The Amphitheatre is the epicentre of the music action as Splendour's biggest stage.
The Amphitheatre is the epicentre of the music action as Splendour's biggest stage. Javier Encalada

An avalanche of splendorous music

AFTER 15 years of (almost complete) silence, Australian electronic group The Avalanches have offered their first two shows this week in the Byron Shire.

On Thursday, the group headlined the Byron Bay Splendour pre-party at The Northern but all telephones were confiscated, so images of the gig would not spoil the surprise for 30,000 revelers at Splendour's Amphitheatre stage last night.

Robbie Chatter on guitar and Tony Di Blasi on decks were the core of the group.

Paris Jeffree is the drummer for the current gigs, and she did not disappoint.

The main surprise of the gig were not one but two vocalists: US rapper Spank Rock, who performed as MC on Danny Brown's section of Frankie Sinatra and in Biz Markie's sections of The Noisy Eater.

The second vocals were from US singer Eliza Wolfgramm (of The Wolfgramm Singers) who offered her voice to the sections of the songs where normally songs are sampled from vinyl by the band.

North Byron Parklands audiences were the only ones to enjoy the set, as The Avalanches pulled their gig from Triple J's live broadcast on radio just a couple of hours before the show.

The result was surprisingly funky and interesting, giving The Avalanches the confirmation that their new album, Wildflower, has a brand new life on stage.

The night of rock

What can we say about a band that does everything by the book?

Julian Casablancas and the rest of the band offered a set that mixed old hits (Last Night) with new ones (Reptilia) in a show that was effortless and well received by adoring fans.

Another band who owned the main stage of the festival was Indie rock stars The Kills, with Alisson Mosshart sporting a furious red mane and an attitude on stage to match her new hairdo.

Crowds gather at the Amphitheatre to enjoy The Avalanches.
Crowds gather at the Amphitheatre to enjoy The Avalanches. Javier Encalada

Although the crowds got a bit rowdy and some revelers had to be assisted to get out of the front rows before the set started, Violent Soho offered a show that confirmed the band's 11 years in music have not been in vain, and their latest release, WACO, is a great follow up to their last three releases.

Splendour in the Sunshine

A complete opposite to last year's deluge, the open skyes and mid-20s temperatures in Byron Bay gave Splendour punters the perfect playground to have lots of fun.

First there was the Colour Party at the Majestic Marigold, where white became rainbow coloured and messy among Bollywood hits and a good serve of pakoras.

The mid-arvo set by MDAs was the perfect meeting point for a bit more than a hundred Pokemon Go hunters who were very disappointed to find out that there were no Pokemons on site to catch.

Friday, as the first day, is the day of fashion discoveries: who is wearing what and what is trending.

The biggest trend that started last year but has become much more common to see worn by Splendour crowds are see through tops (in black or creme, mostly) with no bras and only a cross of gaffer tape covering the nipples.

Saturday highlights

Today's headliners are, of course, The Cure.

The American band has a mammoth three-hour set closing the Amphitheatre from 9pm.

The question is: are we going to see groups of 40-something goth fans in black clothes, dark hair and make up attending the gigs as it has seen the trend in the US during recent The Cure shows?

The main thing about Saturday is to survive it. This is particularly significant for those over 40 years of age that venture into Splendour. It's possible but it will hurt.

Read our over-40s survival guide to Splendour here.

Other highlights are:

  • PLTS (Byron Bay band) - Amphitheatre - 12pm
  • Ngaiire (former Lismore resident) - Mix Up Stage - 12.30pm
  • Montaigne - GW McLennan Tent - 12.30pm
  • In Loving memory of Szymon - GW McLennan Tent - 1.45pm
  • Sticky Fingers - Amphitheatre - 6pm
  • Will Anderson and Friends (comedy) - The Forum - 5pm
  • Matt Corby - GW McLennan Tent - 10pm
  • Santigold - Mix Up Stage - 10.30pm
  • Bustamento - World Stage - 12am

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