BY ALEX SAIFITI
Sweet sounds under the sun, Auckland’s Laneway Festival brought it all this year in what was a diverse and multi-talented line-up. Given the heat and no pass-outs, it was important to time my entry to achieve the best possible experience. As the afternoon lingered into early evening, the break’s between artists shortened and the beginning of a good night begun.
Being new to Laneway, it was interesting seeing Albert Park, Princess Street and the General Library in a new light. Very much used to relatively quiet and studious scenes, the Festival gave the spaces a whole new atmosphere. There was just the right amount of people in attendance as crowds mixed and mingled across the various stages (Princes Street Stage, Rotunda Stage, Rangers Stage, and the Puma Blockparty Stage), the obvious highlight being the Rotunda Stage set across from the beautiful rotunda under the much-appreciated shade of mature oak trees. First up (for me at least), Mahalia graced the stage with her presence, her R&B, Leicester city roots providing upbeat tunes (‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’, ‘What You Did’) and easy-to-dance-to beats like ‘Simmer’ full with emotion and proper meaning.
Next, I was off to the Rangers Stage to see fast-rising star Ruel, an Australian teenager that sings with the wisdom of an adult who has lived many lifetimes. Ruel performed a range of songs and the crowd was clearly pleased with his passion and enjoyment. Performing at a New Zealand festival for the very first time, the crowd joined him bellowing out tunes like ‘Dazed & Confused’ and ‘Younger’ in the sweltering heat.
With no rest for the wicked, it was time to check out the Puma Blockparty Stage, and having researched her earlier, listen to some purely positive CC:Disco. You could literally listen to any of her music and feel better, the crowd making the most of simple yet effective tunes with no unnecessary add-ons. Hoping to catch part of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, I was obviously caught up in the good vibes and found CC:Disco thanking the crowd and finishing up.
Next, it was time for Charli XCX, a pop-star with sensual moves and crowd-pleasing bangers, ‘Vroom Vroom’, ‘Boys’ and ‘I Love It’. Not my cup of tea, but still enjoyable.
Finally, yes, a lot of people would have made their way to The 1975, but there was still a loyal crowd of supporters finishing their evening with the soul-full rich voice that is Marlon Williams. Cool, calm and collected, Williams and his band performed a range of songs like ‘Dark Child’ and ‘Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore.’ Leaving the audience wanting more, Williams came out again to finish off the evening with ‘When I Was A Young Girl’, a song that left those who were lucky enough to witness it, content to call it a day.
Auckland’s Laneway Festival 2020 was a first for me but definitely not a last. Good weather, good tunes and good vibes – you can’t really go wrong with a festival like it.
A young professional working week days and appreciating weekends. Alex Saifiti has successfully survived university to progress his way into working life. He’s still asking the questions that hopefully matter and wondering if money is really the answer to his problems.
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