So I was sort of jokingly calling Sunday "Clare Bowditch" day in my head. How little I knew!
The day started at 1330 when I set up camp (so-to-speak) in front of the main stage for Clare's show. She was out and about with Libby and the rest of the Set, getting their gear set up... There was a nice crowd building with a few folks standing up front and the rest of us sitting on the grass and enjoying the afternoon sun. She came out and got right into it, with a big smile and really looked like she was enjoying herself (everyone else was too). She even "borrowed" some sunscreen from "Jess" in the audience in the middle of the set.
Clare played a lot of the stuff from What Was Left including Little Self Centred Queen, Starry Picking Night, Lips Like Oranges, On This Side and even The Thing About Grief. There was plenty of singing along and clapping and a real nice vibe up on the stage and in the audience. Definately the highlight show of the festival for me. Oh, and can I say, Libby and Clare were looking absolutely gorgeous! (I know, people are prolly gonna get sick of my saying that, but hey, it's true!)
Right, back to the story. After being mesmerised by Clare and the Feeding Set, I went to catch a bit of Epicure. Once again, I was too uncomfortable in the Big Top (dust) so headed to the Bunker to grab a good spot for the APRA Songwriter's Sessions with Clare, Kevin from Jebediah and Mat from Decoder Ring. When I got there Clare and co were setting up and plugging in.. Anyways, the songwriter sessions were really good once again, not just to get an idea of how they write but also just to get into their headspace.
Clare, for instance says that writing songs is something she MUST do, else she doesn't quite feel right. Kevin said something along the same lines, but he says he comes up with a melody/chord progression first and then tries to fit lyrics to it, which he finds to be a lot of hard work. Decoder Ring obviously works very differently, usually with the lot of them working together to throw ideas into the mix.. It was a really fun session (even including an attempt at Guns 'n Roses Sweet Child of Mine!) and everyone was really getting into it. I actually had my camera with me and snapped a few pics, will put em up later.. tho don't know how many of them are actually worth publishing.
After that I managed to catch a bit of Josh Pyke (pretty good), Butterfly 9 (same) before heading out to the big stage for Berndard Fanning. Everyone was really pumped and I think Fanning delivered. Clare Bowditch Day continued as he got Clare up to sing backing vocals on one song.. :) Songbird and Wish You Well just went off! with the audience singing along nicely... afterwards caught a bit of the Mountain Goats (meh, only knew one song which was ok) and headed to see Bob "Kevin from Jebadiah" Evens at the Riverside Stage.
Bob Evans really surprised me. It was just him with a guitar and mouth organ, playing some really nice country rock songs. His singing and musicianship was lightyears ahead of the first Jeb album.. and he had a really nice presense on stage, chatting along with the small audience. (I don't know what it is with lead singers from rock bands going solo and doing country records, but I'm really looking forward to the next album from the Jebs and Powderfinger.)
At one stage Kevin mentioned doing the APRA Songwriter's Sessions, and said that was the most nervous he'd been in ages, suggesting that maybe it was because he got to sit next to Clare Bowditch.. "I think she even smiled at me" he said like little boy in love with some Godess... Of course who just happened to run in front of the stage at that moment? Clare of course!! She had been listening to the show from the back and decided to embarass Kev a bit... Poor Kev turned red as a beetroot and fell to the stage, maybe trying to dig his way out. Clare waved at the audience and ran off, and everyone continued to laugh at poor Kev. He finally recovered (took a few swigs of his JD and Coke) and started a song dedicated to his wife-to-be!! Poor guy.. I understand, I'd be speechless and nervous if I had to sit next to Clare for a hour too!
After that we (Xtn, Chi and myself) caught a bit of Donavon Frankenriter and headed over to the Big Top to see Decoder Ring. We only made it through 3 songs before the other two got bored - and I had a go at them not expanding their musical horizons :) - but I was tired as well, so we headed home.
All in all, it was a great festival. Only a few standout shows, well, only two actually. Clare on Sunday and Dobacaracol on Friday, but lots of decent stuff inbetween. The numbers were a bit thin though, the only really big crowd was for Silverchair, and the main stage never filled to that size again. I think the organisers took a bet each way with the lineup and lost.. I don't think they quite knew if it was a country/roots/blues/folk festival or an indie rock/elctronic/dance festival. A more focussed lineup (and concentrated into 2 days) probably would have been better, IMHO. Also, I think some acts like Sigur Ros and Silverchair were really out-of place in the festival. Oh well, there's always next year.. and Splendour is coming up again...