Making its way back to the festival’s founding grounds in Centennial Parklands, Parklife really did feel like it had finally made its way home after an awkward overstay at Moore Park. The set up was simpler, smaller and the grounds were generally more suitable for a festival (no awkward duck pond – score!). And for the first time in four years the weather decided to play nice and pulled out a perfect sunny Sydney day.
Relative newcomers and local lads Flume and Hermitude both rammed their respective stages with fans, despite their early slots. Each kicked the day off in style and it’d be great to see local acts like these guys work their way up the bill to a more deserving later slot next year. New York’s St Lucia’s synth-pop tunes amped up the Atoll stage, followed by English newbie, Charli XCX. Despite her less-than-large crowd, Charli sang and bounced around with energy and enthusiasm, while still maintaining the clarity and polish which pop performers need to really draw you in at a live show.
As the sun began to set, Tame Impala injected some rock’n’roll into the parklands that wasn’t seen across many of the other stages. Their trippy-psychedelic jams mixed things up enough to prove they were a very worthy, albeit unusual, addition to the line-up. The Impalas were followed by Passion Pit, who despite a less-than-stellar second album in Gossamer – in our humble opinion anyway – played a good mix of older and newer material to keep the fans happy.
AKA Gaspard and Xavier opted for a DJ set over a live show and delivered a set of party jams that got the crowd warmed up. It was a little disappointing to see the set skewed more towards random pop hits, rather than the songs that made the duo famous and Justice cross-bearing fans left the set a little underwhelmed.
The night ended with a pretty epic set by none other than Sydney’s own Presets
, who'd pipped Justice at the closing act post. It might have seemed an unusual ordering – this is Justice!
– but once the Presets made their way on stage it became very clear as to why they topped this year's bill. With a swag of new material, along with their first two EPs under their belt, Julian and Kim had a lot of ground to cover in their proposed hour-long set.
On first listening to Pacifica
, there were strong signals that it would make for an epic live show and expectations were exceeded with the pair translating the album in to a live show almost flawlessly. Taking things back to their Apocalypto
days, the boys literally kicked things of with ‘Kicking and Screaming’ and ‘Talk Like That’. ‘Ghosts’ had fists-a-pumping and as the feel-good soaring synths of ‘Fall’, ‘Promises’ and ‘This Boy's In Love’ blasted through the parklands, bright red flaming flares were lit among the crowd. ‘Youth in Trouble’ and ‘A.O’ navigated the set to darker realms, lyrically nailing the atmosphere and audience to a tee and ‘My People’ closed out the set with gusto.
All in all, Parklife proved to still be a pretty darn good day. And most of that was due to the locals.
Parklife took place at Centennial Parklands Sun Sep 30 2012.
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