2 September, The Clay Pits, Jindabyne
By the time the evening rolled in for Snowtunes day two, we were definitely more mentally and physically prepared. Denim jackets and jeans of yesterday were swapped in favour of layer upon layer of thermals, fluorescent ski jackets and an array of fluffy accessories, plus extra jumpers and gloves in case it got extra frosty. Comfort over fashion was essential.
Other punters brought back the humble poncho, and the one-piece ski suit reigned. It was a slower start than yesterday, allowing the hungover masses some time to recover from day one’s explosive festivities. There was a dreamy, grey haze overhead (threatening rain… please, please no) as live stage sound checks resonated throughout the festival grounds in preparation for the incredibly talented line-up ahead.
First up, the passionate Sydney-based rapper Losty – who was also on MC duties for the festival – bounced around the stage at 6:10pm, exhibiting his eclectic Aussie hip hop tunes as punters rolled in slowly. By eclectic, I mean that Losty was joined by up and coming electro-pop superstar Sammi Constantine and Sydney-via-UK rapper Bigredcap, altogether creating a stimulating fusion of Aussie and UK rap with electro-pop undertones.
Constantine glided around on stage comfortably, promptly breaking into smooth pop tunes as her deep, soulful voice contrasted Losty’s. Bigrepcap ‘coincidentally’ strutted onto the stage (wearing a big red cap) rapping over a mix to Boney M.’s Sunny. Half way through their set, the electronic stage had packed out with enthusiastic hip hop lovers, waving their hands up and down in unison with Losty and Bigredcap. They ended their incredible set with “a song about us only having one life, so we’ve got to make the most of it Snowtunes!” Losty yelled, and the crowd went wild.
Nina Las Vegas was next on our list of acts to catch. The incredibly talented Sydney-based DJ, radio host and producer from Wagga Wagga certainly knew how to rev up a crowd. Nina Agzarian began her set with a trap mix of Shake What Your Mama Gave Ya! ,beckoning out: “Can you go nuts?” We certainly did, jumping together for joy and warmth. Red, three-dimensional projections matched Agzarian’s red, Spanish flamenco-styled shirt as she spun and bounced, immersed in her element. A few songs in, she called out, “Jindabyne, you need to grind up on your partner right now,” while a mix Rihanna’s Sex With Me sung out. “I’m a country girl from a very rural town in Australia, so this is fucking amazing for me,” she yelled, and everyone cheered as fireworks exploded from the stage.
By the time 9:00pm rolled around we were glued to the electronic stage, pushing and hustling for a prime spot to catch L D R U. Sydney-based Drew Carmody brought up the energy, throwing banger after banger to the gyraiting crowd – half up, half down on friend’s shoulders. He spun an epic remix of Rüfüs’ Innerbloom while spectacular visuals of baby blues and pinks with his signature tropical graphics of watermelons, fluorescent fish and piña colada projected behind him. Carmody merged into a trap mix of Benny Benassi’s Cinema, making punters so excited that one tried to jump up on stage. Carmody cleverly kept us waiting in anticipation untill the end for his biggest hits, Keeping Score, To Be Free and Me, as we sung along: “Now you’re all I can see / And it’s hard to believe / You’ve been waiting for / Waiting for me.” Sorry to all the random punters I gestured to while singing that last one.
10:00pm saw Tkay Maidza absolutely slay her set. We were immediately blown away by her mesmerising stage presence – her stamina is insane. The Adelaide-based electronic rapper started with some songs from her 2016 album TKAY , You Want and Carry On , as the crowd swayed, jumped, and sung along with her. “Are you guys ready to turn up?! Who’s already lit?” Maidza called out while everyone roared back a resounding “YES”. When she performed Do It Right, her famous 2014 collaboration with Martin Solveig, the crowd lost their shit while smoke and fire exploded from the stage.
U-Huh was followed by a mix to Hermitude’s Hyper Paradise, bold yellow and black graphics dancing on stage, complimenting Maidza’s bright yellow top and red ski pants. “This is so much fun; I hope you guys are having fun!” she said before her last two songs `. We yelled at the top of our lungs: “Cause I keep moving / I keep moving / I keep moving along / Stuck in the simulation” to finish off her dynamic set.
In-between the main acts on the live stage, Sydney-Based DJ Royal who had played the previous night, was mixing a diverse range of tunes to keep us going. Everything from electronic to classic rock songs, with the likes of Good Charlotte (screaming out “I DON’T WANNA BE IN LOVE” like it was 2007) and The Killers catching us off-guard. We sung along to an infectious mix of Mr. Brightside, as a group of overly enthusiastic punters danced around topless. Another sneaky dude managed to get up on the stage and start filming with his phone, the guys setting up for Gang Of Youths totally oblivious to this dude walking around on stage and doing the running man before promptly jumping off into the crowd, never to be seen again.
The headline act Gang Of Youths came around quicker than expected; the night had gone way too fast! Consisting of frontman David Le’aupepe, Max Dunn on bass guitar, Jung Kim on keyboards and guitar, Joji Malani on lead guitar and Donnie Borzestowski on drums, the gents were still on a high from their second LP Go Farther In Lightness knocking Paul Kelly off the #1 spot on the ARIA album charts. A classical composition reverberated around the natural amphitheatre as they took their places and sharp gold light projected off the stage, mesmerising and theatrical. Le’aupepe danced around for the first song, What Can I Do If the Fire Goes Out? while an iconic heartbeat graphic took our the screen centre-piece behind. A few songs in, they play a new song from their latest album, The Heart Is A Muscle. The crowd loved it, twirling and swaying, already learning the lyrics to sing along.
The Deepest Signs, The Frankest Shadows was followed explosively by Magnolia, seeing every single person singing along. As always, to our glee, Le’aupepe emulated the iconic dance moves from Magnolia’s video clip, heartily flicking his curly hair side to side. Afterwards, he beckoned out “[Jindabyne] We love you, we love you, we love you,” over and over to a heart warmed crowd. “It’s cold outside Jindabyne, but our hearts are warm,” he yelled as Gang Of Youths played the last song for the night, Vital Signs, which was matched by bright pink and orange lights and exploding fireworks.
Not quite ready to call the weekend quits, we manage to run from Gang Of Youths to catch the last of Oski’s set. He had the crowd vigorously jumping around while he rocked an all-orange jumpsuit and orange cap to match. He mixed Flux Pavillion’s: I Can’t Stop with unique static TV graphics flickering behind while everyone danced in their own little realm of space. Finishing on a heavy drum’n’base mix of the Backstreet Boys, the crowd went mental; an animated end to an insane two days of brilliant music, hot chocolate, skiing, dancing and frozen fingers.