Review :: Homebake 2012

December 14th 2012

Photo by Martin Ollman

Last Saturday began the way most of my trips to the city do. I woke up late, completed the morning ritual in much too casual a fashion, drove to the station with measured haste, and consequently missed the train by about three seconds. During my walk of shame out of the station, I witnessed one of the world’s rarest forms of unintentional physical comedy – someone falling all the way up a flight of stairs. This fantastic turn of events set the theme for my day. That is, every time something bad happened, something hilariously excellent rushed in to make me forget about it.

Being a natural risk taker, I decided to drive as close to the Domain as possible and attempt to find a park. My eventual parking spot was, predictably, at least thirty seven thousand metres away from any thought of the Domain. So I jumped in a cab.

When the cabby learnt that I was going to Homebake, all emotion was suddenly sucked out of his face. “Oh shit” he said. “I was supposed to take the missus to see The Saints last night – all I ever do is drive c—ts around in this cab, so I’ve got no idea what the date is”. I felt a twinge of pity but, having been born in the 90s and hence possessing no real social skills, I managed to eventually ward off conversation by burying myself in the screen of my smartphone.

After finally arriving at the festival, I took some time to feel sorry for Parachute Youth as they belted out yet another ten minute rendition of ‘Can’t Get Better Than This’. Though however tiresome it might have been for the artists, the continuously boiling energy coming from the crowd was a testament to the quality of the song and the performance. Especially when you consider that they played a 2:30pm timeslot. Watching DZ Deathrays’ Shane Parsons brewing up a circle pit on the Rowland S. Howard stage was whole ‘nother league of energy though.

Echoes of Ball Park Music kept my mood light as I walked towards the media area, where I would meet Seekae for a chat (full interview up on the Flog soon). Upon showing my pass to the security guard, a really not sober girl started yelling at me and the aforementioned security presence. “Can I come in too?!” she drawled, the words dripping out of her mouth. “I did Advanced English in high school”. Not knowing what to say to that, I moved on and had my talk with the guys from Seekae. The interview ended with Alex’s implication that their next album will have heavy David Bowie influences. I kinda half-wish he wasn’t joking.

I waited patiently at The Dome stage, hoping I could catch a bit of The Bamboos’ set before interviewing Kimbra. As luck would have it though, they were running late. However they arrived and opened their set with my favourite song of theirs, just as I had to leave. Worst!

Photo by Martin Ollman

But not really, because Kimbra is a glamour who loves Flying Lotus. Those types of girls just don’t come around very often. The problem was that she didn’t come around at all – she, like the Bamboos, ran late. So late in fact that her first two interviews were cancelled. Queue major levels of devastation.

This is where the magic of my Homebake experience kicked in though. Kimbra bailing and The Bamboos running late meant that I got to see almost the entirety of The Bamboos’ set. Joy to the world! Not only that, but Tim Rogers came out in all his shiny-jacketed glory to lead the band for a couple of songs and a striptease. Oh and the drunk guy awkwardly half-grinding his girlfriend as her mum stood beside them was just delicious comedy.

Following that was the face-scrunching joy of Hermitude and the wonderfully clashing vibes of Jinja Safari. No other band I know contains both a sitar-wielding hippie type and a guitar player/vocalist who sports a snapback. When it came time to talk to Hermitude, I was rewarded with more lighthearted album speculation (this full interview also on the Flog soon). “Maybe we should make a sci-fi record” joked El Gusto after talking album release dates and musing on how the year 2014 sounds like something out of Bladerunner.

After leaving the lads to their unsatisfying ham and cheese sandwiches, I checked out Tim Minchin’s set. I expected comedy and musical virtuosity, and I might’ve even been able to predict that there would be a geeky-looking guy in the audience shamelessly belting out the words to ‘Rock And Roll Nerd’ and ‘Cheese’. However the drumstick that hit me square in the forehead at the end of the performance was a complete surprise. I totally kept the stick and am adding it to my scrapbook of things that have hurt me. You are in that book, for never writing hilarious comments on stuff that I write. Say, what?

Anyway. Last on my agenda was Kimbra – the one that got away. She may be a pop star but she’s certainly not taking the easy way out onstage. Morphing one’s own vocals into unearthly forms with a digital controller is not an easy task when you also have to exude a huge amount of character, life and stage presence, but she pulls it off. Her constant, ridiculously large, almost robotic grin creeped me out a bit after a while though. Maybe she’s trying to tell us something with the unexpected inclusion of the vocal from Daft Punk’s ‘Technologic’ during ‘Settle Down’.

Yes, I first heard my favourite song from Something For Kate’s set on a So Fresh compilation CD when I was ten. Yes, I received many shifty looks on the walk back from the festival as people mistook the drumstick half-shoved down my pants for a concealed weapon. But despite all this, it was a pretty excellent day. Homebake gets SEVEN Cool Points.

Read more from Alessandro Dallarmi


Read more from FBi Radio