Here we go again: the earthings! Fantasy Festival is back, with five stages of live performances that’s all just happening in our heads. We wrap up the week with Niko Batallones’ five acts, filled with legends setting the agenda, and future classics tipping their hat to the past.
Working on my Fantasy Festival stage is hard work. In limiting myself – all of us, really – to five acts, you’re forced to make really hard choices. Last year I had to ditch a couple of acts at the last minute; some of those acts were ditched again this year. This sucks. But then again, I approach the return of the Faraday stage with a slightly anthemic mindset. My head’s stuck in a 70s and 80s warp: the allure of the music of the era is so strong, you can still hear them today. But then, for good measure, I threw in some old acts for some variety. I told you, this is hard work. [NB]
I’ve been a fan of the Preatures before they released Blue Planet Eyes, so they were a shoo-in for my stage – but then my friend Lauren, who has seen them live, started hyping up the band’s frontwoman, Isabella Manfredi. She’s sexy, she says, but she’s not sultry: you’d actually want to be friends with her. And I agree. Izzy is electric on stage, or at least on the videos I’ve seen. She’s got this strut that I can’t quite do justice in these sentences. Add that to the Sydney band’s oozy take on rock history, and you have a show that punches above its weight. Also, Izzi.
Royal Blood is a band that didn’t quite make a blip on my radar until they’ve blown up: they’re now filling arenas and are preparing to front for the Foo Fighters. But of course. Again, the band’s sound is rooted in that good kind of rock, that timeless sort where the old people bent on reliving old times and the young kids who just want to bang their heads can agree on. This is good old garage rock, but with more of a bombast, at least compared to the work of this generation’s great garage rock revivalist, Jack White. No, I didn’t mean to start a fight. Nope. Nope.
Rainy wanted to add Ladies’ Code to her stage, but with two of the Korean group’s members dead, I told her it was a no-go. Rilo Kiley, on the other hand, are all still alive. Yes, the band has broken up, and yes, the band’s members have gone on to make things on their own (most recently Jenny Lewis‘ second solo effort, The Voyager) but this is a fantasy thing, so I’m throwing them in. Rilo Kiley, please reunite. I was a noob ten years ago, when Issa told me about you, and you ended up being the soundtrack to many so-called heartbreaks in college. I was too late for you guys. I know I’m enjoying The Voyager a lot lately, but I will always have in mind those, ehrm, feels from a decade ago, because Jenny pondered the choice between facts and romance. I wanna know!
Arguably I’m also late to these guys, but then again, Suede go even further back, to the origins of Britpop, a scene that some say they started. But I’ve been a fan of the group for a while now, even if it began with frequent plays of “Beautiful Ones” on the then DM 95.5 catching my ear. The band’s history is fascinating; while the circumstances are not perfect, they’ve reinvented themselves often enough – from brooding darks to glam popsters to blissed out raver wannabes – to have a varied discography. Also, I’d love to hear Brett Anderson’s distinctive voice live while I’m still alive, or able to go to these things, rare as it already is.
I discovered Arcade Fire ten years ago, back when Myx still aired Top of the Pops. I saw them perform “Rebellion (Lies)” and was frankly amazed at how many people they could squeeze into that small a stage. (Again, I was a noob then.) But the sound soared, the visual cacophony clicking all the way through, and I had a new favorite song. In both their quiet and boisterous moments, the Canadian band’s had a sense of grandeur, from the creep of “No Cars Go” to the slow build of “Reflektor”. Nice ending for the stage, I think. Imagine the slow build to, again, “Rebellion (Lies)”. That’s it. That’s your moment.