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2002-12-10 - 9:06 p.m.

My day at Homebake, while it's still fresh in my mind...

Caught the train in with my sister, her friend, my cousin and her friend. We arrived sometime between midday and 12.30pm. I wouldn't have been there 5 minutes when I ran into Antz, who wanted me to to take photos of her and her friend with Richard Kingsmill (the God of Australian music journalism)- I subsequently lost the people I came with, but it was no big deal. The first act of the day for me was Shane Nicholson in the hopelessly overcrowded accoustic pavillion. I ran into Cindy and Fordie among others, who I saw a fair bit of in the course of the day. Shane Nicholson (Alex Lloyd's hands at last year's Homebake, ex- Pretty Violet Stain and friend of a few of my Melbourne buddies) was impressive, kinda like Alex himself when he was humble and relatively unknown.

Towards the end of the set Jane turned up with her friends Al and Kieran. I stuck with them for about 20 minutes, watching about half of Simon Day's set, including a brilliant and nostalgic accoustic rendition of the Ratcat classic "That Aint Bad", before I rejoined Cindy at Eskimo Joe. They were probably the highlight of last year's Homebake for me, rocking the smaller stage with song after song of beautifully crafted power pop and closing with a Split Enz cover- how can you go wrong with that? This year they seemed to lose something on the Mainstage, but they were still impressive and I could sing and bop along to 80% of the songs.

Back to the ridiculously crowded accoustic pavillion for probably this year's highlight- Darren Hanlon, accompanied by a drummer and bass player. He moved effortlessly from tender moments such as "Title Fight" and "He Misses You Too, You Know" (he's up there with Bernie Hayes when it comes to introducing songs by old or unofficial titles, he called it "Hello Stranger" after its opening line and the title of his album) to the quirky banjo classic "Falling Aeroplanes" to the rocking "Punk's Not Dead". But the highlight would have been the penultimate song, "Yes, There is a Slight Chance He Might Actually Fail", probably already my favourite with it's tale of trying to impress a girl and always being upstaged by the couple across the street- this one morphed into Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's hip hop classic "The Message", when he called out to the audience for a random genre (even if it was a set up it was brilliant).

Met back up with Jane outside and found time for lunch, before settling in to Pacifier followed by Machine Gun Fellatio, surrounded by the usual suspects. Both these bands I've enjoyed a lot more when they've done their own gigs, but some of the reactions I've heard particularly to the latter's set I thought were a bit harsh. Pinky Beecroft graced the stage with a very dodgy moustache, and virginal white wedding dress (or wedding midriff) and veil, The Loveshark gave The Sex Pistols a run for their money with an insane multicoloured punk hairstyle and, well KK Juggy was KK Juggy. The music? Uninspiring but I still sang along faithfully to "Unsent Letter", and my favourite part of seeing one of my pet bands at a festival is watching/ hearing/ feeling the crowd go off to the radio hits- I wasn't as disappointed as many of my friends.

Paul Kelly was an interesting one- I've seen him do an outdoor gig before, and a couple of his concerts, but rather than pepper his maturing adult-contemporary set with crowd pleasers such as "Before Too Long" and "Every Fucking City" he stuck to the straight and mellow- the highlight being my personal favourite "How To Make Gravy" which his played every time I've seen him, and usually reasonably close to Christmas.

You Am I were background music for dinner, which found Jane, Fordie and I reclining on the grass in the lengthening shadows- hearing but not really absorbing the charismatic Tim Rogers and his crew. He played some old favourites like "Good Morning" and "Cathy's Clown" but nothing that made me wish I was up and in it.

Then the other highlight for me, a rocking set from Grinspoon- mainly showcasing their phenomenal new album, but occasionally dipping into old classics "Just Ace", "Champion" and "More Than You Are". It was particularly impressive because usually by this time of night my attention span has waned and unless it is one of my favourite bands they fail to make an impact, but Grinspoon were a welcome exception.

Alex Lloyd on the other hand... I discovered Alex when Triple J picked up on his watershed "Lucky Star", and I saw him at the Wollongong Unibar when easily less than a hundred people were casually sitting on the floor appreciating his music. I lost him somewhere between there and the two extra guitarists, sprawling percussion and rock star ego. It was pretty similar to last year- what I stayed for- except that he had full use of his arms. He hasn't released anything new since then and he's still completely destroying "Something Special" as if he was Bob Dylan on MTV Unplugged.

I left with Jane after about 5 songs and caught up with Steve and Steph who were many drinks into a night at City RSL. We were hoping to catch up with Matt, a friend from the Entertainment Centre who- in a freakish case of small world syndrome- knows Jane, but he ended up not turning up. Stayed for about an hour and then went back to Jane's place.

And that was my Homebake. Sunday was a lazy day, slept in til about midday, very late breakfast in Leichardt, watched dodgy kids TV shows on Foxtel for a good few hours (Jane has a concerning obsession with the Powerpuff Girls), then got went home, and was in bed by about 10.30pm.


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