Groovin the Moo // May 4th 2013 – Bendigo Showgrounds

Groovin the Moo // May 4th 2013 – Bendigo Showgrounds

WHY IS THERE NO APOSTROPHE IN THE ‘GROOVIN THE MOO’ BRANDING?!  WHY WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR FESTIVAL A GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT TITLE?!  I DO NOT UNDERSTAND.

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I bought Groovin the Moo tickets on a bit of a whim.  I wasn’t intending on going to the festival, but The Kooks’ sideshows were announced on the morning that GtM tickets went on sale.  I really wanted to see The Kooks, but I wasn’t going to be free on the night of their gig.  So, without a second thought, I quickly headed to the Groovin the Moo website and bought a couple of tickets.

At that point, I hadn’t even thought about how I was actually going to get to the festival [seeing as I don’t have a car].  In fact, that was something that I didn’t think to consider until Friday.  I’ve never travelled 2.5 hours each way for a one-way festival before, but there’s a first time for everything, I guess.

Glenn and I took the V-Line train to Bendigo.  As there weren’t many decent bands playing early, we left late to avoid the crowds.  This was a good move.  Our train was nowhere near full, which was excellent, and we were able to get straight on to a shuttle bus at Bendigo Station.

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The festival was held at the Bendigo Showgrounds, which is far from the ideal music festival venue, but they worked with what they had.  As it’s such a small area, the layout was really weird.  I wasn’t terribly impressed with the sectioning off of the licensed area.  They’d split it all up so that half the food vendors and toilets were inaccessible to the under age patrons.  If you’re going to allow minors to attend your event, you should at least give them the same opportunities to buy food as everybody else.  Those poor kids missed out on both Owen’s Woodfired Pizzas AND Baby Burger.  They’re never going to know the taste of those beautiful Moroccan seasoned fries…

We made it in time to catch Alpine, on the Channel [V] stage [which was right next to the triple j stage – we stayed in front of both of those stages for pretty much the entire day].  There was only a bit of space between the stages and the licensed area, so we hung out in there until it was time for Frightened Rabbit.  Not unexpectedly, the crowd for FR was significantly smaller than that of any other band that we saw.  Although they’ve been around for ten years now, Frightened Rabbit just haven’t been able to build a large Australian fanbase.

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“Old Old Fashioned” was definitely the highlight of their set, which aside from a couple of early tracks consisted mainly of songs off their latest release, Pedestrian Verse.  I was quite surprised at how few singles were played, and was particularly disappointed not to hear “The Twist”, “My Backwards Walk” or “Keep Yourself Warm” [or even “Swim if You Can’t See Land”, which was the lead single off The Winter of Mixed Drinks].

Next up were Regurgitator, a band whose live performances don’t particularly impress me, so I took the opportunity to grab some nachos [from Owen’s].  They were particularly tasty.  It was at this point in the evening [well, I say evening, but it was really only about 4:30 in the afternoon] that the sun began to set.  It very quickly grew both dark and cold.  Advice to anyone attending next year’s GtM: bring gloves.  And a scarf.

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Rugged up in our warm jackets and coats, Glenn and I stood at the front of the licensed area for They Might Be Giants.  It may have been cold, but there was plenty of energy throughout the entirety of TMBG’s set.

Having been around since before I was born, They Might Be Giants have an impressive back-catalogue, so I was quite impressed that they didn’t resort to playing the Malcolm in the Middle theme song just to please any members of the crowd who weren’t familiar with their work.  Instead, they played “Doctor Worm” and “Birdhouse in Your Soul” and a host of other songs that had everybody singing and dancing along.

There was an unusually long gap between sets while we waiting for Tame Impala.  At this point, the night was growing colder and colder.  I had to actually put on the Kooks t-shirt that I’d picked up at the merch stand, just for the warmth of another layer.  With a backdrop of trippy lights and patterns, Tame Impala rocked out.  Soon it was time for Tegan & Sara, during whose set I played the fun game of working out which one is my favourite [I ended up going with Sara, because she sings lead vocals on all the songs that I like].

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Last up [for us, at least] were The Kooks – the reason that I’d bought the tickets in the first place – and they did not disappoint.  Luke Pritchard strutted around like he owned the joint, and aside from a couple of newer tracks, they played hit after hit – from “She Moves in Her Own Way” to “Shine On” to their closing number [and my favourite Kooks song], “Naive”.

Instead of hanging around for The Temper Trap [seeing as we’d already seen them earlier this year at Future], Glenn and I decided to head back to the station.  Although there weren’t any trains scheduled until the end of the festival, we had our fingers crossed that there’d at least be some extra coaches running.  After getting off the shuttle bus, we were greeted by the Rotary Club who were holding a convenient sausage sizzle.  Once we’d bought food, of course, we heard the announcement that the coach to Melbourne was now boarding at coach bay 5.  There’s no hot food allowed on V-Line buses, so we had to shove our vegie burgers and sausages down our throats as fast as possible, but it was worth it to get back to Melbourne before midnight.

Overall, Groovin the Moo was an okay festival.  The layout left much to be desired, but the lineup – although a little strange – was fairly strong considering the ticket price.  We didn’t see too many drunken/wasted lunatics [although that may have been because we avoided the other stage/tent area].  If they get enough decent bands playing again next year, I’d certainly consider going again.  But I would definitely remember to take gloves.

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