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Review - Good Vibrations 2008 - Perth

Author: Brett Dias
Thursday, 21 February 2008
Sunday 17 February on Heirisson Island in the centre of Perth felt like Schoolies Week. The nature reserve played host to Good Vibrations for the day as stages, bars, shops and carnie food stalls were thrown onto the dusty tracks that weave through the small island.

Any regular summer festival goer knows that the best way to start the day is by hydrating as much as possible before tucking into a few drinks, or any other treats for that matter. As I stood under a tree sipping on complimentary ice tea, I wondered how many of the younger ones were going to make it - by three o'clock, it seemed that many of them were already on their way to creating their own good vibrations, but it's common knowledge that what goes up must come down and by four, it seemed the same kids had done just that, which is a shame because they missed out on some great music.

Bag Raiders played in the Bacardi-sponsored tent that was decked out as an almost elegant pseudo ballroom and they packed the marquee with thumping house beats.

Thievery Corporation took to the main stage with a huge band and set the mood with tropical sounds. As they switched vocalists the sound went from an ethnic feel with sitar guitar, bongo drums and a lead vocalist in saris to trumpets and Brazilian beats. The sultry music sampled James Brown's hit 'Get up' and the set included 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' (co-written with David Byrne). The large band was in top form and remained in sync with each other for their entire performance.

Local act DJ Zeke tore up the Roots Stage with electro infused hip-hop. Samples that worked well included 'We Are Your Friends' by Justice Vs. Simian. He remixed drum n Base while scratching over the top as the crowd responded by cheering enthusiastically.

Californian hip-hopper Pigeon John was an interesting act with an old-school start that made way to hip hop with strong rap lyrics that had a clean sound. Apart from the word 'nigga', there wasn't any cussing from Pigeon's set, akin to the messages Coolio might rap about. 'Identity Crisis' was dedicated to girls who used to diss him and 'Freak Freak' was dedicated to 'all the beautiful ladies in Perth'.

Scottish act Calvin Harris put on a commanding performance. The live set included 'Acceptable in the '80s', to the delight of the audience, 'Colours', which featured a great sample of 'Fade to Grey' and 'Merrymaking at my House' In between impressive, MCing, Calvin Harris exclaimed 'You can tell we're Scottish, we're wearing jeans in this weather! This is the hottest weather I've ever experienced in my life, someone on stage is going to die!' Lucky thing, then, that Cyclone Nicholas had torn through Broome days earlier which bought the temperature down a great deal, otherwise that just might have happened.

It was at this point that many people in the crowd became noticeably worse for wear and as The Rapture took the stage to play their '80s-inspired guitar, heavy electro-pop fights broke out as 'I'm Coming Over' and 'Don Don't do It' rang through the main stage. Security tore through the crowds, shirts were ripped, blood poured from noses and people were hurt. You have to wonder if the people who get themselves into this mess think it's worth forking out $130 to get into fights, kill everyone's buzz and get themselves thrown out.

No matter, if imitation is the best form of flattery then judging by the style of shutter-like glasses on every second 18-year-old boy, everyone was there to see Kanye West. Predictably enough, chaos reigned as he took to the stage and performed hits including 'Stronger' and new hit 'Flashing Lights'.

It ended on a dusty note, from the storm danced up, and the nature reserve may never be the same again but apart from minor inconveniences most of us left that night happy with our good vibes.