Catfish, Toto & Vaccines: This is what Falls is made of!
Falls Festival at North Byron Parklands 31 Dec till 2 Jan.
The summer of festivals is just months away, with Falls Festival a must on the calendar for those wanting a musical end-of-year, beginning-of-new-year rite of passage. Thousands of glitter-wearing glampers will be making their way to the North Byron Parklands site for some merrymaking. Falls Festival is without a doubt Australia’s best New Years Eve party. With an all-star lineup landing amongst the glittering sunsets, cobalt coastlines, and disco docklands of Australia’s heartland, artists from across Australia and around the world are primed to transform our rolling natural amphitheatres and inner-city stages. Here are 10 sneak peeks at who’s coming our way!
1. ANDERSON PAAK & THE FREE NATIONALS
Minty fresh and overflowing with renewed energy as Dr Dre finishes twiddling the knobs on his hugely anticipated third album, Anderson Paak is back with a bang. We’ve already been gifted two new slices of trademark realness in ’Til it’s Over and Bubblin’, and if these two towers are anything to go by, we’re in for a rare treat yet again. Originally from Oxnard, California, Paak was first exposed on Dre’s final album Compton as he was given space to showcase his considerable skills. He then sent eager ears into overdrive with the release of the Grammy-winning album Malibu.
2. CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN (ONLY AUS SHOWS)
Festival-ready rock at its absolute scintillating best, it’s amazing to think that Catfish and the Bottlemen’s debut album The Balcony only came out four years ago. In that time these megastars have developed a collection of tunes and connection with their fans that have seen them become one of the UK’s biggest musical exports. Led by the impassioned vocals and street-smart lyricism of Van McCann, the foursome lay claim to epic singalongs including Kathleen, Cocoon, 7, and Twice – always ensuring that their sets are highlighted on intelligent itineraries. Regular winners on the Australian circuit, Catfish and the Bottlemen will be premiering plenty of new material for rabid fans this time out.
3. VANCE JOY
Singer/songwriter, former VFL star, Taylor Swift’s mate: Vance Joy is many things to many people. To us he’s just a ripping guy with a massive voice and a suitcase full of honestly affecting and loveable tunes. Touring hard on the back of this year’s Nation of Two release, the ukulele-slinging Joy has built a discography of tunes to complement his seismic worldwide breakout hit Riptide. It’s worth mentioning that his debut album Dream Your Life Away has gone Platinum in Australia, the US, and Canada, and Silver in the United Kingdom. There’ll be many more to come too as Vance Joy gets cosy on his throne as the Prince of Australian singer/songwriters.
Armed with a shattering new record and driven by a reaffirmed love for glassy, synthesised and wildly melodic pop, Scottish trio Chvrches will set the gold standard for this year’s festival. Despite the gloomy album title Love Is Dead, which singer Lauren Mayberry says relates to society’s ‘death of empathy’, it has been hailed as a major step forward for the band. Already riding high on the back of previous showstoppers including The Mother We Share and Clearest Blue, these new tunes are brilliantly tailored to the stadiums and festivals that Chvrches are now accustomed to. Mayberry’s ecstatic stage energy is enveloped in a wash of light, colour, and pulsing beats that sparkle in all the right places.
5. HILLTOP HOODS
Having just dropped their ode to dorky dads everywhere in their latest single Clark Griswold, Hilltop Hoods, Adelaide’s finest export since West End Bitter, are primed and ready to dominate yet another festival stage. In fact, if you were to sit down today and put together a list of all-time top 10 of Australian live acts, these heroes would go pretty close to topping the bill. Formed in 1993, MCs Suffa and Pressure along with DJ Debris have been a model in consistency in churning out innumerable hits, collaborating with stars established and rising, reaching double platinum sales and even rubbing shoulders with symphony orchestras. National treasures don’t just pop up; it’s our civic duty to cherish Hilltop Hoods.
They say fashion is cyclical… and they’re right. Truly amazing things never go out of style, regardless of when they first popped up. Toto’s tune Africa is one of these things. First heard in 1982, this masterpiece of popular prog has been a staple of pop culture since its release. Taken from their massive second album Toto IV it combined their other calling card, Rosanna, to introduce Toto to a massive audience. That record would go on to win several Grammy awards and establish a base from which the band grew into one of the most prolific and durable acts in modern music history. Musically mind blowing and with more hits that you can poke a stick at, there’s no doubt that people will ask, ‘Where were you when Toto played Falls?’ for years to come.
7. FLIGHT FACILITIES
How do you follow up a classic debut album? The road to musical longevity is paved with artists without the answer to that question. Flight Facilities, forward thinking as always, are taking a different road. Their firstborn, Down To Earth, was seismic. Spawning two symphony concerts, an ARIA, a Top 5 chart placing, and two of the most recognisable dance tunes of a generation in Crave You and Clair de Lune, it was unstoppable. To combat follow-up fatigue they’ve been brilliantly prolific. Tossing out tunes like it’s no big deal, this dynamic duo have given us recent gold in Need You (feat Nika) and All Your Love (feat Dustin Tebbett) to prove themselves the most enduring dance act of their generation.
8. CASHMERE CAT (ONLY AUS SHOWS)
Cashmere Cat is the alias of Scandinavian turntablist and wunderkind Magnus Høiberg. If you haven’t heard of his name quite yet, you’ve definitely heard his music. Starting out by combining synthesisers, luscious drum sounds, and colourful beats in his home studio, it wasn’t long before curiosity got the better of the reclusive young producer as he ventured out onto the world stage. Soon, after forging a friendship with fellow hit maker Blanco, Cashmere Cat’s phone began to blow up with the likes of The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, and Kanye West all requiring his services. His debut album 9 has capitalised on the growing hype with guest spots galore and a potent mix of electro, pop, and something else entirely.
9. THE VACCINES
One of the most enduring English rock bands of the last decade, The Vaccines are back on Australian shores with a new album and a new collection of catchy-as-hell festival-ready favourites in tow. Combat Sports is the band’s fourth record and has signalled a slight change in direction for the London natives. Influenced by the best of 70s and 80s rock (think Big Star, T-Rex, and Guided by Voices), it nestles sweetly next to other Vaccines albums such as 2011’s What Did You Expect from The Vaccines and 2015’s English Graffiti. A band both of their time and forged from a deep love of the masters that came before them, The Vaccines are in permanent red-hot form.
10. FIRST AID KIT (ONLY AUS SHOWS)
Breezing through the festival like a cool wind on a scorching hot day, the glued-together harmonies and sonorous melodies of Swedish sisters First Aid Kit will be welcomed with open arms. As they make their way around the globe charming all and sundry with tracks from their latest album Ruins (described by NME as a ‘stunning delight’), the ladies will arrive in Australia with years of goodwill up their sleeves. Their first two records The Lions Roar and Stay Gold saw them regularly captivate Antipodean audiences and carved for them a permanent place in our heart.
Tix and program info at fallsfestival.com