Laneway's top 10 moments

Auckland turns up the heat for NZ's best festival

Last updated 10:31 29/01/2013

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St Jerome's Laneway Festival has stepped up and claimed its spot as New Zealand's music day in the sun, appeasing the music lovers who had giant Big Day Out-shaped holes in their hearts.

More than 20 bands including Aussie psych-rockers Tame Impala, Mercury Prize winners Alt J and British chanteuse Bat For Lashes took over three stages at Silo Park on Auckland's waterfront for almost 12 hours of rock, roll and raging.

With expanded boundaries, an extra stage inside a silo, and some of the hottest tickets in music today, the fourth annual Laneway Festival was quite the show-stopper.

However the extra shade promised by organisers still wasn't enough, with thousands of fans all vying for a spot under just a couple of gazebos in the unrelenting heat. It isn't healthy and it isn't fun, so let's hope next year is a little better.  

But once again, the folks behind Laneway Festival proved they know what it takes to create a crowd-pleasing line-up.



The Norwegion folk duo claimed that of all the Laneway bands, they had flown the furthest to get here, and their midday crowd seemed pretty happy they'd made the effort. Hilarious banter from Erlend Oye, who also created a circle in front of the stage and made his fans have dance battles.


The Cactus Cat stage hosted some of the more exciting acts of the day (Japandroids, The Men, Lawrence Arabia) but credit has to be given to the stage itself. Right on the water's edge, with a welcome patch of grass and a cool sea breeze, it was the best place to be during the day. A nice break from melting into the black tarmac of the main stages.


Officially the first local cab off the rank, Auckland four-piece Deer Park won themselves a few new fans after an impressive - if short - slot away from the main stages. As one person was overheard to say, you really don't see enough sax in live rock any more.


Before their mid-afternoon turn on the main stage, it's probably fair to say not a lot of people knew anything about American band Polica, except perhaps, their love of using auto-tune. But it was a different story after a solid 40-minute set surprisingly devoid of the production trick. Instead the vocal ability of pixie-like singer Channy Leaneagh was outstanding, creating a series of soul-stirring, blood-pumping moments.


While there was a bit of drama late in the day with Auckland Council forcing one of the event's bars to close down prompting a unhappy moans over social media, the queues of years gone by were non-existent. Perhaps it was the addition of extra drinking areas, or maybe the increase in food vendors, perhaps things were just getting into the groove with the location staying the same for the first time in the event's four-year history. Whatever the case, there was very little waiting around, and a lot more in-and-out. Just how it should be.

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She's gorgeous, she's versatile and she has a voice like Hollie Smith's, minus the often overwhelming intensity. Jessie Ware is a superstar - or at least she will be.  Described as a neo-soul, R&B dubstepper, Ware slipped and soared through her set, with the crowd strapped in for the ride.


A shout-out to the music lovers who had broken bones or injuries but were determined to come and got amongst it. The guy in the wheelchair with a cast up to his knee, the chick limping around in the moonboot, and the half-dozen people hobbling around on crutches. didn't look easy. Good effort.


Top marks to the Canadian rockers who played their absolute hearts out. It was loud, it was crazy, they were sweaty, they were exhausted. And the drummer drummed so hard at the end of the last song that his entire kit fell over. The promised to return to NZ, and we hope they do.


Is there a city more beautiful than Auckland at twilight? Sydney beat-maker Flume was rocking the Cactus Cat stage, New Yorkers Yeasayer were on the main stage, and all the party people were bathing in golden light.


When Kiwi artist Lawrence Arabia played in the early afternoon, the Laneway vibe had definitely arrived. All of a sudden the place felt busy, as the crowd surged towards the stage. We loved the international acts, but we loved the locals too. Here's hoping we made the New Zealanders playing at Laneway feel a bit spesh.  

* What was your favourite Laneway Festival moment? Comment below. 

- Auckland Now


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