Photos by URI@URIAERBAUCH
This year September 29 not only signalled the end of Brisbane Festival and Riverfire, but Parklife and the true start of the festival season (Splendour in the Grass doesn’t count). As the marketing campaign said, “Hibernation ends here.” I’m going to share the best bits of Parklife 2012 through my eyes; the eyes of a sober, music and dance loving girl who wasn’t wearing fake tan.
Upon the initial release of the Parklife lineup way back when, I knew it was my type of thing. An odd mix of the genres I love, from dubstep to rap to pop to electronic and most things in between. Chairlift, Nero, Robyn, The Presets, Modestep Justice, Labrinth, Plan B… As you can see they’re not all exactly peas in a pod. Nevertheless, I happily paid $130 to embrace the festival spirit and dance like a crazy person to the songs and beats that I know and love.
My friend and I arrived at the beautiful botanic garden in the city at about 2pm and trekked to the Safari Stage (formally known as The Riverstage) to catch Plan B, one of the acts I was most excited to see and the British rapper/singer didn’t disappoint. His voice is beautiful. Plan B, AKA Benjamin Drew, is a truly talented singer and rapper and there’s an obvious emotional connection to the lyrics that brings a lot of substance to his performance. The crowd was loving the chavvy rap and sweet vocals, I especially enjoyed ‘Ill Manors’, particularly because I could pretend to sing/yell in a British accent and not look like a massive idiot. Moving on.
After Plan B we popped over to check out Wiley. A great disappointment and thus, within minutes we relocated to Modestep. A live dubstep/electronic rock band sounds like an unfortunate mix but Modetep were awesome. Their stage presence was huge and the music was quality. The awesome MC teamed with weird and wonderful gory cartoon visuals were the icing on the cake.
We stuck around after Modestep to catch a bit of Labrinth, before heading back to Sahara to catch Nero. Labrinth was nothing spectacular but I knew his songs and that’s enough to get a crowd going at a festival. He is also very musically talented, showing off his guitar and keyboard skills.
And then there was Nero. Quite frankly, Nero blew my mind. They probably had the coolest stage setup I have ever seen, standing like musical Gods atop a towering live rig created with massive speakers and TVs. The Riverstage venue was at capacity (9,000) and as I waited in a mush of people to get in while security let people out, I knew it was totally worth have a random guy stroke my hand creepily as I tried to make my way to the front. The most amazing part of Nero’s set was when the fireworks for Riverfire started going off, in the middle of Promises I think it was. As the drop came the first fireworks exploded into the night sky. It was as if the two had been synced perfectly and it didn’t stop for half an hour. The crowd went wild, the rain came down and Nero’s set was incredible.
Justice was my other favourite of the festival. Even though it was only a DJ set I don’t think I have ever danced so hard in my life. I literally couldn’t walk the next day because my calf muscles wouldn’t let my feet extend past a certain point. At first I thought they were the filler act, set up on a small table covered by a Parklife banner but then I realised, “They’re waaaay too good to be the filler.” Duh. I lost my inhibitions and danced (or jumped) around with my arms flailing for the whole set. So thank you Justice, I had so much fun.
Wrapping it up, Parklife 2012 wasn’t the best festival I’ve been to. I had an awesome time but there was something missing. Most of the acts I saw were great and I’m in no way blaming them. It just didn’t have the special flair that makes a festival a novelty (apart from the musicians of course), there was nothing particularly intersting about the stages, nor were there added extra fun bits. Nevertheless I still had a great time. Now I need to make the decision between Stereosonic, Big Day Out and Summafieldayze…First world problems.