawing one of the largest crowds of the three days, Fanning’s set brought calm to a near ten-thousand strong audience. As he moved through his 2017 record, Brutal Dawn, the veteran Aussie rocker – a man ever-concerned with social issues – paused briefly to engage the audience and take the time to express concern surrounding the current government. Fanning’s sheer musical wisdom continued on despite him performing fewer hits than the crowd perhaps expected. 45 minutes in and unfortunately it seemed as though Bernard had brought upon a slumber of sorts. Fewer people were dancing and the mosh seemed to be only a swaying swath of die hards.

But then it happened. The unimaginable. A sight I thought I would never see – Powderfinger. Came. On. Stage. Mass hysteria and excitement were all that ensued as a heaving horde of Splendourites rushed the mosh. Belting out anthems My Happiness and These Days the collective euphoria was seriously tangible. Basking in the sheer energy of the crowd a clearly grateful Fanning thanked all in attendance as he brought the set to a timely close. They’re back, baby!

Angus Stone‘s lesser known but equally impressive solo act, Dope Lemon, carried us through to a vibrant set from the ever-groovy Dan Sultan. British four-piece Catfish & The Bottlemen and Icelandic singer Ásgeir were standouts on the international scene. With the latter’s hyper-ethereal ballad style fully entrancing the crowd.

Topping off the evening of Aussie rock we were sure to not miss Paul Kelly – an icon of the industry who always delivers and exquisite performace. As the crowd sung along to all of his greatest hits it didn’t seem as though life could get any better. Saturday delivered many surprises and it was a day I’ll never forget.

Image courtesy of SITG. Photo credit: Charlie Hardy