All signs point to the Wayville Showgrounds for the 2018 Groovin’ The Moo festival for a day filled of great tunes and great times. The weather was stellar and they came from miles descending on the Leader Street entrance excited about what was to unfold. Like any festival there is always much debate about the relative merits of who’s playing, who’s not playing, who should of of playing and maybe they are a headliner or two short… maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong. For me, on paper at least there was plenty on offer to make a decent day of it.

The pick of the bunch early for me was Portugal. The Man! Holy smokes, they really did bring their A-game to the Cattleyard Stage. Finally, after so many tours to Australia and never quite making it to Adelaide they are here and didn’t disappoint. How about the set list? Fark! The set list boasts tunes in the ilk of From Who The Bell Tolls (Metallica cover), All Your Light (Times Like These) (Beatles cover), Modern Jesus and Feel It Still.

Adelaide superstar Tkay Maidza really owned it with much adulation from the hometown crowd. Decked out in hot pink the crowd were going nuts for U-Huh, Simulation, Brontosaurus and Switch Lanes. I had to make a quick dash over to N.W.A’s DJ Yella featuring Playboy who pulled a massive crowd who went nuts for Straight Outta Compton and Fuck Tha Police.

Whether it was a planned or unplanned move to slow things down on the main stage with the chilled vibes of Winston Surfshirt I thought things were slowed down way to much. They played well, sounded and looked great but really wasn’t my thing. It took Amity Affliction to bring some much needed grunt and intensity to the Cattleyard. Amity Affliction, despite hearing from some people that they were an odd fit, were brilliant. Forty minutes or so probably doesn’t do them much justice. Opening with I Bring The Weather With Me (quite ironic given the weather but so true). All the big singles were there with Open Letter, This Could Be Heartbreak, Shine On and All Fucked Up to mention a few. Set closer Pittsburgh was a massive highlight also.

The rock action continued with Grinspoon in the Cattleyard and for me was the pick of the bunch. Grinspoon were super tight, sounded brilliant and played all the hits one expect. Opening with Run and Ready 1 Grinspoon more than proved that they are a Hard Act To Follow. Just Ace and Chemical Heart were big moments in their set. Grinspoon were unbeatable wrapping things up with set staples DCX3 and More Than You Are. Long hail Grinspoon.

Having a look at Lady Leshurr and Confidence Man really didn’t do much for me to be honest. Faith was restored with the brilliance of Paul Kelly and his superb band featuring Vika and Linda Bull, legendary Ash Naylor, Bill McDonald, Peter Luscombe and Cameron Bruce. Wowsers! Back to back to back hits from the low key build up of From Little Things Big Things Grow to the big hits of Before Too Long, To Her Door, Dumb Things and How To Make Gravy. The new tunes from relatively new album Life Is Fine with Firewood And Candles and Rising Moon worked brilliant. Initially I wondered how the legend Paul Kelly would be received and the crowd were really in to him in a big way which was really pleasing.

It’s been a long wait in anticipation of Royal Blood coming to town and finally I can tick that box. Royal Blood are deserving of a big billing on the main stage with two killer albums including the infamous 2014 self-titled album and the massive release from 2017 How Did We Get So Dark?  It is no doubt a tough challenge for a two piece to fill an outdoor arena with a massive rock sound but I thought Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher did it pretty well. It is an interesting proposition though that whether they would tour with a third or fourth player to expand their sound. Nevertheless, Royal Blood were rock solid despite most of the crowd heading over to Duke Dumont which was surprising. Favourites for me were largely from their debut album with Come On Over, Little Monster and Out Of The Black. It was great to be able to hear I Only Lie When I Love You and Hook, Line And Sinker from the new album. I don’t think the band really needed the back up singers/dancers to be honest. Fingers crossed for a return visit soon.

It was really starting to get quite cold and the last stop in my Groovin’ The Moo journey for 2018 was with Australian starlets Ball Park Music. These guys really know how to bring the party vibe to any occasion. Their sound in Moolin Rouge sounded a little flat under the big top. The Ball Park Warehouse t-shirt still alludes me. I think the pinnacle of their set which captures the Groovin’ The Moo Festival vibe is Everything Is Shit Except My Friendship With You, what a song. Hands Off My Body is a killer tune as well off their new album which fits in nicely.

It doesn’t matter how many of these festivals you have done previously because one thing is for sure that walk to the car feels infinitely longer than the walk there with every ache and pain possible. Still, the walk made for the perfect discussion for what was witnessed at Groovin’ The Moo 2018 and what we can hope for in 2019.

Review by Rob Lyon