The organisers of Splendour In The Grass have always had a knack for luring classic bands away from the fruits of their careers past to hit the stage once again, or hand picking those who are still kicking it years after their hay-day*. And we couldn’t be more thankful. Past years have seen the likes of Sonic Youth, The Smashing Pumpkins, Devo, Happy Mondays, Pixies, Jane’s Addiction, and Brian Wilson hitting the stage alongside a myriad bands who are at the peak of their careers. It’s all part of the charm that makes Splendour just a little bit special. Unfortunately they seem to have dropped the ball on this over the past few years, but 2015 is the year of the legends. Here are 5 classic artists that you have to see at Splendour this time around, ’cause let’s be honest, there’s a pretty solid chance you won’t see them in Australia again.
Here are 5 classic bands we reckon you have to catch at Splendour this year, ’cause it could very well be their last time here.
The Dandy Warhols
Who does’t love the Dandys? Throughout the mid-late 90s and early 00s they were kings of the 60s revivalists alongside friendly foes The Brian Jonestown Massacre (whose relationship was brilliantly documented in the music doco Dig! – if you haven’t seen it yet, get on it). Their seminal 2000 record Thirteen Tales From Urban Bohemia still sounds fresh today and has influenced countless bands since it’s release. They are no strangers to Australian shores, touring just last year on a sold-out run of shows, but thankfully they aren’t sick of us yet. I think even the greenest of Splendour punters will at least remember We Used To Be Friends, it was the theme track for Veronica Mars, remember?
This one was a bit of a curveball, but what a bloody blessing. English space-rockers Spritiualized were one of the most important bands for psychedelic music in the early 90s. It’s the follow-up project from J. Spaceman (aka Jason Pierce) after the demise of his previous band Spaceman 3, who influenced some of the most important bands of the decade such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Mogwai and modern psych-rock bands like Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Wooden Shjips and POND. Spiritualized have been recording steadily since the 90s, nabbing NME’s Album of The Year in 1997 with their classic album Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, and are still playing shows around the world. Hopefully they get a late night slot because this is going to be one hell of a spectacle.
Contrary to popular belief, the 80s actually yielded some killer Australian music and flying the Aussie flag for 80s alternative rock this year will be legendary Sydney band The Church. The four piece have dabbled in new wave and psychedelia, and were one of the most progressive acts to come out of Australian rock music in the 1980s. They have been insanely prolific since forming in the late 70s. Still recording and performing today, they released their 25th (!) album just last year, and continue to tour America and Australia with the vigour of a much younger band. You can see Boy & Bear any old day, go see The Church instead, you’ll thank us for it.
I have an absolute mountain of respect for Johnny Marr. He has been the silent hero for indie rock since 80s and shows no sign of slowing down 30 years on. He was, of course, one half of the song-writing team for The Smiths, often overshadowed by the gigantic shadow of Morrissey. Since The Smiths split in ’87, Marr has been a part of some super important bands including Modest Mouse, The Cribs and The Pretenders, while also collaborating with The Pet Shop Boys, Brian Ferry (from Talking Heads), Oasis and Pearl Jam, and continually putting out his own solo work. At 51 he is looking fitter than half of the acts on the Splendour line-up and still plays the guitar like an absolute champ. Take a ticket, ladies.
Last but not least is the honoured headliners, Blur. Obviously they are one of the main attractions for the festival as the bill-toppers and it shouldn’t need to be said they you need to go see them, but maybe that’s a testament to this whole list. Some of the gems in this lineup are indeed these ageing heroes. Damon Albarn is of course still highly active these days, playing in Gorillaz and releasing his solo work, but hey, the dude is almost 5o, so mad props to him. The forthcoming Blur album, The Magic Whip, will be their first in 12 years, and has been welcomed by fans like an old friend. The band have been playing selected shows at festivals like Coachella, Primavera and T in the Park over the last few years and if they are anything to go off, their Splendour set is going to be one for the ages. I can almost hear how ballistic the crowd is going to go over Song 2 already.
*Ed: I believe this is called $$
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