After a difficult sleep, Oliver Tank was a welcome act on the Valley Stage to gently ease in the second full day of Falls, his chilled out sound was lovely and soothing to the ravaged heads still suffering from the previous evening. For those that either somehow had the energy or needed a boost, The Perch Creek Family Jugband brought a decent crowd into the Grand Theatre and got them jumping and dancing themselves awake to their unique brand of old-time bluegrass.

As Asta took to the main stage it seemed that the majority of punters were heading up to the Grand Theatre, crowding in for Gossling’s set and I wasn’t sure if perhaps they’d scheduled the wrong acts at the wrong stages. Never mind the crowd, Gossling’s performance was incredible and definitely deserved to be on the main stage. It seemed to be the fashion of the day though, the Valley Stage remaining oddly quiet with Hanni El Kabib and The John Steel Singers both drawing lacklustre crowds despite delivering great sets, although the latter did suffer from some poor sound in the earlier parts of their set and that certainly didn’t help.

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Violent Soho also seemed misplaced in the Grand Theatre, like Gossling before them they had packed a massive crowd into the tent and within the first 30 seconds they already had multiple crowd surfers and the beginnings of a circle pit. Things got even more intense as they kicked into their second song of the set ‘Love is a Heavy Word’. They absolutely killed it, hammering out one of the heaviest and best sets the Falls crowd would get to enjoy all weekend.

The first artist to bring a big crowd into the Valley was hometown favourite Chet Faker, whose chilled out tunes had a sea of fans swaying and singing along. His entire set was fantastic but I, along with the rest of the crowd, got a big kick out of 2012 single ‘I’m Into You’ which he played pretty early in the set while Chet himself got a kick out of seeing his face waved around on a stick by a fan. Everyone all but disappeared before Pond took the stage, their incredible psychedelic wizardry lost on all but a few fans keen to see Nick Allbrook and co.

The Valley Stage crowd remained surprisingly small for Falls veterans Grizzly Bear who failed to bring the same crowd they’d attracted a few years earlier, one of many indications of a shift in the audience. The majority of punters had actually headed up to the Grand Theatre for Rüfüs, packing it out yet again, and at the conclusion of their set a massive wave of people came flooding out from the marquee walls and then, bizarrely, headed back to their campsites, oblivious to the fantastic international band gracing the main stage. Not many remained at the smaller stage for Hiatus Kaiyote either despite their captivating performance, their recent Grammy nomination clearly not converting into hype.

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Honorary Melbournian Neil Finn was probably the biggest surprise of the day, not necessarily in bringing a crowd together (a crowd whose parents were most likely fans of Split Enz or Crowded House) but in his exceptional delivery of a pretty perfect festival set. His son Liam on guitar was an excellent addition to the band, his antics during set opener ‘History Never Repeats’ injecting a lot of fire to the stage and his interactions with Neil created an amazing synergy between the two Finns. The crowd were eager to sing along and Neil provided them every opportunity, packing the setlist with classic Crowded House and Split Enz songs. A solo and acoustic performance of ‘Better Be Home Soon’ closed out, undeniably, the best set of Falls this year.

With such a high benchmark, Crystal Fighters had their work cut out for them but managed to deliver a great set and get the crowd dancing and warmed up for the night’s headliners, The Wombats. By the time the Liverpool trio kicked off, the Valley Stage was full up of fans and, surprisingly, not just people waiting for that one obnoxious song. Throughout the set I couldn’t see a single person who wasn’t dancing, singing or both but, of course, when they closed with their breakthrough hit ‘Let’s Dance To Joy Division’ the entire ampitheatre went crazy.

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Quite a lot of people considered the night over and headed back to camp but a small and enthusiastic crowd chose to hang around and brave the cold for !!!’s 1am set and they were not disappointed. Their signature dance/punk music was definitely hot and frontman Nic Offer’s antics, and partial nudity, definitely made it worthwhile.

Wes Fahey

Full gallery of Falls Festival Day 2 here

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