Splendour in the Grass: Day 2 Recap

Niamh Elliott-Brennan and Matthew Forbes flash back to Saturday, when bluer skies allowed the festival to officially kick off.

It goes without saying that the second day of Splendour in the Grass 2022 was a whole lot better than the first. Despite the mud sticking around (quite literally), making dashing from one stage to the other even more taxing than it would be normally, the fact that live music could go ahead in any capacity was a massive relief. Almost all the performers made sure to hammer home how grateful they were that the weather held up and that audiences made their way through the squelchy grounds to see them. It was a tiresome but fulfilling day, and Niamh and Matt have some highlights to share. 

Here comes the sun (kinda)

In an exciting turn of events, blue sky and sunshine made their first appearance for the weekend early on in the day, and stuck around for some time. After the Day 1 that wasn’t, the change in weather felt like a symbolic display of everyone’s renewed spirits. Canadian punk rockers PUP joked that they “brought the sunshine” for their set at the Amphitheatre, which saw (presumably) the first circle pit of the festival. 

Unfortunately, the rain did rear its ugly head again when night fell. At one point, strong winds began blowing water into the Mixup Stage, where liquid mud was already the norm. Still, this did little to squander the energy of the crowds, especially for JPEGMAFIA. His performance was characteristically animated, as he flailed around the stage and screamed almost every word of his songs. Dressed in all white against the hellish all-red lighting behind him, his angelic appearance matched a truly godly set. 

Run for cover(s)

As they were potentially faced with audiences that may not have been hugely familiar with their music, many an artist took to performing covers during their sets on Day 2, resulting in some wholesome singalongs. Stella Donnelly ended up busting out two covers: Time After Time, performed as a heart-warming duet with her brother, and Love Is In the Air, which she performed for Triple J’s Like A Version back in 2020. 

Other highlights included JPEGMAFIA’s acapella cover of Call Me Maybe, The Chats’ raucous take on ‘I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night’, and Cosmo’s Midnight weaving ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ into one of their own songs.

We’ve come a long way from where we began

For many artists, Splendour 2022 was an exciting and fresh opportunity to showcase their rising talent. But for others, it marked a bittersweet goodbye. Five-time Splendour veterans Violent Soho delivered a fantastically chaotic, punk, and energetic set for what is one of the last times in the foreseeable future, as they announced their indefinite hiatus to many grieving fans. ‘Covered in Chrome’ was met with a chorus of mournful “hell f*ck yeahs” and the strong stench of weed as they closed out their show, and we bid goodbye to a luminary of the Australian grunge scene. 

In less depressing news, Ruby Fields completely packed then shredded the GW McLennon Tent in her second ever Splendour performance. Her stage presence was an insanely dynamic driving force, not to mention her raw and powerful vocals that slice open your heart, especially during ‘I Want’. But the highlight of her set was ‘Bruises’. After opening up about an abusive relationship she was in, she made an excrutiatingly poignant statement about abortion rights – “if I hadn’t had the ability to choose not to have that monster’s baby, I wouldn’t be here today. We can never stop talking about this.” The performance that followed was visceral, fierce, and f*cking fantastic.

And last but not least, Splendour first-timers The Regime delivered an infectiously joyous performance on the World Stage with their experimental funk-soul grooves. All members of the 22-piece ensemble were rambunctious and energetic, the gigantic grins never leaving their faces as they cried “I’ve never been so horny!” and broke it down while playing the sax and semi-stripping. (If this sounds like something you’d be into, they’re based in Sydney…)

Look at these photographs

Crowd participation is always one of the more fun aspects of live music, and Day 2’s acts did not disappoint on this front. The Jungle Giants’ set – which took place on the 1 year anniversary of their album Love Signs – was particularly participatory, no doubt in part due to frontman Sam Hales’ infectious enthusiasm. He led the audience through a chanted refrain during ‘Something Got Between Us’, but the band’s most creative interaction came in the form of a bunch of cameras they threw out to various members of the crowd. What the photos these lucky people took will be used for, and whether or not they got the cameras back, remains to be seen.

The way you move

If some of the performers from Day 2 were to hypothetically fail as musicians for some reason, they’d have a solid back-up career in dancing. Friends of the station The Lazy Eyes gave a masterclass in co-ordinated kicking and hair tossing as they performed for an encouragingly large crowd at the GW McLennan tent. The Regime tore up the World Stage showcasing their funky disco moves, with a special shout-out to keyboardist Kurt Lam who sprinted across the stage to flaunt his enviable self-taught popping skills. But SURG’s Dancer of the Day (we’re making it a thing) has to go to SAYAH, the live vocalist for Cosmo’s Midnight. She was an absolutely magnetic presence during the group’s evening set, effortlessly busting moves while singing her heart out the entire time. 

I guess this is growing up

It may have just been because of the unsurprising youthfulness of the festival (bar all the parents who had to buy tickets last minute to accompany their children), but with some acts, you have to wonder if they may have been too old for this shit. Tim Minchin’s performance was certainly sprightly, as evidenced by his lack of footwear and piano-standing antics. However, his brief rant about cancel culture (“public shaming”, as he called it), which included comments about progressives “gaslighting” people into thinking that it doesn’t exist, felt a tad out of touch, and may not have been all that agreeable for the crowd that night. 

Similarly, the age divide during The Strokes’ set was palpable. Returning as a Splendour headliner for a 3rd time, they played with the tightness of a band that’s been around for nearly 25 years. But it was hard to ignore how lethargic their performance felt, largely stemming from frontman Julian Casabalancas’ disinterested crooning, which probably seemed a whole lot cooler back in the day – maybe with a pair of sunglasses it would have worked. He didn’t help his case with his worryingly unintelligible bits of banter between songs. Watching from afar, you could instantly tell that the main part of the Amphitheatre crowd was far more excited for and engaged with Glass Animals, who, if it weren’t for The Strokes’ legacy, may have made for a more fitting headlining act.

Mmmm, whatcha say? (Part 2)

Though the chaos of Day 1 yielded some fantastic quotables, Day 2 was no less filled with entertaining and intriguing one-liners – this time from performers as well. Here are some of our faves:

You guys sure about this circle pit for the next song? It’s a pretty mellow one.” – Stefan Babcock of PUP, upon seeing a pit opening up in the crowd. Mellow or not, the song stirred up a mosh.

Shoutout to all the c**t mums out there.” – Stella Donnelly. Not much else to say.

“Play the Snoop Dogg Menulog song you bunch of f**kboys.– A very persistent audience member during The Jungle Giants’ set, who would have left sorely disappointed.

This is like the best moment of my entire f**king life.” The Jungle Giants’ Sam Hales. Laugh it up, Sam, the poor guy who just wanted the Snoop Dogg Menulog song can’t say the same. 

“You’re not gonna be the only ones down in the mud – show the f*ck up!” – Triple One as they jumped into the mud mid-rap in a show of solidarity with their fans.

Have you checked your butthole?” – A patron singing Tom Cardy’s Hottest 100-charting song ‘H.Y.C.Y.BH’ as he made his way out of the festival. He was met with the customary “Ski-dap, ba-dap, butthole” from surrounding people.

You mean I came to Australia to get peer pressured?” – Jack Harlow, after the crowd demanded he did a shoey.

“You’re all f*cking pigs in the mud. Pigs in the mud!” – The audience being referred to affectionately and lovingly by several members of The Regime. 

Only two types of people… you guys who chose to walk up the hill through shin-deep mud to see this shitshow. And then there’s the c**ts at The Strokes.” – Tim Minchin, who later clarified he loved The Strokes.

Fuck The Strokes… who the fuck are they?” – Someone on their way to see Chillinit instead. Clearly, it wasn’t The Strokes’ night.

Though it ended with a 3-hour wait for a bus, Day 2 was a much-needed reminder of why we travel hundreds of kilometres and wade through mountains of mud: to see some killer live music. Stay tuned for our wrap-up of Day 3!

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