It was so difficult to choose, but these are the ten bands I chose to play my dream festival lineup and how I fell in love with each of them. Let me know who you're dying to see live, which band or artist has the best show and which bands are in your top ten for your own festival!
Florence + The Machine
She’s an artist that needs no introduction, and my love for this songstress dates back to the release of her first studio album, Lungs (2009), the inimitable Florence Welch, otherwise known as Florence + The Machine. From her self-confessed “goth phase” coinciding with her 2009 album to her most recent release in 2015 titled ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’, Welch’s powerful voice and incredibly eccentric lyrics and style have kept me hooked. Difficult to pigeonhole, strange and disembodied ballads as well as oddly specific narratives sung by Flo are often accompanied by harp, percussion and on rare occasions, the Royal philharmonic orchestra. I’ve yet to see her live, but by all accounts her performances are akin to a religious experience.
Compelling stage presence and the perfect balance between synthesized beats produced by Max Hershenow and a human connection provided by vocalist Lizzy Plapinger. The New York based American duo’s cover of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Dance Yrself Clean’ has to be one of my all-time favorite covers (but I do listen to a lot of covers). Unlike Lizzy’s constantly evolving hair, my love for this band remains unchanged, In case you were wondering, whatever color it is, it always looks healthy and super vibrant.
Comprised of three sisters from L.A. Haim manage to tour the nation, break hearts and sing in perfect harmony while simultaneously fasting for Yom Kippur. They’re sweet and trusting enough to share phone numbers while on stage in exchange for photos of said performance, but are unapologetic when it comes to blasting rock music. In contrast, their studio albums are more pop centric, ad in case you were wondering they’re absolutely perfect to listen to while driving through the desert. They also do a mean version of Sheryl Crow’s ‘strong enough’ – which begs the question, are you strong enough to be my man? Something every heterosexual woman contemplates at one point or another during a relationship. Their taste in music is rivaled by that which they write and perform.
Not every band formed as the result of a high school friendship is met with the success Alphine has rightfully earned following the success of their almost self-titled album, 'A is for Alpine' and their sophomore release, 'Yuck'. Better known for their catchy, euphoric pop tune 'Foolish', describing unrequited love as an awkward and uncomfortable sensation (and I would have to agree whole-heartedly on that one). We've all been there, and the Melbourne six-piece capture this sense of longing through their melodic pop tunes complemented by catchy hooks. They've juggled national and international tours with working full-time jobs and recording a second studio album. Basically, this band makes me want to become a much more successful and less lazy person.
A five-piece indie pop band from Brisbane fronted by a man whose unafraid, or rather, unashamed to take his shirt off to get cheers from the crowd. What could be better? Well, the band have sold out their own headline tours, opened for Weezer as well as performing at music festivals such as Splendour in the Grass, Falls Festival, Southbound, Homebake and Big Day Out. Their songs have featured in the Triple J Hottest 100. If you haven't heard of it, it happens to be the biggest music poll in the world.
Like Matt Corby, Lisa Mitchell first auditioned for Australian Idol (before The Voice and Australia's Got Talent) finishing sixth overall. It acted as the launching pad to her career (but she's still number one in my books). Her 2015 single 'Wah Ha' features dreamy acapella vocals set to an elevator music soundscape. If you like alternative indie pop easy listening, you'll want to listen to Lisa Mitchell.
Six years ago, at the annual Aria Awards a little band by the name of Washington took out both Best Female Artist and Breakthrough Artist categories, fronted by singer Megan Washington. She later delivered one of the most memorable TED Talks and at about the same time, voice acted for a tampon commercial. I just think she's one of the most powerful women in the Australian music industry. Training as a jazz singer and transitioning to pop music, Washington is as much a release for Megan as it is a way for her to explore and share her beautifully sultry music.
The band first came to my attention when I was on the cusp of becoming a teenager and the mysteries of the world, including indie pop, were slowly opening up and revealing themselves. At the time, Rove Live was one of the most popular panel shows on Australian television and one episode closed with a performance from a Brisbane three-piece. There was fake grass and flocked animals adorning the stage as the band jumped around playing their single, 19-20-20. My brother bought me the single for my birthday, but at the time I wasn't quite ready to be exposed to something so wild and crazy. The band is still active today, and lead singer Patience Hodgson's friendship with Rachel Burke of I make it, you wear it is legendary, especially for those lucky enough to attend last year's Splendour in the Grass (which inspired me to make to embellish this jacket). Everything she wears on stage is pretty great if I'm to be completely honest.
Possibly my favorite band from the Blue Mountains, both of Cloud Control's studio albums are among my top ten to listen to. Nominated for two Aria awards including Best Rock Album and Breakthrough Artist. Their sophomore release, Dream Cave, include track listings recorded in quarries (not technically caves, but very close) which in itself is enough to make the geologist in me completely nerd out. And if you're wondering what the band sounds like, they've opened for the likes of Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, The Temper Trap and Weezer.
Her angelic voice delivers some of the most strange and enchanting tunes in my music library. From the heart-wrenching "laughing with" to the completely random lyrics of "that time" Spektor's vocal abilities shine through. She understands how to use the light and shade within her voice to full advantage, wringing out every note and allowing it to really resonate with her audience.
1- Florence + The Machine shot by Ricardo Matsukawa via Veja. 2- MS MR shot by Charlotte Rutherford via NY Mag. 3- Haim via Pittsburgh Theater. 4- The Grates at Splendour in the Grass 2015 shot by Peter Sharp. 5- Cloud Control via Margaret River Mail. 6- Regina Spektor via The Guardian. 7- Lisa Mitchell via Billboard. 8- Megan Washington via Tone Deaf. 9- Alpine via NPR.org. 10- Ball Park Music via Black Wax Catalogue.