Groovin’ The Moo 2018 proved that the future is indeed female

As the rain poured over the Maitland area heading into the packed Maitland Showground for GROOVIN THE MOO 2018, everyone’s ideas of just how this festival was going to pan out were a little cloudy. Yet, as BAKER BOY enchanted the crowd with his latest funk-ridden banger ‘Mr. La Di Da Di’, sunlight beamed through the grey and suddenly it became very clear just how much of a success the day would be.

Unusually, the general consensus is that the day belonged to those earlier acts. Musical up-and-comers dominated the main stage as if they’ve been doing it for as long as fellow lineup-resident PAUL KELLY has. Baker Boy bounced, WINSTON SURFSHIRT slinked (complete with onstage bartender), SKEGSS absolutely thrashed and OCEAN ALLEY inspired one of the days’ most booming sing-a-longs…at 1pm.

With all that being said, there was one thing that was apparent – this was a day belonging to the women. MALLRAT absolutely tore the Moolin Rouge stage down with her 12:30pm set, closing with her unrelenting banger ‘Uninvited’ that got the day well and truly started. VERA BLUE – with a fiery red dress and even fierier red hair – took the very same stage directly after, packed the tent out to the inch and gave the festival its first explosive moment – ‘Regular Touch’. These two women set a standard for energy, stage presence and electricity that, honestly, few acts on after them throughout the day managed to match.

Heading over to the main stages, two acts that did manage to match, if not surpass, Mallrat and Vera Blue’s presence were that of ALEX LAHEY and TKAY MAIDZA. Perhaps it’s the fact that neither of them are strangers to the festival circuit. Perhaps all the touring they’ve done overseas has prepped them for delivering the sets of the day. Or, perhaps they were quite simply born to perform.

Alex Lahey was up first, rocking a trusty flannel and a signature grin. Her energy bursted out of her and pummelled through each and every punter, as she rocked her way through one of 2017’s best albums, I Love You Like A Brother. By the time she got to her closing trifecta – ‘Every Day’s The Weekend’, ‘You Don’t Think You Like People Like Me’ and ‘I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself’ – all evidence that had been pouring down just hours before has disappeared. The sun was shining brightly down on all of us; as Lahey’s performance beamed from start to finish.

When Tkay Maidza took to the stage shortly after, we were in for a different kind of party. With the sobering reminder that Maidza has been in the game for five years, the crowd erupted when she performed her debut single ‘Brontosaurus.’ She started jumping, dancing and twerking from the opening moments of ‘Carry On’ and did not stop once until the closing moments of ‘Simulation.’ Not only that – with all her success – her humility and gratefulness was almost tangible, which is a sight seldom seen but always welcomed on a festival main stage.

What was surprising about the festival, however, was the almost ridiculous amount of covers that were performed across the day. There were two Outkast covers – Mallrat doing a toned down ‘Hey Ya’ and Winston Surfshirt doing a jazzed-out ‘Roses’. There was an absolute uppercut of a cover when PORTUGAL. THE MAN opened with their rendition of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’. Tkay Maidza almost seamlessly worked her own discography into a silky smooth version of Yaeji’s ‘Raingurl’. Finally, on the last set of the evening, FLIGHT FACILITIES – on a stage drenched in orange glow – gave us the comedown cover we all needed in Drake’s ‘Passionfruit’ with help from the heaven-sent vocals of RIC RUFIO. 

It should probably come as no surprise that Cattleyard – the same folk behind The Plot – would book some extremely talented women that were always destined to outshine everyone else. While gender diversity still was not as good as it could have, or should have, been, these women were relegated to earlier sets but still made sure they left the lasting impression. Pair that with marshalls like FUZZY and FLEXMAMI, who unashamedly got the crowd wild for songs by Carly Rae Jepsen and Nicki Minaj, and the unabashed confidence of LADY LESHURR, SAMPA THE GREAT and CONFIDENCE MAN’s Janet Planet – who rocked the best light-up, conical bra you’ve ever seen – and it’s almost painfully clear that the future is female. Buckle up or get out of the way, because these women are coming straight for the top.

Image by Melissa Wilson for Purple Sneakers

Words by JACKSON LANGFORD

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SEE ALSO

GALLERY: GROOVIN’ THE MOO MAITLAND
PURPLE SNEAKERS APPROVED: OUR UNMISSABLE ACTS PLAYING SPLENDOUR IN THE GRASS 2018
AN ALEX LAHEY CONCERT IS LIKE A WARM HUG YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED

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One time Lana Del Rey pinched Jackson on the bum and therefore he's qualified to write about music.