My playlists are now full of Royel Otis, Teenage Dads and Ball Park Music songs. Two weeks after Groovin the Moo, I still go back and look at the videos I took. For those who couldn’t go this time, fear not! Here comes your review so you know what to expect for next year’s festival.
I started my day with the head banging tunes of Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers. It’s always tough to play early in the day as the crowds are still warming up, but singer Anna Ryan poured themselves into the energy, and by the end of the set the audience were letting loose. My personal favourite was their strong feminine song ‘Girl Sports’. This was a song the audience knew well, with a call and response action being initiated by the band. With the final notes of guitarist Scarlett McKahey’s notes ringing in our ears, the band thanked their supportive audience and exited (no doubt to rehydrate).
I decided to let the crowd lead me. I followed the mass of people clad in cow outfits, glitter and 70’s-esque patterned clothes into the Moolin Rouge stage. This stage was covered by a large tarp, and it was definitely a lot squishier in here. Thankfully, the performing artists distracted the audience from getting too worried about how cosy it was in there. Enter Royel Otis. If I was asked to describe their songs in one sentence, without any hesitation, I would say: It’s like being on the way to the beach with the windows rolled down on a summer day vibe. This was my first-time hearing Royel Otis, but the catchy rhythms of their songs meant it wasn’t hard to get into it and have a good time. The artists pair their traditional instruments with a modern twist of synth, resulting in an unforgettable and energy lifting style. When their set finished, a large part of the crowd stayed put, waiting to hear the Teenage Dads.
Boy, it was worth the hot and crowded wait. Although I was treated to a view of the back of the girl in front of me for most of the performance, the music that blasted through the speakers made me feel like it was a personalised concert. Lead singer Jordan Finlay poured himself into his songs, notably when he closed his eyes and let the words take control. Their standout song for me was Hey Diego which got the crowd jumping and screaming the lyrics. Overall, if you like 70s inspired songs with a 90s mix – Teenage Dads would be your perfect band.
By this point in the day, I was ready to refuel! The food stalls offered a lot of variety; bao, burger, pizza, mozzarella sticks, but unfortunately, they were quite expensive. I ordered the three set of bao (pork, chicken and eggplant) which cost me $21 and for the size of them, it was not worth it. If I had a do-over, I would’ve followed suit of my friend who ordered the delectable and decent-sized chicken burger for $16.
We took our food to stand in the line to meet the Teenage Dads and we couldn’t recommend this enough! If you head to GTM in 2024, take a picture of the meet and greet times at the start of the day and ensure you’re around the tent to grab a ticket. After a short wait, you’ll get to meet the performers. If you choose to do a meet and greet, be prepared! Depending on the staff, you can either take a photo and get a signature, or be limited to just one. Luckily for us, we got both.
With a signature and a photo in our phones, we headed off to the pumping tunes of The Chats. It was everything you’d expect their concert to be. People jumping, lyrics being shouted and fists pumping. Songs with a catchy and repetitive chorus – 6L GTR, Smoko, Pub Feed got the crowd in a wild and excited frenzy. While it was difficult to understand a word of what was being sung, the energy from the iconic trio radiated from the stage and the crowd got into it, singing with gusto.
With all the crowds, it was so important to have Confidence Man (bad joke, I know). With a futuristic soundtrack booming through the speakers accompanying the electric performers, I was glad to have seen it. My favourites were ‘Don’t You Know I’m in a Band’ and ‘Boyfriend (repeat)’ which had super cool choreography. Both songs embodied the groovy and sci-fi style of their songs while the singers, Sugar Bones and Janet Planet (seriously the best named performers of the festival), demonstrated their impressive vocal capacity. The cherry on top was the mysterious masked backing musicians who added the futuristic sound and strong beats needed to make it a truly unforgettable performance.
Nothing But Thieves delivered nothing but straight bangers! They’ve got a light rock inspired style, with a lot of their songs supported by strong guitar riffs. With their memorable melodies and powerful vocals, for many of the audience members, Nothing But Thieves were their favourite act.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see The Skeggs as I was in line to meet Amy Shark, but luckily the speakers were turned up! Their songs accompanied us while we waited, and we found ourselves head-banging in time. As opposed to the light rock style of Nothing But Thieves, The Skeggs are very rock. Not my personal favourite, but the crowd loved them!
After a short wait, we got to the front of the line for Amy Shark. The journalist in me kicked in and Amy and I chatted about her love for how Canberra is “always really fresh” as she’s used to the hot weather of Queensland. I asked her what she’s listening to on repeat. Answer? Any album by the band War on Drugs. She was super open and chatty – a down to earth star!
Unfortunately, at this point of the day you must make decisions about which artists you want to see and which ones you’ll have to miss. My friends and I made the decision to miss seeing Eliza Rose, Genesis Owusu, Luude, ALT-J and Fatboy Slim to see Ocean Alley, Amy Shark, Denzel Curry and Ball Park Music.
After the high energy from The Skeggs, listening to Ocean Alley gave the crowd some chilled energy. The crowd favourite was definitely ‘Confidence’ which saw people swaying and singing their lyrics. Their setlist also included their triple j Like a Version of ‘Baby Come Back’ which really got the audience going. After their final song, the lights dimmed, and they exited to cheers from their loving fans.
My friends and I expertly navigated our way out of the crowd near the end of Ocean Alley’s set, moving to the front of the adjacent stage for Amy Shark. I’ve always thought seeing Amy Shark live would be incredible. And I was right. Shark played banger after banger and the crowd adored her (pun intended). She sang most of her big hits, including ‘Mess Things Up’, ‘I Said Hi’, ’Adore’ and ‘Love Songs Ain’t for Us’. I can’t fully communicate the reactions during ‘Psycho’ when the one and only Gladiator himself – Russell Crowe came out! While the crowd was initially confused as to who he was, once the realisation hit, phones were whipped out to snap a photo. The end came far too quickly, and she left with rapturous applause.
The audience swarmed over to the other stage to see Denzel Curry’s high energy and intense performance. I personally am not a big Denzel Curry fan, but I could appreciate his style. In a lot of his songs, he created opportunities for a call and response which had the audience going off.
Ball Park Music was a standout due to the strong stage presence and lead singer, Sam Cromack’s powerful and hypnotic voice that put everyone in a feel-good mood. They played their hits, with my personal favourite being ‘Exactly How You Are’. The lighting changed based on the song’s mood and with very minimal dialogue between songs, the audience were loving it. Forever a crowd favourite, the band played ‘It’s Nice to be Alive’ and Toy Story’s ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ (after explaining they’d lost a bet with a fan and this was the prize). As the lights dimmed after their final song, the audience cheered one last time.
As the day ended, I spoke to a few of the volunteers who expressed how much they love the fun everyone has at these events and the good vibes that support the shows. Even if you don’t know all the artists of the line-up, I would highly recommend going along to experience new styles of music and to support Aussie and international artists. I can’t wait to move to the groove at GTM again next year!