Poor Maitland,.. or more specifically, the kids from Maitland… always being the brunt of our bogan jokes, when in reality, us kids from Newcastle weren’t much less boganic. To cut a long story short, Maitland was the scene of one of the locations of the Groovin The Moo festival, which tours around Australia each year to some more regional locations (rather than your capital cities like Melbourne or Sydney).
My first thoughts, as I walked up to the entrance, were “lordy… that person’s backyard is going to be a river of wee if people keep weeing on that tree” and “why did no one tell me that short denim shorts were ‘in’?” However, those thoughts soon faded because as funny as the female uniform was, there was some music to be concentrating on.
After catching the very end of The Jezabels (who were on unusually early on in the line-up… in my opinion), Darwin Deez was the first act on our list of must-sees. As quirky as his recordings was the performance by Darwin Deez and band. It was pretty much what I was expecting music-wise. Poppy, happy, guitar driven tunes; keeping the kids dancing, although most of the songs seem to be relate to some sort of relationship break-up. Sad and happy all at once: “Everyday ought to be a bad day for you”. The best part, by far… was the choreographed interludes (to Enya, amongst other songs) performed by the entire band.
Those lads from Norway, Datarock, adorned in snazzy red tracksuits, played next on the adjacent stage and pleased the ever-growing crowd significantly. I do admit that although I enjoyed the recent 'Catcher In The Rye' release from Datarock, I’ll never be able to go past 'Computer Camp Love', which, to my surprise (and dismay) was released as far back as 2005…. feels like yesterday. And yes, to my glee, they played it.
Washington has successfully made it into the Australian mass conscience - proven by the shortening of their name to 'Washo' by various fans and radio DJs. Megan and the band played an upbeat and rather tight set, sticking mostly to the well known songs from 'I Believe You Liar', the main exception being their version of The Divinyl's 'I Touch Myself' where Megan appeared to be channelling Christina Amphlett. Megan Washington's band made no attempt to divert attention away from her, which would have been a challenge anyway, considering her diva-like presence on show. They did divide the popsters from the rock fans amongst the festival crowd, but there were many up front who may have been there only to see Washington. And some very enthused sing-a-longs.
The Go! Team were as brilliant live as I always remembered them. I don’t know what you think, but their energy on stage coupled with their performance of the songs that are just made for singing/yelling along, makes them more enjoyable live than sitting at home (or on a train or in the supermarket) listening to their recordings. Ninja makes the stage her own and has an amazing ability to get the crowd involved (I also think she might have laughed at how tiny my camera was compared to the other photographers - but also.... she probably didn't even notice it).
House of Pain really aren’t my cuppatea, but really seems to be just what the Maitland folk were waiting for. You can probably guess which of their songs is the only song I know and yes, the minute they started playing 'Jump Around' there was an insane mass flux of people moving towards the stage. I was like an alcoholic salmon swimming upstream towards the bar.
Architecture in Helsinki were the last of my highlights from the day. I’d never managed to catch these guys live before. It was always on the list, and now my mission is complete. A band that is loved by squillions and so well-travelled, but have never crossed my path (not that that’s any kind of amazing feat). Looking like they had just stepped straight out of the 80’s, Architecture in Helsinki played all their most well known tunes and more. The crowd watching was large and dense, making it slightly hard to see, but that really didn’t matter.
Groovin the Moo: an excellent day out and a great opportunity for kids of all ages who might not live near a capital city to get out and experience live music in a festival setting. Fingers crossed that future Groovin the Moo’s can attract such a high calibre of acts and keep the crowds coming.
Sally & John