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This Is Northern New South Wales

BRACING FOR THE FALL: FALLS FESTIVAL 2014

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We’re staring down the barrel of another festival season. That eight-month vacation we like to call summer is knocking at the door and before we know it, the calendar will tick over to ’15 and we’ll all be saying “where the hell did THAT year go?” Christmas is a time of family, togetherness and gratitude, but when it comes to New Year’s you want something a little more debauched than nana Gracie’s knitted jumpers, mince pies and Back To The Future reruns.

Oh thank you spirit of all that is rad for bringing the Falls Festival to Byron Bay. Thank you for saving us from turkey sandwiches and another round of charades. Thank you for making a belated Santa’s stocking of North Byron Parklands, stuffed to the brim with some of the sickest bands from near and far.

This year’s Falls Festival has some tried and tested acts, big names that will be awesome to see but familiar nonetheless. Alt-J, John Butler Trio, Spiderbait, The Black Lips – more kick-ass than a soccer-mad donkey, but you kinda know what you’re gonna get. So we’ve dug to the bottom of Santa’s sack to find all the little nicknacks you didn’t put on this year’s wish list but may well turn out to be the unexpected gems under the Christmas tree tree:

Ásgeir

The best thing to come out of Iceland since jailed bankers and a cheeky little imp called Björk, Ásgeir‘s lilting lyrics wash over you like a glacial flow and send shivers down your back like a yeti was using your spine and skull as a baby’s rattle. Bon Iver with a dose of ’80s pop, Ásgeir‘s cinematic songs transport you to another place; the Arctic tundra, your childhood, the arms of the nearest single fellow festival-goer – who cares? There’s something divinely ethereal and magical about Ásgeir. A breath of calm in an otherwise energised lineup, we highly recommend you take in at least a couple of Ásgeir‘s Icelandic offerings, even if just as an excuse for a pash. Love it up lovebirds.

Client Liaison

Client Liaison are the first known successful example of cryogenic freezing. Back in 1986, during a particularly inspiring episode of Miami Vice, Ludwig Von Freudstein was so sick of the disco beats eminating from his neighbours’ ghetto blaster that he threw their kids in his freezer and told them they’d run off to join the cast of Hey Hey It’s Saturday. Well, now they’ve thawed – all but their permanently coiffed and frozen hair – and they’re making tunes like it’s still your high school disco. When Armin van Buuren mated with Bee Gee Barry Gibb’s hair, Client Liaison were the illegitimate offspring – part disco, part dance, these guys will be a performance you won’t want to miss. Don your fluoro, disco-dancers.

Fishing

The noble art of fishing is all about patience, silence, tranquility. So these guys must have a steroid-infused sense of irony. Ambient breakbeat is an ambiguously disparate ballpark that Fishing occasionally play in, but definitely not their home ground. Deep bass is wrapped in fluid electronica like a chocolate-coated coffee bean; smooth and sweet, but watch out for the caffeine kick. Just when you think it’s time to chill out in the summer sun, they’ll throw down lines that will get you bouncing like Skippy on a trampoline. It’s not your jaw-clenching, fist-pumping dub-dance, but Fishing will give you reason to work up a sweat. I think we’re gonna need a bigger beat.

Big Freedia

Imagine, if you will, Queen Latifah and LL Cool J spliced into a single form. Now take some Panadol for the headache that concept just caused. Lipstick, gold danglers, impeccable wardrobe and an attitude that registers on the Richter Scale, Big Freedia could make Julia Gillard twerk. He’s a self-confessed Queen Diva and, for all you True Blood fans, he’s LaFayette’s long-lost gangsta brother. Stripped back and raw, his big beat hip hop will send your coccyx into conniptions. Big Freedia‘s show is not for the meek, faint-hearted or osteopathically challenged, about as sass as you get get without snapping your pelvis. Watch out for low-flying buttocks.

Glass Animals

You’re a Freddo frog, Byron Parklands are the hot dash of a Subaru Forester and Glass Animals are the scorching summer sun. Every beat of Glass Animals‘ mellow synth dance drools together seamlessly, a molten mass of gorgeously sumptuous melody. There’s enough beat to get you moving but you won’t be dancing, you’ll be gently oozing in rhythm with the bass. Who knows what time slot these guys will be shoe-horned into, but let’s hope it’s sunset. Glass Animals will be the perfect way to sway into the night time, sigh in relief into the cool evening and ease your way into the night’s headline acts. Flow like a marshmallow on a campfire spit.

Badbadnotgood

More layered than a ten-storey trifle, Badbadnotgood loop acoustic beats and chords and rhythms into a jazz funk breakbeat infusion. Like jumping into a tropical pool, their tunes envelope you as you sink further and further down into strings, percussion and the occasional keyboard riff – and the deeper you go, the more it’ll make you move. Badbadnotgood are architects with musical Lego, piecing together each tune in orchestral geometry to create a pulsing, swaying, bass-dropping Eiffel Tower of melody. Hold your breath and dive down deep.