Live Review

Global Gathering, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne

What transpires next is quite bizarre, and very nearly unfathomable…

And so, the much anticipated Global Gathering festival comes to the Southern Hemisphere for the first time. However, its arrival also coincides with a torrential storm, threatening to dampen the enthusiasm of even the most eager punter, as the crowd collectively shivers, struggling with windblown umbrellas and pelting rain. Nevertheless, as they say in the classics, the show must go on. Over on the Ministry of Sound stage, good-time electro crew The Potbellez deliver furious scratching, expertly mixing their own debut hit ‘Don’t Hold Back’ with The Chemical Brothers’ ‘Galvanize.’ Singer Ilan Kidron then appears on stage, asking, “Are you having a good time today?” to a sea of good-natured, yet slightly saturated faces. Meanwhile, MC Blue displays her rapid-fire rhyming skills on tracks such as ‘Trouble Trouble’ before the group delivers another rousing version of ‘Don’t Hold Back,’ leading the soaked crowd in a sing-along, over lilting acoustic guitars.

Over on the Future Stage, Chicago’s House pioneer Felix Da Housecat arrives, swiftly delivering crowd favourites such as The Presets’ ‘My People,’ and New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle,’ much to the delight of the crowd, who promptly whistle and scream. Sasha then takes the stage, delivering ambient trance and whirring synths. Back on the Ministry of Sound stage, the appearance of The Orb is preceded by a bewildering array of props, including a silk-screen backdrop of dark clouds, perhaps reflecting the storm gripping the venue. Amid the strains of Big Ben-style chimes, Cypress Hill’s ‘I Wanna Get High,’ and the glass-shatteringly high-pitched squeals of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Loving You,’ the band take to the stage, mixing churning rhythms and slamming beats. After experiencing brief technical difficulties, singer The Corporal eventually charms the crowd with his soulful singing style on tracks such as ‘From A Distance.’

On the Future Stage, the much-lauded Soul producer extraordinaire Mr Mark Ronson appears with his jazz-soul orchestra The Version Players, eliciting screams from the crowd. As the violinists strum majestically to the strains of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ Mark himself appears rather Beatles-esque, resplendent in a black suit and tie, while flashing red neon lights emblazoned with his name light up the stage. Blazing trumpets then herald a ‘60s-style Motown revue, with Mark, as a Soul Svengali-type figure, introduces his numerous “friends,” including MCs Tiggas and Rhymefest. Launching into tracks such as a version of Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic,’ they prove themselves to be quite the consummate performers, even though they seem to be most uncomfortable wearing bow-ties.

Melbourne’s MC Phrase also performs his track ‘Clockwork’ ecstatically commanding the crowd to “bounce,” as the rather leggy female violinists perform choreographed moves, shaking their heads to the beat. After Phantom Planet’s Alex Greenwald delivers plaintive waling vocals on ‘California,’ prompting the crowd to sing along, Tawiah delivers soulful vocals, entwined with the shimmering orchestral grandeur of the horn section. Then, it’s time for a rousing version of ‘Valerie,’ with Tawiah exclaiming, “And I look across the water.” Rather apt, really, since the venue is being deluged by rain, and punters wave their umbrellas around. After Mark attempts to rouse the crowd in a spot of jumping “like we’re at CBGB’s,” the orchestra erupts into a crescendo of soaring violins, jazzy trumpet bursts and piano, while the crowd sings along to the chorus with gusto. Truly magnificent. Soon after, Mark reappears with another protégé, Melbourne boy Daniel Merriweather, who promptly lends his rather heart-rending vocals on ‘Stop Me,’ as the orchestra soars to dizzy heights. “We love you, thank you so much!” says Mark, to an adoring crowd. And with that he leaves the stage.

What transpires next is quite bizarre, and very nearly unfathomable, certainly mysterious. Across the large screen on the Future stage are the words, ‘Gorrilaz Soundsystem take over, stand-by.’ Apparently, the scheduled appearance of the headline act Kraftwerk is being sabotaged by Gorillaz, as punters cheer to the screened message, ‘Our normal service has been interrupted,’ while a cartoon of a skull appears. The initials ‘G.S.S.’ are emblazoned on the screen, before the crew appears, singing along to Damon Albarn’s part on ‘Clint Eastwood.’ After the DJ rather puzzlingly spins the 50 Cent track ‘In Da Club,’ it’s soon onto the bouncy beats of ‘Dare,’ which convert the venue into a mass of bobbing bodies. The reverberating bass-lines of Groove Armada’s ‘Superstylin’ and booming bass of Kanye West’s ‘Golddigger’ have the crowd dancing. However, time restraints limit the crew’s planned finale, so their set is cut prematurely short. With many disappointed fans demanding the crew’s return for ‘Feel Good Inc,’ a request that they sadly cannot fulfil, the festival unfortunately ends on a rather anti-climactic note.

Read More

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

April 2024

With Bob Vylan, St Vincent, girl in red, Lizzy McAlpine and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY