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[Review] Daydream Festival @ Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne 22/04/2023

Review By Tammy Walters

Whilst the last minute cancellation from Slowdive bummed out a bunch of fans, it certainly didn’t dampen the events of Daydream. A reshuffle of the existing lineup and extension of sets meant we received more songs from the stellar music company consisting of Melbourne’s Majak Door, Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings, Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils, our city’s favourite rockers Tropical Fuckstorm and Washington-birthed, Portland-based Modest Mouse

Setting the score for the jam packed evening we’re local Lo-fi indie six piece Majak Door. As the masses drip fed into the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and cascaded down the stairs into the amphitheater, they were greeted by a sound reflecting the event title; dreamy surf rock waves crashing down on the stage. They swam through a set of songs from the self-titled album and dropped in their latest track ‘Borderline’, filling out a solid opening for the festival.

Cloud Nothings hit the stage next. The three piece offered a twelve track set, with a focus of their 2012 standout, Attack on Memory. Wasting no time they launched in with ‘I’m Not Part of Me’ excluding a casual coolness prevalent in the indie rock identity. The high octane set of trim, quick-whip songs that are over in 3 minutes, was underpinned by animalistic drumming of Jayson Gerycz, elevating the energy on the stage. Whilst ‘Hey Cool Kid’ didn’t make the cut, subbed out for fellow Turning On mate, ‘Can’t Stay Awake’, the set was still a stellar run, ending in transcendental fashion with the nearly 9-minute building-block ‘Wasted Days’.

A whole decade since their last show, Beach Fossils knew they had to pull out all the stops for the Daydream debut. Though half the song selection of their Cleveland predecessors, Beach Fossils made double the impact for a set of old and new across their titular debut, Somersault, and their highly anticipated upcoming release Bunny. They launched in with double-d’s, ‘Down The Line’ and ‘Don’t Fade Away’ before hitting the triple on new tracks. “This is a BBCOne Triple J exclusive,” guitarist Tommy Davidson commented before ‘Be Nothing’, the final third debut live play of their set, with a shoutout given to the unruly boo-er in the crowd. More shoutouts were offered, multiple of which were directed at Anton Hochheim, Beach Fossils drummer, who was in Australia for the first time. Subbing out their originally intended manifested closer ‘May 1st’, they date they were due to fly home, for the equally appropriately related ‘Daydream’, Beach Fossils knew the assessment and delivered an A+.

Modest Mouse frontman Issac Brock said it during his set- “Tropical Fuck Storm are one of my top three favourite bands- they’re insanely good” and they are! There is no band like TFS; the explosive brainchild of Garrett Liddiard, Erica Dunn, Fiona Kitschin and Lauren Hammel. With albums Braindrops and A Laughing Death In Meatspace hailed as compositional genius by critics and crowds across the globe, the live translation is a ferocious full-bodied frenzy. Erratic drones of the guitar, feverish swirls of the keys, a gyrating body of beats and bass, and a primitive vocal power encased their seven song set. Inclusion of The Stooges song ‘Ann’ and Lost Animals ‘Lose You Baby’ went down a treat, becoming synonymous with their catalogue. There is a reason for countless Live Musician of The Year awards and the Daydream crowded witnessed it firsthand.

The piece de resistance of the festival came from indie figureheads Modest Mouse

From ‘The World At Large’ right through to ‘Trailer Trash’, the two-tiered positioned performers put on a show. ‘Dramamine’ made an early appearance coming in at 3rd place, with ‘3rd Planet’ shortly thereafter. Only months after the passing of mainstay drummer Jeremiah Green, the band came together for a full celebration of their career, touching on all of their albums. 

Though the set did not go without a hitch. Following the highlight of high-energy ‘Dashboard’, Brock took a tumble during a crowd interaction. He took it like a champ though commenting “Have you ever thought you were stepping onto something solid and it was just air? It was awesome,” turning to the audience member to joke, “I regret our interaction. A cautionary tale for any cell phone interaction. Write it on a napkin. That’s what God would have wanted.” No hard feelings as they continued through ‘Lace Your Shoes’, the mammoth ‘Float On’ and ‘Spitting Venom’ to close out the main set.

Minor technical issues throughout the set saw some guitar pedal confusion for Brock, making song transitions less than seamless and saw an extended wait between main set and encore where the crowd was divided between waiting patiently or make an early escape. Unfortunately a large number chose the latter option but to their own loss. Removed from the final set list were ‘Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine’, ‘Perfect Dis or Out of Gas’, ‘Whale Song’ and ‘Ground Walks’ – perhaps the stage fall was more serious and required medical attention. We’re not to know but what we do know is that the 19 track tally was epic in proportions with each song cementing the mastery of Modest Mouse. 

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