Grrr it was cold, it was wet, it was cold, it was wet! It was a brave punter that survived the elements to see the first Groovin’ The Moo in Adelaide at the new home at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds at Wayville. Even better was the fact that it had been a sellout well in advance and hopefully a sign that ticket purchasing in Adelaide is starting to change and that more shows are viable to come here.

There’s nothing like seeing a strong statement by the Police and festival organisers with sniffer dogs checking out punters on the way in to the event. Safer outcomes? Hmm, a debate for another day. Essential chattels were gum boots, gloves, a warm jacket or three and a beanie. Applause to those who dressed like it was forty five degrees out there and got through without catching a cold.

Groovin’ The Moo organisers have done an exception job curating a lineup that clearly has resonated with the fans who by in large listen to Triple J and clearly is packed full of diversity appealing to all tastes. What was also pleasing was being able to see some artists play that I wouldn’t ordinarily go and see.

No doubt Groovin’ The Moo 2017 will be remembered for a lot of reasons but none more so than Amy Shark. What a talent who is set for big things this year who pulled off a massive crowd wanting to hear the big hit Adore and new single Weekends. This set alone will keep the buzz going for a lot longer to come and help sell out all the dates on her national headline tour.

It was an interesting choice to add the feisty Against Me! on the bill as they did seem to be an odd fit but on the same hand a good addition. There are some powerful songs in their armory with the likes of Transgender Dysphoria Blues and I Was A Teenage Anarchist. The majority of the set had a strong leaning towards Shape Shift With Me.

Smith Street Band reaffirmed their position of being one of the biggest bands going around at the minute and everything they touch literally turns to gold. Front man Will Wagner looks in his element and you couldn’t wipe the smile off his face as he enjoyed every minute of it being on the main stage. Their new album More Scared Of You Than You Are of Me is a winner and not being overly au fait with their back catalogue it is something for me to seek out.

Tash Sultana! Oh my god! What a set! Tash Sultana is bonafide international superstar. The crowd hung on literally every word as the familiar Notion EP was given a good going over. The instrumentation and experimenting with loops is just top shelf and a delight to watch. Tash remarked that it was finally great to be coming to Adelaide and that she liked seeing the smiling faces. Also, she pointed out that she had been sick for three weeks and still feeling the effects of illness which judging by the brilliant performance you would hardly know. Notion as stated by Tash is one of the most important songs written and the way the crowd reacted there’s no doubt about that.

Milky Chance were fantabulous and it isn’t until you see a festival set you realise how many great songs they actually have. Sweet Sun and Cocoon were great as the light rain re-emerged which didn’t seem to bother punters who were already wet and cold.

Long live The Darkness! Thank god for The Darkness! For me The Darkness were the pick of the day and a whole heap of fun. Kicking off with Black Shuck and Growing On Me it was full throttle for forty five minutes. Justin Hawkins jumped, kicked, rocked and belted out the hits with Love Is Only A Feeling, Get Your Hands Off My Woman and wrapping up with Love On The Rocks With No Ice. The only criticism was that there set was too short and they seemed to be only getting going when the set came to an end.

The Wombats are a classy unit and their performance was also one of the best of the day. They have such an impressive selection of hit songs that clearly got the crowd going. No one could argue with the strength of hits of the ilk of Your Body Is A Weapon, Jump Into The Fog, Tokyo (Vampires & Wolves) and the infamous Let’s Dance To Joy Division.

Violent Soho closed out the main stage and whilst they were good I wouldn’t say this was their best performance I’ve seen over the last three or four years. Clearly, a break is in order for the band as they looked a little disinterested and going through the motions. The crowd did jam in down the front to get the best vantage point in anticipation a mosh would start in Covered In Chrome. Set highlights for me included Lowbrow and Like Soda.

Groovin’ The Moo 2017 was a great event and a shame that the weather put a bit of a dampener on things but having said that it didn’t’ dent the festival spirit and enthusiasm of punters. It would be great if the many of pavilions around the showgrounds could be used to enhance the festival experience for punters. Looking forward to Groovin’ The Moo in 2018.

Live review by Rob Lyon