Updated: Feb 15
The Laneway Festival hit Australian shores last weekend, so we have taken a deeper look into the music line-up on offer. Laneway has always been ahead-of-the-curve. This well-run international event cherry-picks artists that will later become household names. Music fans show confidence in the line-up every year, with this year’s being no different. Despite a more Australian dominated list of artists this year, Laneway generally boasts an international line-up. Artists that don’t usually tour Australia or play on our radio stations get the chance to play their material, a dream for those musos looking to hear some fresh tunes. Putting into consideration basic knowledge of headliners and the rough clashes that Laneway unfortunately has, we’ve curated a shortlist of acts you must see at this year’s festival.
#1 – Rex Orange County
How it has taken this long to get this man to come to Australia is beyond me. At just the ripe age of 20, Alex O’Connor, better known for his stage name Rex Orange County, is an exciting artist that you just can’t miss. Having already worked with established artists such as Tyler, the Creator on his Flower Boy album and two whole albums of his own, Rex already has a lot to his name. An old soul that speaks of the confusing emotions of young life, expect the multi-instrumentalist to bring his full ensemble.
Big song: ‘Loving Is Easy’
With many songs to choose from this hit single is a prime example of how easy it is to listen to Rex Orange County. A simple, repetitive and catchy melody that shows how easy-going love can be if you find the right person. One of many that you can predict a mass singalong will take place.
#2 – Jon Hopkins
An experienced campaigner, this isn’t the first time Jon Hopkins has taken the stage at Laneway. Hopkins is an unsung hero in the music industry having played an integral role in the production for Coldplay, including their highly acclaimed Viva La Vida album, Brian Eno and Imogen Heap. Touring his latest album Singularity, Hopkins has emerged into a God-like status in the electronic world. During Hopkins’ sets there are senses of endless discovery as you are guided through constant cycles of destruction and rebirth. Try and find a good spot for this one.
Big song: ‘Emerald Rush’
From his latest album, Emerald Rush is the epitome of what separates Hopkins from other electronic artists. The most unique drop you’ll experience as you are taken on a journey from ambient bliss to intense techno. This is a song where you realise you are watching potentially one of the best there has ever been in this genre. An expert technician in full flight.
#3 – Masego
Laneway will get treated to the prince of TrapHouseJazz as Masego hits Australian shores this year. He has a personality to match his style. Masego’s unique sound crossing over three genres of music will have everyone dancing smoothly and singing. The gifted multi-instrumentalist will have the crowd clinging onto every word and beat. He may dub his style as TrapHouseJazz, but this could possibly be the future of Hip-Hop.
Big song: ‘Tadow’
Take a break and watch this live and improvised collaboration with the brilliant Fkj. One that will set the tone for the set. Arguably his most popular song, Masego’s raw cross-genre talent will be on full display here as he sings, raps, even blows some sax in this catchy melody.
#4 – Methyl Ethel
A familiar name of recent here in Melbourne, Methyl Ethel have been around the block a few times. With a few hits amongst their two released albums, the unconventional band are on the cusp of making it more known to the public that they have genuine depth. This comes with their upcoming album, Triage. The singles released so far have teased that it is time, in Methyl Ethel fashion, that the band fully establishes their sound. Similar to how the DMA’s took a big leap in 2018, 2019 could be Methyl Ethel’s year.
Big song: ‘Ubu’
As much as the interest is around their new album there’s no doubt their main drawcard is still Ubu. Coming as high as #4 in Triple J’s Hottest 100 in 2017, this tune is still fresh in everyone’s minds. One that will definitely get the crowd moving.
#5 – Smino
One for the hip-hop fans. Emerging from the Chicago scene, Smino has an undeniable level of energy and enthusiasm. This radiates through the crowd whenever the charismatic rapper performs. The hype the St. Louis born rapper has is contagious. With two full albums under his belt expect to see the versatility of Smino’s vocals as his voice effortlessly stretches through a variety of flows and tones. An extremely talented rapper who puts the fans’ experience first, dress lightly as it’s going to be a sweaty one.
Big song: ‘Netflix & Dusse’
The love-funk single from his debut album Blkswn that revolves around Smino attempting to go somewhere private with a girl. A crowd favourite, this summer jam is where Smino gets to show off his charm weaving silky melodies with striking bars.
This is only a handful of what’s on offer at Laneway Festival this year, and there is certainly a stocked line-up with acts like Gang of Youths, Courtney Barnett and Parquet Courts in the list of talent. Even though this event is sold-out in Melbourne you may still have a chance to scrounge a ticket online, and why wouldn't you? This is an event not to be missed.