Indie and DIY have always gone hand in hand. From fanzines on obscure bands in high school to creating fanbases on myspace, the button badge set were born and bred to do it ourselves. So it’s tres fitting the year’s biggest indie music fest, St Jerome’s Laneway Festival exchanged tourist trap for Temper Trap by gracing the shadowed underbelly of sunny Sydney’s Circular Quay, after outgrowing its humble beginnings in Melbourne. No drunken jocks wrapped in Aussie flags here, just lots of nerdy kids in glasses enjoying music to hold hands to.
Internationals Camera Obscura and Peter, Bjorn and John blew the sweetness factor out of the water while Youth Group charmed the crowd with their melancholy exploration into folk, pop and (you guessed it!) indie. Dirty discopop kings Midnight Juggernauts get better with age and the addition of new stickman Stricker, ex-Valentinos and Muppets (Animal, anyone?).
But the festival highlight goes to two Sin-city bands who owned the tiny Basement stage: Expatriate and Dappled Cities Fly. Both acts whipped the sweat-soaked crowd into a frenzy with their powerfully tight, incredibly imaginative sets; homegrown heroes pushing the boundaries of live performance and indie rawk. And the best thing about these guys? Duh, they did it themselves!