Shrugging off unseasonably cool weather and an early soak from passing showers, thousands of music fans turned out on Saturday to welcome St Jerome’s Laneway Festival to its new home at Footscray Park.
Ruby Fields and G Flip weren’t fazed by their early time slots, warming up the growing crowds and earning plenty of new admirers along the way.
Yolngu rapper Baker Boy, freshly crowned as Young Australian of the Year, cranked up the energy levels with the solid support of his talented musical entourage.
Radiant indie rockers Middle Kids more than held their own on the side stage with a bevy of bounce-along hits like Edge of Town.
Rising singer-songwriter Clairo rolled out her deceptively catchy pop hits including Pretty Girl, while techno duo DJDS expertly twiddled their driving beats.
Those lucky enough to be wandering by the ‘Girls Rock’ stage tucked away near the pond were treated to a laid-back impromptu solo set by Courtney Barnett.
Scruffy Byron Bay garage surf outfit Skegss were clearly enjoying the attention, almost drowned out by the audience sing-along to hits including New York California.
Mitski changed the pace with her trademark idiosyncratic precision before fiercely independent Footscray locals Camp Cope delivered the day’s most pointedly political set.
Bronx rapper A Boogie wit da Hoodie showed the melodic flow that has him topping the charts back in the US, followed by tightly-strung Brooklyn post-punk outfit Parquet Courts.
The Smith Street Band’s blokey folk-punk was neatly offset by Courtney Barnett’s wry suburban tales as she quickly got in the swing of her main stage set.
What So Not delivered a pulsating and crowd-pleasing electronic dance party, as Denzel Curry blended menace and soul in his trap-tinged raps.
The biggest roar of the day was reserved for the arrival onstage of headliners Gang of Youths.
Frontman David Le’aupepe has a commanding stage presence, belting out emotion-soaked epics that show why the act has grown to become one of the biggest bands in the country.
British electronic wunderkind Jon Hopkins closed out the night on the side stage, weaving a well-received set of expansive and thumping beats, mingling light and dark to seamless effect.