Saturday’s Sydney Good Vibrations Festival begun with a chance of thunderstorms, Ed Hardy bumbags, and an American friend ranting that “Australians just don’t get black music”. Within an hour the rain had more than broken, but the crowd – no matter how conspicuously attired – was on its way to proving one Yank’s opinion incorrect.
The first major international act for the day, Erykah Badu, bathed herself in pink light and gave beautiful renditions of lead hits such as On & On, it was her end-of-set anti-colonialism statements that received the biggest reactions (both good and bad) from the muggy crowd. Nicest moment of the day goes to a bunch of Aboriginal-flag wrapped fans who called Ms. Badu their inspiration.
Many next braved the rain for party favourites Rusko or the Ting Tings, but those who wanted to keep their tops on preferred safety under cover with another veteran act: Fat Freddy’s Drop. It’s a shame to report that the iconic Kiwi seven-piece gave a solid yet relatively forgettable performance. What they gave in ho-hum, however, the following act in the Roots Tent more than compensated for.
It’s hard to tell who the crowd was loving more: the The King of New York (Nas) or the son of a God (Damian Marley). But Marley managed to just outshine his diamond-encrusted partner. No doubt about it, though: Nas’ poppy 'If I Rule The World' was definitely the fuzziest crowd-pleaser of the day.
Punters’ heartbreak followed with the time-slot clash of Ludacris, Phoenix and Faithless. A bare-chested Maxi Jazz and a crooning Rollo made the last choice worth it. The day’s notably aggressive crowd (we personally witnessed two chicks draw blood over the toilet queue) calmed down and blissed out to surprisingly energetic renditions of 'Insomnia', 'God is a DJ', and the sublimely political 'I Want More'.
Words by Emilia Terzon. Photos by Life Without Andy.