DOWN ON THE FARM. Buckleys Paddock, Balnarring. Sat 30-11-13.


Down On The FarmWords Anthony Moore
Live footage Carbie.

When most music events are trying to become bigger and better, sometimes all you need to do is set something up in your own backyard. That’s exactly what happened when three friends decided to create a day that was as much about their local community, their families and their friends as it was about the music.

Down On The Farm was an all-day gathering on a farm in Balnarring on the Mornington peninsula. The purpose of the day was about having iconic Aussie bands in a rural setting with room to move; a big fire, friendly locals and chilled visitors all having an awesome time. The word of mouth invitation spread and around 250 people turned up to share in the fun as well as all the bands and volunteers involved.

The stellar band line up of Cosmic Psychos, Tumbleweed, The Meanies, Money For Rope, Sun God Replica, The Pretty Littles and Tub O Vas is impressive and the amenities as good as you’d find anywhere; full stage rig, sound tent, DJ, food, portaloo’s and even their own Down On The Farm shirts!

As locals Tub ‘O’ Vas kicked the festivities off on stage with a sense of humour and drive to get things going, families wheeled in esky’s through the trees and into the paddock in front of the stage.

The enthusiasm continued with The Pretty Littles as friends danced around together on the grass letting themselves go with the music. The band has such a great vibe, a bit of a UK ‘90s feel with some fuzzy punk and scratchy vocals.

Sun God Replica were up next and are an extremely underrated band. It really becomes apparent when you’re listening to them outside in open space and their sound is allowed to breath. A mixture of ‘60s psych, some garage and even some Sgt Peppers thrown in by way of awesome song writing.

The day was really in full swing by the time the twin kit attack of Money For Rope took over. They have so much punch and groove, the perfect party band. It felt like we were in the middle of a Summer Coke ad, band members threw off their winter shackles and got rid of their shirts, people danced and cheered. I was waiting for Richie Benaud’s voice to come over the top as we headed back to the cricket.

When people talk about rock royalty in Australia bands like AC/DC and Rose Tattoo come up in conversation pretty regularly. Ask those standing in front of the stage and the next three bands are sitting right there at the top and none more so than Cosmic Psychos.

Everyone agreed with singer / bassist Ross Knight that it was “a nice day to have a beer, have a beer” and moved closer to the stage. The Psychos are for me the original Aussie bottom feeding bass driven rockers. It was like a massive collective flannie had been thrown over the crowd and everyone went a crazy and splashed beer around. Now I don’t want to ruin the blokes you can trust vibe here but is it just me or does Ross Knight sound a little sexy when he’s singing Lost Cause?

The bonfire was lit and roared up into the evening as Gum trees as tall as the sky bordered the festivities and MC5 kicked out the summertime jams between bands.

It was darker as The Meanies took to the stage and ripped through a set of classics with the odd gravitational impediment for Link thrown in for good measure. Although they take the piss out of themselves with bassist Wally stating “Ahh we’ve still got it”, if you shut your eyes it feels like 1991 all over again. Songs like ‘Gangrenous’, ‘Dr Seuss’, ‘Lyin’ and ‘10% Weird’ are always crowd favourites, but whenever the Meanies rip into their cover of the Bored! classic ‘Feed The Dog’, everyone goes nuts.

Straight away the Tumbleweed sound was noticeably different as it wasn’t their usual sound guy, but I really liked it. You could hear Lenny Curley and Paul Hausmeister’s guitar a lot more and each note and bend they were playing instead of the sometimes mountain moving wall of sound that can hit you hard from the first strum. Don’t get me wrong, I dig being belted over by that wall, but it was a different Weed tonight. Richie Lewis’ vocals were up higher in the mix and Steve O’Brien’s snare and tom’s really exploded out from the kit.

As Richie sang out “You can’t bring me down…” I looked up at the stars blanketing us in the clear night sky, what an amazing day. It was so well put together and run by some amazing friends all volunteering their time so their community could all come out and have a great family day. The sound was excellent and the vibe was what every event should work toward being, friendly, fun and completely hassle free. It’s definitely made me consider moving down to the Mornington Peninsula.

Tumbleweed’s newer tracks like ‘Good And Evil’, ‘Like A Night Owl’ and the first single ‘Mountain’ from their new album Sounds From The Other Side sit so well amongst the older classics. The band sound refreshed injecting some new tracks into their set list.

The perfect end to an awesome day was when Weed came back out for an encore and played ‘Mr Pharmacist’ (The Other Half cover), ‘Sundial’ and ‘Rainbow Waterwillow’.

Down On The Farm are looking to come back next year and turn this into a festival. We can only hope they do as this day goes down as easily one of the best music events this punter has even been to!