Young and old paid a visit to Golden Plains Music Festival this past long weekend. The best thing about this particular festival is you can be a fan of any genre and feel safe knowing you have the weekend covered for you by Aunty Meredith. Indie music of course and a few obscure bands ‘the kids’ are talking about, but what Golden Plains has been especially good at delivering is some good old fashioned soul music.

The Festival kicked off on Saturday with Hunting Grounds playing to those organised enough to arrive in good time; quite a few people made it down to the Amphitheatre to catch the band who closed their set with a Beastie Boys cover. As well, there was a general agreement amongst attendee’s that Total Control were not to be missed which turned out to be spot on, their faster numbers getting more of a crowd response.

Lanie Lane provided a bit of afternoon delight, playing in the early evening to a crowd getting ready to party. Although her country style stood out amongst what was mainly hard rock she managed to easily hold the audience’s attention with her tiny velveteen shorts and cute as a button demeanor. The second she got onto stage and announced ‘Let’s play some rock and roll!’ she had the audience hooked. Not to distract from her musical talent however, this girl can sing and that is a fact. (Be sure to catch her sometime before Jack White steals her away again.)

Of particular note was Lane’s popular ‘Oh Well, That’s What You Get Falling In Love With A Cowboy’ which she delivered with the kind of devilish charm that suggests she knows all about cowboys, as well as a honeyed cover of the Black Keys song ‘Gold On The Ceiling.’

Ariel’s Pink Haunted Graffiti were always going to impress. Ariel Pink indeed wore lipstick for the occasion, looking every bit like one of those crazies you try to ignore on the street corner but once you get far enough away you secretly smile about and kind of wish you were like. It helped that Ariel’s backing band is made up of some very talented musicians, with some church organ inspired keyboard and a bit of vintage guitar sound which was very Beach Boys. It was hard not to think that you weren’t just watching a particularly crazed acid jam session but as Ariel demanded, ‘Step Into My Time Warp!’ and by the look of the audience the majority of them did.

Bon Iver surely had the largest, loudest and most loyal crowd of the whole weekend. A true performing chameleon, Bon Iver could go slow and growly or high and dramatic as quick as the wind. Within minutes of his set punters were already giving him the famous Golden Boot. Supported by a sturdy backing band, which included violinists and a trumpet solo, Iver managed to impress right up until the last minute of his set, which finished 20 minutes early much to the disappointed puzzlement of the audience who were more than ready for an epic encore.

Those who stayed up to party the first night were treated to a hip hopheavy DJ set from the great Dexter, who was looking equally as fine as his music taste. This was followed by an unexpectedly ambient set by Seekae, but not to worry the real party was still to come 

Admittedly most people were taking showers and eating breakfast when the music started the next day but many were properly woken up by the bat-out-of-hell type force of Harmony.

First Aid Kit was the real highlight of the early part of the day and many relaxed on a picnic blanket to their soothing harmonies which were complemented by chimes and sweet banter between the two female members about the country influence of their lyrics, exemplified in song ‘Emmylou.’

Endless Boogie brought the rock back to the stage, their Hendrix like guitar solos being particularly worthy of a mention and by the time Saskwatch was over not a person could be found who wasn’t already bragging about witnessing one of the greatest sets they had ever seen.

And then it was time for Bonnie Prince Billy, who brought The Cairo Gang with him. As Bonnie pointed out mid-set ‘what you have to do on a day like this is take acid, have sex and get sunburn – right here’ as he gripped his balls. And you know what? That pretty much sums up his performance; what a dude. It helped that he has one of those trembling soulful voices that make you feel like you’re being gently rocked to sleep, and when his female backing singer came in any thoughts of discomfort floated away. Decent lyrics too, this guy has real heart.

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