Thebarton Theatre, Friday August 2.
Spin Off is a brilliant initiative: collect a bunch of local and international acts from the Splendour in the Grass lineup, and create a one-day music festival right here in Adelaide to give us South Australians a taste of Splendour. Now in its second year, Spin Off’s new home at Thebarton Theatre proved the perfect fit, and was utilised in some creative ways. The day was a resounding success on every level: well-organised, incredibly fun, and without a single bad band on the lineup.
After breezing through the line, we walked in on Console Warriors, who provided a very solid, upbeat indie set performed by three guys wearing dresses like it was nothing. Archers followed it up with a heavier, more downbeat set. Both bands provided a tight start to the day and set the bar high for the acts to follow.
In the intermission, we grabbed our drinks from the Sailor Jerry’s Bar, set up in the Thebbie’s downstairs area. A small bar away from the main stage, it was a great space to dance and relax, with a rotating assortment of DJs taking the vibes from cool, deep house earlier in the day to a raging party later in the night.
We came back to see Dune Rats give the day’s first big set. Three guys with endless energy; they got the crowd jumping and stage-diving and filled the room with bouncing beachballs, which continued to make appearances throughout the rest of the festival. After a quick bite from Papa’s Gourmet Hotdogs (the wagyu beef sausage is thoroughly recommended!) we witnessed a great set from Jungle Giants. The band gave a confident and energetic performance, completely at odds with the frontman’s stage banter: “this is a new song…it’s about, uh, having sex” is how he introduced one of the songs. With an album out soon and an entry in last year’s Triple J Hottest 100, they’re definitely a band not to miss next time they come here.
Fidlar backed it up with a gritty set of throaty, boozed-up skate punk, including a great cover of Nick Cave’s ‘Red Right Hand’ which they performed for Triple J very recently. By this point, the crowd was well and truly jumping and singing along, and the excitement in the room would rival any outdoor, summer festival.
Snakadaktal slowed down the revelry with an electronically-assisted set of deep, ethereal, danceable music. They played a lot of new material from their new album, Sleep In The Water which was released that day, and they were the highlight of the festival for me. Chet Faker immediately followed and took the proceedings down another notch. The bearded virtuoso gave a masterful performance of soulful vocals and transcendent melodies laid over skittering, trip hop beats. The crowd was mesmerised, but moved and sang along with the music. His closing one-two punch of “I’m Into You” and a characteristically woozy cover of “No Diggity” proved a hit with the punters.
Following Chet Faker, we took a quick break and grabbed some delicious quesadillas from Los Campadres. As an aside, the standard of food at Spin Off was excellent and showed off some of the best new players in Adelaide’s ever-growing food truck scene. Heading back to the mains stage, Passion Pit were an absolute burst of colour and energy, ramping up the energy levels on the main stage following the slower last two acts. Lead singer Michael Angelakos had limitless stamina as he jumped around the stage and sang each song with impressive gusto. The singalong to “Little Secrets” was a definite highlight of the festival.
Passion Pit departed, and the anticipation in the room was palpable. The act everyone was here to see ﹣ the headliners, Of Monsters and Men ﹣ took the stage, and showed exactly why they earned the massive success they’ve enjoyed over the last 12 months. The Icelandic folk outfit delivered a fantastic, faultless performance; the vocals were perfect, the band was brilliant, and the energy levels were high. It was impossible not to sing along with their hit song, “Little Talks”, which was one of the best moments of the entire night.
Spin Off was an absolute success, and is hopefully the second instalment in what will become an Adelaide institution. The organisers deserve some serious credit. Lines moved quickly, crowds moved efficiently, food and drink was never too difficult to access, and everything ran according to schedule. The caliber of bands this year was extremely high, and I’m sure every sweat-soaked punter in the crowd will agree: Spin Off 2014 is not to be missed.