Someone knocked me out with a coconut: and other random shit that happened at Falls

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Someone knocked me out with a coconut: and other random shit that happened at Falls

I was in the zone. Hands were in the air like I just didn’t care (even though I was watching Todd Terje and did care VERY MUCH) and I was grooving in the way that only white girls can (not well). Next to me a guy wearing a cat shirt and sailors hat was about to pull the moves.

Too bad I was taken with a date with tropical fruit destiny.

Flying through the air, I was clobbered in the side of the head with a big old hairy coconut.

My fist pump slowing, Mr. Cat Shirt Man held me up.

‘Do you want me to call the guard over?’ I heard from the next dimension.

‘Inspector… Norse… tho’, I murmured as a thin line of frothy spew fell into my cleavage.

Beginning to jump again and submitting to full YOLO, I started trying to bump the booty. Awkwardly swaying, face draining, unintentionally twerking – I passed out 7 (very groovy) seconds later.

That’s how my adventure at Falls ended. Here are a few things that happened before then.

To begin with, the inaugural meeting of the slightly alternative whities was interesting this year – for reasons good and bad. Descending on Byron Bay for five sweaty days of muntin’ and grindin’, the eclectic line up and thirsty crowd ensured an entertaining time.

The first festival day – New year’s eve’s eve if you will –  was a new addition this year. Having made the rookie mistake of driving into Byron Bay instead of carrying down the highway to North Byron Parklands, we missed the first few acts of the small lineup (devo about Fishing and Dan Sultan…). Setting up our tents in the late afternoon sun – we were schvitzing already. We also had to awkwardly camp in the carpark with a few others who had come later (pro tip: this sucks but your booze and ‘goods’ aren’t at the scrutiny of seccers).

After establishing the bomb site that would be our living quarters for the next few days, we started drankin etc. Things got a bit weird in the ‘Village’ (that strange vaudeville part of the festival established to try and make attendees believe it’s not hyper-commercial and sponsored as fuck). Even so, I danced like the dingers would never die and contemplated getting a henna tattoo on my butt.

Next morning we woke up cooked. Cooked in the sense that the tent was a fucking oven. The crusty baked beans I ate for breakfast felt like they had been microwaved. Some of the bros we were camping with made the mistake of leaving miscellaneous Christmas meat in their esky. Our campsite smelled like leprosy.

Making our escape into the festival – we sought out some frozen margaritas then headed to TORA. Where the hell did these kids come from? Still unsigned – their strange and interesting electronica solicited our first real boogie. The lead singer also looked like a 20-year-old Four Tet and the guitarist was one of those guys that are too hot and too young that you kind of just want to rub yourself all over and do some corrupting. But I digress.

We had some frozen margaritas then went to see BADBADNOTGOOD. After a million ‘we wonder if they’ll be not good’ jokes, they fucking rocked. It is my personal belief that many aren’t ready for their freaky jazz/dance fusions but most of the crowd ate that shit up. Shoutout to the drummer who was sweating up a storm. You rock my world.

Later that evening Salt n’ Pepa took to the stage and look, they weren’t amazing. I’m all down for the concept of slightly aged hip-hop artists doing their thing, but as performers I felt like they were all novelty value. I was almost more impressed with their DJ (who I think was DJ Spinderalla but I’m waiting on confirmation) who showed off her incredible mixing skills. But apart from that, singing along to hip hop mashups and dropping in really random tracks into their set (Sweet Child O’ Mine…really?) didn’t do it for me. I twerked sadly for the rest of their set.

Luckily Alison Wonderland picked me back up – staying mostly away from her own releases, she reaffirmed to us all that she is a fucking talented mixer. 10 points.

Waking up the next morning smelling like I had bathed for a thousand hours in sad bong water, I watched someone spew in the shower line then put my hot pants on for day three.

SAFIA fucking ruled. Ben Woolner’s voice is amazing – choir boy good. So clear and weird. Big ups to them for playing the James Vincent McMorrow cover ‘Cavalier’, I think my galpal peed her pants a little bit. They also dropped a new track which seemed edgier than their current stuff. Very excite for new album.

Here it was we made the mistake of straying from the electronic heartland, deciding to go and catch Cold War Kids. Suffering in the sun – I had to find out if they had played ‘Hang Me Up to Dry’ yet. After asking more than 20 stoned teenagers around me (all of whom replied ‘I don’t know that one’) I went to get more margaritas in a huff, accidentally missing Asgier. 100 dammits.

We left our beloved tequila for Jagwar Ma – but more on them later. The Presets impressed after Jags – a late addition to the festival but one that was very much appreciated (even though we were sad about Robyn and Royskopp). Seriously, can you get much better than them? Playing a seemingly never ending stream of hits, I forgot just what amazing musicians those two are. And after playing a shitload of shows, they still totally rock da haus. Lady boner.

La Roux was good but nothing to write home about – although I had forgotten what a great song Bulletproof is. As it’s my personal belief that you can never have enough lazers, dancers or graphics I did enjoy Empire of the Sun. Their music is dated, but will always be good.

Notable thoughts/events of the final day;

  • Airling, I had never seen her before. Talent city.
  • I learned that The Kite String Tangle is just one guy. I felt silly – but not silly enough to not have a boogie in the sun.
  • I had a very posed photo session on a tire swing. I convinced a young guy to swing me then hit him with me jelly sandal… Worth it.
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  • Glass Animals are a very underrated band and fun to dance to when you’re wearing a kimono.
  • Spiderbait are too old and haven’t done anything for too long to still be playing festivals – let alone the 5.10 spot. Just saying.
  • SBTRKT is a massive talent and there’s no disputing it – but he was a little awkward live. His stage presence seemed a little… average. It certainly didn’t match that sick mask.
  • We find this out in retrospect, but Joey Bada$$ is a bit of a dick (read more).

Pulling away from point form (ironically because my form at this time was not on point), we go and see Jamie XX. Maybe the person who I had been most excited to see – I nabbed a spot up front. Playing only a couple of his own tracks, XX instead took you through retro to futuristic with his set. An awesome pastiche of musical stylings, he very cooly and calmly rocked my goddam world with his talent (would have loved it to have all been on vinyl but shan’t be greedy).

And then… Todd Terje. After livening up all of the airwaves with this year’s incredibly funky release ‘It’s Album Time’, Terje gave a very nonchalant performance. His nondescriptness, however, did not make the performance unenjoyable. He seemed focused, content and eager to be precise with every beat dropped.

Then speaking of dropped, coconut.


Jagwar Ma were easily best in show. I’m considering sending them a baby blue ribbon with #1 embroidered onto it in the post. It is my personal opinion that Howlin is one of the most underrated albums of all time and after seeing them perform I feel even more strongly that they are the strongest electronic/alternative talent that we have in this country. Unique, energetic and absolutely amazing even after lead singer Gabriel Winterfield admitted they hadn’t slept in a couple of days. They were the most authentic talent and needed zero aesthetics to make their live show completely captivating.

So another year of Falls is over and we come away with a mix of good and bad. Hopefully next year’s Falls will see the kinks ironed out and the sky free of tropical fruit.

Follow Izzy Combs on Twitter: @Izzy_Combs and Instagram @izzaycombs



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