Making the trek to Splendour in the Grass is not often feasible for everyone- taking a sickie around that time is never easy to pull off and a cool $500 doesn’t always fall in front of you. Luckily there’s the sideshows. Those gigs in the comfort of a roofed venue with shorter bar queues, less gumboots and no sudden dust storms.
You could easily spend as much as a Splendour ticket on the sideshows so we’ve put together a few sideshows that are unmissable. While a few of the big acts, namely Outkast, are only playing their festival set in Byron, there’s a plethora of acts to wash away those Splendour blues.
The British trio was last in the country for Falls Festival where they impressed with their brooding, melancholic sound. Since then, they have stormed the charts with their single, Strong, and as a result will play some huge shows when they’re here in July. The first thing that will capture your attention is front woman Hannah Reid’s mammoth voice, then you’ll be drawn in by the humble, starry night feeling of the live show.
“A completely assured and quite remarkable vocal. It is as unusual as it is impressive, and warm lower registers are married with piercing high notes with maturity beyond young years.” – The Line of Best Fit
Tuesday, 22 July – Festival Hall, Melbourne
Thursday, 24 July – Horden Pavilion, Sydney
Kelis is the chameleon of music. Her latest album, Food, is a huge departure from the dance sound of her previous album, Flesh Tones. It’s brassy, soulful and most of all full of Kelis’ big, raspy voice. It’s unlikely you’ll hear anything about Milkshakes but there will be Jerk Ribs and Fried Chicken aplenty. She’s been driving around the US serving signature dishes from a food truck in support of her new album so let’s hope we get the same service here in Aus.
“She is unafraid to let the cracks show in her signature husk, conveying a calming intimacy on Floyd and an awe-inspiring grandeur on the mariachi-tinged Change.” – The Guardian
Tuesday, 22 July – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne
Wednesday, 23 July – HIFI, Sydney
Baltimore band, Future Islands, have been floating around for a while but they have only made headlines recently with their new album Singles and by becoming David Letterman’s favourite new band. Lead-singer Samuel T. Herring is the focal point. He sings like Morrisey and dances somewhere in between Peter Garrett and Paul Simon and is unlikely to leave you without a strong opinion on the aesthetic of the show.
“The band’s new album Singles turns its synth-rock throb into something stickier and friendlier than it’s been on previous records, and on the evidence of last night, those songs sound amazing live.” – Stereogum
Sunday, 27 July – OAF, Sydney
Monday, 28 July – Corner Hotel, Melbourne
Ferreira made a quick trip to Australia in March for a small, sell-out show in Sydney. The calls for a return were made loud and clear following that show and she’s delivered. Expect euphoric pop, delivered in a gothic, grungy and industrial guise. Based off recent reviews, she’s delivering one of the best live shows around at the moment and may well take the crown of Sheezus (aka. Lily Allen) as queen of Splendour in the Grass 2014.
“On stage, she’s personable, committed and raw, and while her songs carry just the right amount of sugary melody to appease those with a penchant for pop, the grinding guitars and rollicking drums suggest that, in Ferreira’s world at least, pop is a dirty word.” – Music Feeds
Wednesday, 23 July – Prince Bandroom, Melbourne
Friday, 25 July – Metro Theatre, Sydney
You won’t see many photos of Jungle hanging around the internet. They’re as enigmatic as they come but the mysterious British duo is making some serious waves with their funk-induced sound. Jungle have mostly performed under a thick smoke-machine induced smog, but apparently most people are so busy grooving that there is barely time to notice. This may be one of the only times to see them live in a small venue before shit gets real (ie. the word spreads).
“All their soul and swagger translated to the live setting, particularly thanks to a sumptuous drum sound and some gospel-like backing vocals.” – Line of Best Fit
Tuesday, 29 July – The Corner, Melbourne
Wednesday, 30 July – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney
With just three albums under her belt it’s difficult to call Merrill Garbus a veteran of her trade but such is her competence. Her live-shows are known for being experimental, built on live-vocal layering and drum-heavy sounds and are bound to be one of the most interesting sideshows. Her new album Nikki Nack features a few RnB flavours alongside her usual chanting-soul, so a few grinds may be in order if that’s your kind of thing.
“It’s weird music, for sure. But it’s also one of the best live shows out there.” – CMJ
Thursday, 24 July – Howler, Melbourne
Monday, 28 July 2014 – OAF, Sydney
Tickets go on sale Friday, May 9 at 9am.