The Strokes and The Avalanches help open the ampitheatre at Splendour in the Grass

Splendour in the Grass came out swinging for its first official day and night of 2016, opening with quality exciting newcomers and ending with some huge names weighted with high expectation from the crowds.

Alex Lahey and Sampa the Great’s opening sets at the Amphiteatre and Mix Up Stages respectively were great to set the tone, both ladies owning their stages and drawing impressive numbers early in the day.

Highlight sets came when Nothing But Thieves and The Kills hit the Amphiteatre stage in the afternoon; while the temperature rose up in the high 20’s, both bands kept a cool edge and delivered huge performances that stuck out, even after the headliners had done their thing.

Of course, the crowds had crammed in by the end of the night to witness The Avalanches’ first huge festival show with a live band in over a decade. News of the success of their pre-SITG show in Byron Bay the night before had worked its way to the festival by this point so expectations were high. While they obviously came out with a strong live show, percussion and live vocals were a high point, The Avalanches’ slow burner of a set lost a lot of people early in the show. It wasn’t until the notable singles from Wildflower kicked in that the puzzle pieces came together and the party felt like it had proper started out in the crowd.

Taking the nostalgia trip to New York circa 2007, The Strokes nailed their headline set on Friday night, despite being late to the stage. Rolling out a fair whack of new material in amongst their classics, Julian Casablancas led the crowd through a brilliant set that sent thousands off into the night.

With the huge three hour set by The Cure to come on Saturday, Friday’s program at Splendour definitely got the ball rolling for one memorable weekend.