Festival Review: Dune Rats find Scott Green, Camp Cope shine on New Year’s Day in Byron Bay

With heads pounding and only the cicadas and Kookaburras making noise, the eerie silence of a camp ground at 6am on New Years Day is something to behold. Making the seemingly genius decision to get up early and have a cold shower was the kick start needed to get 2018 underway. What wasn’t envisaged was the sweat I was going to pour through upon returning to my tent post shower.

Mad dogs WAAX got things going over on the Forest Stage as the sore heads from the camp site slowly made their way into the new year and festival site. Alex Lahey put on a masterclass and the most engaging set of the year thus far (classic dad joke, hey-oh), as she tore through the best parts of her debut album and EP. Opening with “I love You Like A Brother”, before moving through “Let’s Go Out Tonight”, her cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn”, “You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me” and “Everyday’s The Weekend”, Lahey truly took 2018 out of its first gear.

Jumping over to the many food halls, this is something Falls should be commended on. Sure some lines were long-ish at peak times, but in reality there was enough variety of stalls spread out the festival to make the pickiest of eaters reasonably happy.

Over on the smallest of stages, legends Camp Cope were going about doing what they do best and demolishing their 45 minute set. Placing them on the smallest of stages seemed an off decision, as it was packed out well before the set commenced, with many of the crowd forced to sit on the hill outside in some of the most depressing heat you’ll experience. Playing the best of the tracks from their 2016 debut LP, “Lost (Season One)” and “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams” were the best received tracks before closer “The Opener” really got the crowd interested. For a new track, this was a pretty powerful moment as lead vocalist Georgia Maq made an impassioned plea to take sexism out of music and give female musicians a real chance. Based on her soliloquy and the response from the crowd, Camp Cope have definitely put their best foot forward as they enter what’s bound to be another massive year for them.

Over on the Forest Stage, the always lovely Julia Jacklin didn’t let the kids win as she closed out her set with a cover of The Strokes’ “Someday” (or Thirsty Merc as she put it) and “Pool Party”.

Julia Jacklin.

Manchester lords Everything Everything put on what was my favourite set of the day, as they plowed through new tracks “Can’t Do” and “Fever Dream”, whilst also throwing in favourites “Cough Cough”, ‘Kemosabe”, and “Distant Past”. It’s amazing what a great light show does for a set, as Everything Everything have got their strobes and lights down to a tee.

With the storm clouds rolling in, the site was hit with a freak storm that genuinely had the chance the put a real dampener on the festival. With much of the site flooded and parts of the main arena shut down, from all reports Dune Rats found Scott Green and kept the party vibes at their highest.

Over in the relatively dry Forest Stage, London funksters Jungle delivered a sleak and unfaultered set. Making the decision to see Glass Animals over local legend D.D Dumbo, the English four-piece didn’t let me down. Teaching the crowd how to be a human being, they blasted through “Youth”, “Pork Soda, “Gooey” and “S2E3”. I thought it would be tough beating Everything Everything’s light show, but Glass Animals win this category hands down.

Settling in for the night, I made the wise decision to check out Americans Fleet Foxes. Literally knowing one of their songs, it was interesting to finally see a band that critics have loved forever and a day. While their sets and genre may not be the most appealing to a lot of people in attendance at Falls, Fleet Foxes have earned themselves a new fan here.

Closing out the night was Run The Jewels. With Killer Mike and El-P doing what they do best, I was left a little torn on how to take the act and their set. Starting the set telling the crowd to 1) look after each other, and 2) keep your hands to yourself, the sentiment built up with these rules seemingly dissipated when El-P ‘free-styled’ what can only be described as misogynistic and facetious. It actually put a real dampener on the set and how I perceived the band.

With the day coming to a close and the camp site strewn with broken tents and shelters on the back of the earlier storm, Falls had again delivered and promised to close things out in style the following day.

Photos taken at the Lorne Falls Festival event by John Goodridge.