A Muso's Guide To Being Cool At Laneway Festival
From hip-hop to hipster rock think of this as your musical 101 to blending in with the crowd
Who: The superbly talented Marlon Williams should need no introduction by now (Lyttelton songwriting superstar, Silver Scroll and VNZMA winner) so we're dedicating this opening spot to share our excitement that he's just been added to the Laneway line-up. Marlon has replaced a headline spot (bad news for Fontaines DC fans who can no longer appear) and will be closing the night on the Ranger's Stage. Yeeha.
Need to know: Doc Martens will be essential to wear here, as will ankle-high socks, white preferably, and heck, why not wear a cowboy shirt while you're at it.
Who: In between rocking their way to international success, Auckland indie band The Beths are treating fans to their one and only summer gig at Laneway. If you've been living under a rock their album Future Me Hates Me, filled with high-energy guitar pop and catchy, self-deprecating lyrics, was hailed as one of the best debuts of 2018. The hit single Happy Unhappy was named by Rolling Stone as the song of summer in 2018.
Need to know: A sort of laidback bop is your best dancing approach. The band's members, made up of couple Elizabeth Stokes and Jonathan Pearce, bass guitarist Ben Sinclair and drummer Ivan Luketina Johnson (who has since left the band) are known for their extremely humble, charmingly awkward banter on stage.
Who: A high-energy rapper from Atlanta with intricate lyrics and undeniably tight rapping chops. His latest album Dicaprio 2 (named after his favourite actor Leo) is the standout follow-up to his critically acclaimed The Never Story.
Need to Know: Get overheard saying something about J.I.D being signed to J. Cole’s Dreamville imprint and you'll sound like an OG fan. He featured on the label’s collaborative album Revenge of the Dreamers III with the track 'Down Bad' also featuring Bas, J.Cole, Earthgang, and Young Nudy. It was easily (okay, arguably) one of the best hip hop songs of 2018.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Who: Don’t scoff at the tongue-twisting name, this Aussie rock band formed in Melbourne has garnered a cult-like following for their uniquely cool 60s and psychedelic sound. Between the seven members, they've made a head-spinning 15 albums in nine years and often do wondrous things with a unique range of instruments on records, including clarinet, citar and a Turkish horn called a Zurna.
Need to know: These guys are world-class musicians to see perform live but prepare for experimental-sounding boogies if you're a new listener.
Who: Double trouble (in a good way) seems like an adequate summary of this promising young hip hop duo from Auckland. It's made up of two Zimbabwe-born twin brothers Muche and Shingi who deliver tracks with crisp production and decent, catchy lyrics.
Need to know: From debut track 'We Met in France' to standout 'Golden Hour' and 'After Hours' ready yourself for jumping (lots of it) if you're moshing up front.
Who: The young Dunedin four-piece has made a splash since the release of their latest EP, Sludge Pop, selling out venues across Australia and a bunch of shows around the country. Their laidback, infectious sound with tracks including titles such as 'Shuggah Doom' will revive a holiday mindset come Monday.
Need to know: Wear a bucket hat, and some bright coloured specs, to blend right in with the band's crowd at Laneway.
Who: Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin crushed us (in the best way) with the release of her emotionally driven solo follow-up Crushing last year. The folk-rock performer has a New Zealand connection and recorded her first album Don't Let The Kids Win in 2016 in Lyttelton at producer Ben Edward's Sitting Room Studios. Ben has been responsible for records by Nadia Reid, Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams, who Julia has also toured with.
Need to know: Julia also features in her not-so-serious band Phantastic Ferniture formed with two old friends and musicians Liz Hughes and Ryan K Brennan. The giddy side project is an exercise in fun with tracks 'Dance Corner Dance Party' and 'Fuckin 'n' Rollin'. It's just as worthy of a listen.
Who: The Los Angeles young rap star may only be 25-years-old but is already an alum of hip-hop with an at-times mysterious, and reclusive rise to fame. He got his start with Tyler, the Creator’s hip-hop crew Odd Future, known for their demented aesthetic, crude sense of humour, and confrontational, often unpleasant lyrics. Then he abruptly disappeared after being enrolled in a strict all-boys program in Samoa by his mother. Then returning a few years later to work on his solo stuff, releasing two critically-acclaimed albums — 2013's Doris and 2015's I Don't Like S***, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt. His new seven-track EP, Feet of Clay, follows Earl’s 2018 album, Some Rap Songs.
Need to Know. Earl has an enigmatic "speech-effusive" rap style that can tend to sound unfinished. He's often compared to Brit-rap legend MF Doom who has been cited as one of Earl's biggest and earliest influences.
Who: Real name Stella Bennett, Benee is a 19-year-old Kiwi pop sensation who has young fans all over the world memorising her catchy lyrics. Her breakout hit ‘Soaked’ is currently sitting at more than 27 million streams on Spotify, and she scooped up four awards at the latest New Zealand Music Awards including best solo artist. This is her second time performing at Laneway after an energetic debut last year with only a handful of songs to her name.
Need to Know: Esteemed producer Josh Fountain (Auckland band Leisure member and producer for local artists such as Mitch James, Theia, and Matthew Young) plays a close collaborative role in Benee’s mature, synth-licked pop sound. Check out her latest EP Stella and Steve to get up to speed with the new grooves.
Who: This teenage punk trio from Straya's Sunshine Coast found viral success in 2017 with their breakout song 'Smoko' — an ode to the Aussie work break — and are making a big name for themselves overseas. They've toured to soldout venues internationally and count people like Dave Grohl and Josh Homme of Queens of The Stone Age as fans. Homme even invited the band to support Queens Of the Stone Age on an Australian tour.
Need to know: These lads are so Aussie, so expect plenty of twang on-stage.
Monday January 27. Albert Park. Tickets available from Auckland.lanewayfestival.com
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