Like many trades last year, the music and arts industry suffered greatly. Many live music events were forced to cancel, reschedule, reschedule again and hold onto the glimmer of hope that the future date would take place in a better world. Somehow, the music industry adapted. Punters have still been able to find that sense of escapism with those behind the scenes working tirelessly to remain flexible to the dynamic restriction changes. To say that a 3-day festival would be happening this weekend only a few months ago would have been absurd. Yet here we are. For its seventh (and a half) edition this year in the Otway Hinterlands, Meadow Music Festival is not only a celebration for those that are there but of the resilience of the music industry.
Meadow’s lineup features more variety than a box of Cadbury favourites. From microtonal-infused psychedelic rock to neo-house disco, the organisers have managed to compile a roster of artists that will cater for everyone. If you’re unsure of which artists you’d like to indulge in, here are some recommendations hand-picked by the T-Rex Musiq team.
6:30 PM – 7:15 PM
Hailing from Coburg comes soul voyagers Surprise Chef, an unlikely 4-piece who rose to success following the limited pressing of their debut LP All News Is Good News.
Known for their compelling instrumental riffs and clean production, the Surprise Chef project is a spectacle. Taking heavy inspiration from the Karate Boogaloo scene at the time, while blending in some David Axelrod in there, the quartet takes a traditional method to their recording and production.
The band’s framework of productions is guided by soul and jazz aspects from the ‘60s, extrapolating the droning synths into a so-called ‘cinematic’ experience. With two heavily polished projects on their belt, Surprise Chef will do nothing short but impress at the iconic Bambra Bowl.
Shortly following the sunset over the Bambra rolling pastures, be sure to make your way to the mainstage, as Surprise Chef will compose to perfectly soundtrack the beginning of the evening. These boys couldn’t be recommended enough as they provide the perfect segue to Angie McMahon.
7:45 PM – 8:45 PM
Have you ever been at a concert where the artist began their set with some light meditation? Because that’s what Angie McMahon did when I saw her at Brunswick Music Festival in early 2021. Combining it with her Acknowledgment of Country, Angie, framed by a sunset, calmly led several hundred of us through a breathing exercise, then proceeded to deliver an hour or so of mute-toned guitar and vocals that are somehow simultaneously haunting and like a hug for the ears.
After her hit debut album Salt was released in 2019, last year should’ve been a year full of festival performances for Angie, but it should’ve been a lot of things. Instead, she kept us company with an online live piano concert in July and some single releases, including a beautifully subtle cover of ABBA’s ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’ that she did for Triple J in February, which you can find right here:
But, with Victoria seemingly teetering on the edge of COVID-safe right now, Angie will return to the festival stage at Meadow Festival in the beautiful hills of Bambra, Victoria, having been added to the retained All-Australian lineup from last year’s postponed show. A festival titled meadow seems quite apt for an artist who makes you want to lie in the grass and smile at the stars all night, which will be exactly the experience afforded to lucky ticketholders.
11:10 PM – Midnight
Dancing you into midnight on Friday are the groove connoisseurs Close Counters. This timeslot should be of no surprise to attendees of the latest Meredith with their dazzling performance following Liam Gallagher lifting a sea of shoes at the ‘Sup. For those unfamiliar with the work of this Tasmanian duo, these two have firmly embedded themselves in the Melbourne music community following their switch to the mainland a few years ago. On any given night in the northside of town, you’ll often find these two bringing the heat to the dancefloors with several other artists. However, there is a sense that their days in smaller venues are becoming numbered with this pair being on the cusp of something special.
Their large sonic soundscape of house, neo-soul, hip-hop and disco is infectious. The two craft a distinct flow throughout their instrumentations that will have you listening through their entire catalogue. Seriously, try starting their Soulacoasta mixtape without completing it.
To accompany their studio sound is their commanding live presence. The two are heavy collaborators with the ability to expand to up to 7 people on stage with the addition of live percussion, strings, woodwind instruments, and even dancers to their live setup! This large onstage gathering will spill into the Meadow crowd giving those warm, fuzzy festival feelings of community and belonging.
Don’t even think about trying to save yourself for Saturday, these two are simply not to be missed.
12:20 AM – 2 AM
What sets DJs apart from singers are their ability to mystify and aestheticise their craft, until their sound becomes intrinsically theirs. This is exactly what C. Frim has done. A rising master of the deck, the Melbourne-based DJ is one to look out for. This weekend at Meadow she’ll be energising the Bambra crowd with an enthralling set.
In an interview with Butter Sessions, C. Frim mentions she draws her inspiration from ‘a myriad of genres’, as well as the African and Asian diaspora. Listening to her mixes affirms this. From the genres of Afrobeats to EDM, her sound is eclectic and unpredictable. What’s incredibly special in her creations is that they aren’t merely a composition of beats that leave you in a trance, but a retelling of culture and belonging. There’s an essence to her mixes that is otherworldly and traverses the confinements of genre.
Only a few years into her DJ venture, C. Frim has already achieved the successes many dream about. Her Soundcloud has thousands of dedicated listeners and she has performed at some of Australia’s most beloved venues and festivals, including her memorable set at Golden Plains.
To all those attending Meadow this weekend, C. Frim is an electric act you simply cannot miss. For those that aren’t, look out as she’ll be blessing the Melbourne music scene for quite a while.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
10:20 PM – 11:20PM
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are a unique band that’s carving their own path. From recording in their own studio, to independently running their own label and touring schedule, there aren’t many parts of the music industry King Gizz haven’t done. The 7-piece psychedelic rock/thrash collective are widely known for their high volume of releases and unusual ways of engaging fans. On top of a staggering 5 album release in 2017, the fuzz-soaked rock band put Polygondwanaland into the public domain, as a way to encourage fans to press the album in any format they liked – a truly rare concept from the Melbourne guitar lords.
After playing hundreds of shows across the globe, King Gizzard are seasoned champions of the live arena. With their immense back catalogue, the Gizz’ are sure to provide the means necessary to start a mosh in the Bambra Bowl. Be sure to check out this intriguing and mesmerising band when they hit the stage.
10:15 AM – 11 AM
Soundtracking Sunday, Mimi Gilbert is the perfect way to bid farewell to Meadow. Raised in California, the singer-songwriter has since travelled the world, guitar in hand. Now finding herself in Australia, Mimi has left a mark on the strangers she's crossed paths with over the years with a performance that is equal parts powerful and vulnerable as it is tender and strong.
"Grew Inside The Water", the title track from her latest album, is a standout not to be missed, as she reflects on bitter moments to reach some sort of conclusion, and find the closure that many of us do not get. She admits that "after all this talk of cities / It's not the city that I hate / It's that this is where you left me". With each track, Mimi will take your hand and lead you further into her world, telling you her stories before bringing you back to reality.
With storytelling so honest and raw it feels like a phone call with an old friend, Mimi Gilbert’s set at Meadow will provide you with the comfort you didn't know you needed, like coming home to a freshly made cup of tea in the middle of winter.
This is only a small snippet of the plethora of artists that will soundtrack the Otways this weekend. We encourage you to check out Meadow's playlist below to hear the full lineup and cross over to their socials to see all the action.