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Laneway Festival 2020 Review + Photos

Laneway Festival 2020 Review + Photos

UTR Review Team / Photography by Knucklehead and Ngamihi Pawa / Tuesday 28th January, 2020 2:16PM

Rocked by last minute lineup shakeups and breaking news of basketball legend Kobe Bryant's sudden passing, St. Jerome's Laneway Festival returned to Tāmaki Makaurau's leafy Albert Park on Monday, welcoming brand new additions to the bill Marlon Williams, Holly Herndon and SWIDT. Along with Laneway's diverse musical offerings, it was a doozy of a day for festival fashion watchers among the notably well-behaved crowd – sun-smart caps with the flaps on the back (aka flap caps or "mullet caps") and cowboy boots (despite the heat) looked to be trending for better or worse in 2020. Our army of reviewers were out in force to bring you their impressions on what went down on the day, while the hard-working photography team of Knucklehead and Ngamihi Pawa turned in stellar snaps of nearly every act, head over HERE to view their full image gallery of the festival. Not everyone made it through Laneway 2020 unscathed – read on for the full low-down...

Rotunda Stage, 12:05pm

Adding three to the count of indie heart-throbs from Aotearoa are the ever-evolving Mermaidens from Pōneke. Appropriately dressed in cool, under-the-sea coloured outfits, they started the day off flawlessly, performing to a modest, but attentive crowd. They have that classic, confidently aloof stage presence that our indie scene seems to go wild for. I have always enjoyed the songwriting of Mermaidens. They have a beautiful way of combining piercing guitar, atypical rhythmic patterns and close vocal harmonies with melodies that balance being haunting and catchy like nothing else I've heard. Their overall playing has improved markedly since I first saw them a few years ago in Pōneke, and their bass player (Lily West) is now a particular favourite for me. A band that is easy to be drawn into, the surprisingly complex guitar music of Mermaidens, with their droney, moany, siren-like vocals made for a perfect start to the day. SIOBHAN LEILANI

Soaked Oats
Princes St. Stage, 12:15pm

What do I think of Soaked Oats? Well in my mind they’re at the forefront of what I refer to as the Lad Rock movement: y’know, like Dad Rock, but with more shoeies, potential couch burning, and a loose association with Otago University. Along with acts like Mako Road and Marlin’s Dreaming these characters have provided the soundtrack for Uni students’ shenanigans over the country for the last length of a degree or two. Their brand of '10s indie jangle coupled with added moody atmospherics doesn’t really speak to me personally and often conjures thoughts of “default” and, if I'm feeling particularly moody perhaps even “lowest common denominator.” But they do what they do and they do it well, and one can absolutely not fault someone else for setting a target and hitting it. And hit it they did: their set was tight and filled with the tracks that the youth know and love them for. Arriving at Albert Park early, the crowd began the day-long ritual of alternating between indulging in a solid boogie and relishing whatever shade was available. Considering the time of day, and their young audience’s inclination to pre-loading, they pulled pretty well. Perhaps I’m just salty at them for naming their EP Sludge Pop when it's apparent that they hadn’t listened to Sludge Metal pioneers (and recent visitors to our shores) EyehategodFLUFFY

Rangers Stage, 12:35pm

Was it the midday sunscreen sweat dripping into my eyes or is Col3trane the sweet child of Drake and Frank Ocean? He brought a down to earth-ness to his banging set and was grateful for the crowd coming early and being out in that blistering sun! He mentioned the death of Kobe Bryant had hit him really hard and that he needed to give his all to the set, and he and the crowd did! He wore a lovely silky shirt that flowed nicely in the wind and his signature move was peaking through his shades at people filming, but not creepily. His band was mainly backing track, but there was also a massive rig for the keyboardist and bass / guitarist who were great hype, but had to squeeze my ears to hear what they were adding in most songs. The crowd loved it and the highlights were definitely 'Malibu Sing', 'Tyler' (sick bass line actually played live) and 'Penelope' to close, where Col3trane was on the singing side of this rap/sing genre, lovely tone, nice vibe - great set. Brigham from Palmy gave it 8.7/10. PRIYA SAMI

Rotunda Stage, 1:15pm

Green lizardy neo soul goddess! The brows, the brows, the brows! Green brows. Started the set with 'Natural Woman' - it’s so good to hear an amazing incredible voice be so effortless she reminded me of Lauryn Hill - sounding on the brink of break but never breaking. Her band was toooight, my favourite was the big brother looking guitarist in a cheesecutter, and there was some incredible bass face. She had a really great dedicated crowd and honestly just smashed my ears out of the park. My highlight was her getting the crowd to shout “Fuck You” through the chorus, and the singalong in 'OG Luv Kush' - “I feel like I’m your mama!” a real favourite! She finished with 'Miss Shiney' which was mwah mwah mwah and to top it all off thanked the audience - picked up her green handbag and left the stage. Legend. Her band jazzed out for a big finish and the drummer showed his chops dropping a stick and playing with one. High fashion, brilliant players, incredible KAIIT. PRIYA SAMI

Omar Apollo
Princes St. Stage, 1:25pm

It was already roasting hot when Omar Apollo took to the Princes St stage, so I found my favourite tree to sit under and vibe out to what I was expecting to be a set of frictionless soul-pop, along with the parade of summer festy fashions. There was way less chilling and much more dancing than I anticipated from the streaming superstar – born to Mexican parents, the youthful US artist reportedly plays to huge crowds of devoted fans on the West Coast. Kicking off in a psych-rock mode before swerving immediately into funk jams, Apollo was loving the early afternoon festival slot, busting out high kicks and hitting high notes from the word go. Extended twin guitar solos were enjoyably ridiculous, grooves which sounded a bit bland on my laptop took on new life with a bit of live oomph behind them. Clad in a white mesh shirt and what looked like black cargo pants, Apollo was admirably ready and willing to bring the SHOW – leaning hard into the schmaltzy elements of his unabashedly earnest tunes and dialling up the fun. CHRIS CUDBY

Puma Blockparty Stage, 1:30pm

TAPES hails from Estonia, which means he had to fly here to perform. He was planning on doing a live set (which I hear is amazing) but unfortunately the airline managed somehow to divert his gear, subsequently leaving him gear-less and set-less. However, TAPES seems to be a creature of resilience as he rose to the task of his early set (already a tall order; they can go either way), choosing to improvise a selection of lush sounds ranging from dub to house with all kinds of wobbly noise in between, rather than accept defeat at fate's needlessly cruel turn. And it was pretty much as good as you can expect an early set to be – weaving into the early afternoon the ambience of a club at two in the morning when your booster's just cleansed your system of every worry and you're otherwise baptised in sweat. Swaying dreamily and thinking about nothing in particular except how hungry you are and how you're horny but not enough to pursue sex over the prospect of a late night kebab. SAMUEL TE KANI

Stella Donnelly
Rangers Stage, 1:55pm

Stella Donnelly's Beware of The Dogs was my favourite album of 2019 and I wasn’t alone. NME gave Donnelly ‘Best Australian Artist’ at their 2020 awards. She was Triple J Unearthed Artist of The Year and she has been selling out shows across Europe and the USA. Stella was one of the artists on the lineup that truly fit in with what Laneway used to be; a festival that highlighted the best of the up and coming in the alternative music scene. I saw her performing solo in the opening slot for Maggie Rogers back in June last year. Stella captivated the crowd (most of whom didn’t have a clue who she was) with her endearing attitude, quirky charisma and hilarious commentary. It has only been seven months since then, but I was still extremely excited to catch her again on one of my favourite days of the year. She began her set alone; but it wasn’t long until Donnelly was joined on stage by her band, which instantly created a higher energy feel. Understandably the band was extremely well rehearsed but at no point did it seem like they were bored; in fact it felt like they were extremely excited to get back on the stage. They danced jokingly around each other, sharing smiles with the audience and constantly swapping instruments and positions all while Donnelly belted out a round of tongue in cheek lyrics. It was 45 minutes of pure joy; refreshingly fun and engaging. The set peaked at ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ a story of a friend who confided in Stella after being a victim of sexual assault. Definitely the most powerful song I witnessed throughout the whole day with not a dry eye in sight. HUNTER KEANE

The Chats
Princes St. Stage, 2:40pm

The Chats are easily one of the greatest, least pretentious band to come out of Terra Australis in the last decade or more. Obvious protégés to the off-the-cuff punk antics of the Cosmic Psychos, they execute their tunes with a deadly precious and a fearless stiff upper lip. Did the crowd lose their mind for their viral hit ‘Smoko’? Of course! How could one expect anything else? Sadly lead vocalist and bass player Eamon Sandwith’s cultural zeitgeist banger ‘I Hope Scott’s House Burns Down’ didn’t rear its narratively adept head, but we were treated to fresh tune ‘The Clap’ (which is funnily enough about contracting an STI), which served as a timely warning to the day’s beer-fueled, sun-drenched shenanigans. I doubt it needs to be said, but their performance was the envoy of top-tier international acts for the day and the first group to incite finger wiggling and grog-sculling; a modern classic that will hopefully endure into the climate-change riddled years to come. FLUFFY

Rotunda Stage, 2:40pm

The sun is blazing hot as a party-ready crowd both run and do that dance walk their way to Tik Tok superstar BBNO$ (or Baby No Money if you struggle with txt language). They are greeted with the beanie clad Vancouver born rapper holding up a recipe book promising to give it out as a prize, the crowd is going wild for it. What follows is what you expect from a superstar of the internet, short blasts of pop bangers interjected with all the classics of crowd work ("let's see which side can make the most noooise") all delivered with slight irreverence from a guy whose only goal is to create and sustain a party vibe. And judging from the exasperated guard who is constantly shooing dancers off the benches, he bloody succeeded. It all culminates in a perfectly executed Rick Roll before launching into his biggest hit yet and a five minute run through of the funniest bangers of school discos past, leaving the sound of Crazy Frog ringing out and a cook book in to the hand of one lucky raver. One 30 year old exclaims "This guy is gonna be a STAR," but to everyone under 25, he already is. HAMISH PARKINSON

Allysha Joy
Puma Blockparty Stage, 2:45pm

It’s a cruel slot to be placed next to the gods of bogan punk The Chats, but Allysha Joy’s cooling vocals and earthly beats were a welcome cleanse from the heat of the afternoon. Tapping into liquid synth keys in a pulsing, mellow set, the cool waves of energy gave for a uniquely grounding performance amongst a festival of big names. Her Badu-influenced vocals draw from a lineage of neo-soul sounds, with evocative and poetic verse that is carried over the warm shaded breeze of the oak trees that shelter the Blockparty stage. Experimenting with jazz modes and synth beats in a set that comes from the core of a unique feminine perspective, Joy’s set is as grounding as it is transcendent. She, like many Australian artists at the festival, acknowledged tangata whenua and thanked her audience for treading lightly as we moved through a soothing and soulful earthy connection through her sound. ALI NICHOLLS

Hockey Dad
Rangers Stage, 3:25pm

Hockey Dad literally squealed onto the Rangers stage not long after 3pm, following a loud 20 seconds of BBQ reggae over the speakers that worked a treat for getting the crowd up on their feet. Very professionally, I’d found myself a spot by a tree a good 20 minutes before the set, but underestimated how far the crowd would spread and was elbowed up into the aforementioned tree. Perched on a branch (very gracefully), I had a clear vista of the New South Wales surf-rockers, tanned, shaggy-haired and beaming. A few songs in, singer and absolute belter Zach Stephenson came out with “make sure you’re drinking some water or something out there it’s so fucking hot”, as the band took turns swigging from a bottle of refreshing red wine. Perhaps a shiraz! The three were a thrill to watch, simultaneously keeping up a super tight set and infecting the entire audience with the pure glee plastered across their faces. Musicians clearly having a blast on stage is my favourite thing, and the sea of bucket hats and shoulder surfers were what I can only describe as ‘vibing’ beneath a low cloud of vape, smoke machine and clove cigarette fog. Loved it. ANNABEL KEAN

Puma Blockparty Stage, 3:45pm

The entrance to the Puma Street Party Stage is flanked by two massive inflatable sneakers. I'm not really sure what to expect from eleven7four, a couple of twins making trap out of East Auckland. Honestly, I think a bunch of the crowd are just here for the shade. As soon as they take to the stage though, the whole energy changes. They open with 'C-note' and they're all over the stage, getting into the crowd, bouncing off each other. Pretty soon the DJ's out from behind the booth, there's like three special guests, dudes are just filming the audience on their phones, it's going off. It's like that early 2000s party rap, real filthy but with a cheeky wholesome wink. "We can 68 til you owe me one." If embarrassing audience dancing is any indicator of quality (and it is) then eleven7four are pretty damn good. AMELIA BERRY

The Beths
Princes St. Stage, 3:55pm

The Beths smashed that main stage! You know a band's made it in NZ when the crowd is jock dudes singing along to every word! I feel like I should be reviewing the crowd and The Beths – it didn’t feel like they were seperate. Obviously The Beths have been touring a lot and were a bit nervous having not played in six weeks but mate, that muscle memory kicked in and they spat out a polished and exhilarating performance. The songs are so good and it was such a great set to get amongst the festy vibes and welcomed everyone to jump and move, and it was beautiful seeing the crowd so IN it. Liz’s banter was low key and to the point which was charming “Ah hi, were from Auckland, NZ” and the audience loved it – the band was tight and the harmonies just pure mwah. Lead vocals started off a bit quiet but came through in the end. Highlights (so many): 'Happy Unhappy', 'Whatever', 'Little Death' and their new one 'Don’t Go Away' with the best backing vocals (ooh waa aaah) and the greatest homage to 2000s emo-ville for a breakdown. Finished high with 'Uptown Girl' and smacked it for six. Simply the Beths for realz. PRIYA SAMI

Rotunda Stage, 4:10pm

The bad boys from Stoneyhunga brought fresh energy and filthy bass to a crowd that was ready to drop it and let the beats do the body work. IllBaz on the decks (stepping in for SmokeyGotBeatz) was doing the good work of playing up the steady roll of SWIDT’s pounding beats with 90s New York hip hop influences, while the rest of the collective roamed around the stage amping up the crowd. The atmosphere feels a little confused initially, and there’s an attempt to initiate some kind of weird mosh / dance circle combination that falls flat. It takes the crowd, and the band, a couple of songs to get on the same wavelength. But once we are, SWIDT’s roaring sound seems just as at home here as it does on the VMA stage, or blaring from the speakers of a beat up Nissan hooning down a suburban street at 3am. It’s juicy, and the crowd digs right into that unexpected but oh-so welcome burst of local flavour. ALI NICHOLLS

Puma Blockparty Stage, 4:30pm

I don't think I've ever seen someone make Fendi pajamas look so cool. After a little stopping and starting from Half Queen on the decks, and a very cute "well this is a disaster!" from JessB, this otherwise flawless, mid afternoon set got people moving like nothing else I saw this Laneway. Something about JessB just makes me say, "Nevermind the arthritis in my spine! I'm gonna shake my ass!" and that, I did. And that is because nothing warms the cockles of my tiny, jaded heart like a queer woman of colour pushing for space for other people of colour. JessB's sound has really progressed into an effortless blend between dancehall, late-90s west coast rap and that quintessentially kiwi hip hop sound that we all know and love. All that with a hefty splash of confidence, some amazing backup dancers and a slick feature from Church from Church & AP, and you have JessB and her crew of too hot to approach, too nice to hate friends. My new definition of afternoon delight. SIOBHAN LEILANI

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Rangers Stage, 4:55pm

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets are part of a seemingly endless cavalcade of guitar-freakout-loving, summer-friendly psych-merchants to emerge from Australia, following the international success of Tame Impala and more recently King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard. Brand differentiation issues aside, we should probably savour the tsunami-like wave while it lasts. Last minute additions to the Laneway bill and playing their first ever show in Aotearoa, the Perth group took flight with an overdose of cranking bong-friendly grooves, searing solos and a smidge of heavy blues rock bubbling through the five-piece's twin guitar pyrotechnics. PPC's crowd-moving anthems and occasional mystical detours couldn't help draw comparison with headliners King Gizz – they even hung a lantern on it by declaring they were looking forward to seeing their fellow countrymen later that day. There was a moment where they started playing the hook from Lenny Kravitz's 'Are You Gonna Go My Way', which was either pretty weird or awesome, but for everyone who craved 100% maximum rawk for your buck, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets were your guys. CHRIS CUDBY

Puma Blockparty Stage, 5:00pm

FILTH has cultivated an important and era-defining voice in the Auckland club scene, hosting a place for the QPOC to thrive on the dance floor. Their parties are legendary, hosted by the iconic duo JessB and Half Queen and I was keen to see how the FILTH house rules – no discrimination of any kind – would apply at Laneway. Half Queen on the mic, yelled to the crowd 'shake ya asses Laneway!' enthusiastically seeking for every person there to shed their shyness. The mixing from DJ Zeki was seamless, and we were blessed with a guest performance from PollyHill. Half Queen jumped back on the decks afterward, and JessB joined her – their energy was infectious, and it was clear these two friends and seasoned performers knew how to pull out the most out of their audience. It was a triumph for FILTH, each artist calling out to their QPOC festival-goers throughout their set to say this is your home. FLO WILSON

Princes St. Stage, 5:10pm

Benee has been cropping up repeatedly in my feed lately, and seeing her at Laneway it became apparent my algorithms have been exhibiting uncharacteristic taste. I foolishly assumed she'd draw a petite crowd, but was blisteringly mistaken as my cavalier attitude meant me and my fellows were sidelined for what I could (only just) see and hear as an otherwise solid set of breezy pop tracks almost tailor made for the festival circuit. I was kinda getting a King Princess vibe maybe crossed with Billie Eilish and peppered with Lorde-ish naivety (meant in a good way). To be perfectly honest she is very very cool, I wish we had gone to the stage sooner and secured a spot more centre left of the stage, and I would also appreciate running into her around Auckland to thank her in person. Totally unrelated, but the crowd was young and abysmal. SAMUEL TE KANI

Rotunda Stage, 5:40pm

UK neo-soul star Mahalia is one of those performers who has mastered the art of making everyone watching feel like her new best friend. Shamefully, I was a terrible friend and missed the start of her set as I sat blissfully ignorant on a grassy knoll at Rangers Stage aka The Wrong Stage, before hearing one of my favourite track of hers ‘Simmer’ in the distance and thought, “Huh, weird that they’re playing her songs just before she’s on.” After an undignified dash to the Rotunda Stage, empanada and can of rosé in hand, I made it in time to catch her spilling the story of a jealous ex who called her, emailed her and eventually sent a handwritten letter, inspiring the song ‘He’s Mine’. Due to my tardiness, I was a way back from the stage amongst the sitter-downers, but Mahalia’s unfaltering voice and dance beats compelled even those of us without the safety of a mosh to stand up and dance. Not only a goddam powerhouse, the songwriter kept up some top quality dancing herself, busting out low-key choreo, tossing her long braids, and nailing the odd high kick. In the middle of her set my friend informed me that she’s only 21, which makes total sense given she was first signed to a major label at 13 – a fact both awe-inspiring and alarming. She wrapped up with hit ‘I Wish I Missed My Ex’, one of my top played songs of 2019, and had the entire crowd grooving under that sweet sweet dappled light. ANNABEL KEAN

Holly Herndon
Rangers Stage, 6:25pm

I am still reeling from Holly Herndon's set. Joined by three vocalists Colin Self, Albertine Sarges, Evelyn Saylor, and partner Mat Dryhurst on the laptop, this show was nothing short of a soaring, effervescent display of where music could be now, if we all dared to dream beyond what someone else's algorithm expects of us and what we could do if we were the programmers. It is rare to experience a live show which celebrates the possibilities of the avant-garde in equal measure which raucous performance. And to be honest, I was crying about three minutes into her first song 'Alienation'. The set also featured audience participation to help train Herndon's 'AI baby' SPAWN, a key collaborator in her latest album PROTO, followed by Colin, Albertine, and Evelyn singing 'A Frontier', with people jostling to the front to get a chance to hear them. This show was everything my soul needed going into the new decade. 10/10. FLO WILSON

Princes St. Stage, 6:25pm

Moving slightly to allow someone have their space for a vomit and sit is a reminder that everyone is ready to take a moment to settle. The extreme heat of the day starts to wane allowing some relief from the sun, the perfect setting for the shoulder waving dance that Ruel's brand of chill pop requires. Armed with a tight professional band clad in maul grey two pieces emblazoned with his name, a screen with his lyrics and two huge cubes advertising his latest EP, the artist saunters the stage to inflect as much energy as he can give. But Ruel's true power is his voice, electing multiple slow moving dancers to tell their friends that they love him. He speaks honestly in-between the songs, adding to the impression that he is an artist who is yearning to show you his true self. As I leave the vomiter is well hydrated and enjoying the bliss of the shade. HAMISH PARKINSON

Earl Sweatshirt
Rotunda Stage, 7:10pm

"I'm gonna rap at y'all for 45 minutes and then move on with my life," said LA based rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, to introduce his set after a kind of awkward, overdrawn play-in by his DJ. It was a deep dive into alternative rap with slow, dissonant tracks and absolutely no hooks. And honestly, it was exactly what I needed as the sun was setting and all the energy was leaving my body. Even though I wasn't particularly impressed with the skills of the DJ, the rapport between him and Earl – an obvious friendship – enhanced the experience a lot. I've wanted to see Earl Sweatshirt for years now. The fascination came after Odd Future released his mixtape Earl in early 2010 and he was sent to Samoa to attend a school for wayward teens by his mother – every Samoan kid's nightmare. The performance of this newer material, now 10 years down the line, explored even heavier, more personal themes such as Earl's struggles with mental health, but was still performed with a light-hearted "idgaf" attitude. Unfortunately, a lot of the crowd (apart from the die hards down front) seemed to want something more pumping at that time. To each their own, I guess. SIOBHAN LEILANI

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard
Princes St. Stage, 7:50pm

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are arguably the hardest working band in the world at the moment, they’re no stranger to Auckland fans either; having done a stint of four shows back to back at Whammy Bar in 2017. Since then they have released four more studio albums and brought their visual show to a whole new level. I tried my best to avoid any rumours of what the set list would entail, but couldn’t overhear the thousands of punters discussing what they thought would be included in their one hour set prior to them taking the stage. It seemed like the majority of people were gunning for some ‘old stuff’ but the crowd knew that when it comes to King Gizz the setlist is different every night. Understandably they focused on their latest release, 2019's Infest The Rats Nest, but the band did an incredible job of intertwining an array of tracks from their discography – new and old. It was also apparent that they needed to keep the crowd from getting too carried away when they toned down the set every few songs, sometimes to their disadvantage. This sense of uncertainty as to what song would come next is what kept fans on their heels though, ready to bump shoulders with the 'posers' in the crowd. And they did. By the end of the set it was like a cult at the front of the crowd; tonnes of sweaty fans throwing themselves around. It was chaos but in the best way. As the set ended and the audience began to fight the wave of The 1975's fans, I heard one very drenched punter say “It’s like the musical equivalent of a punch to the face” and I thought that was a pretty good way to describe it. HUNTER KEANE

Julia Jacklin
Rangers Stage, 7:55pm

Julia Jacklin's latest album Crushing is a masterpiece of folk rock that has rightfully earned her a crowd of die hard fans, ranging from people who love to groove to people who love to cry sing along to her emotional charged lyrics. And she delivers her songs in an almost effortless and affable way that seems to convert the casual listeners watching. She has a powerhouse voice like no other and a command of melody that wrangles out emotion at every chance. Her secret weapons are the pulsating rhythms that make her revealing songs surprisingly danceable. Jacklin's band feel like they've been playing together for years, which is amazing when revealed it's the drummer's first gig with them. At the end a random fan turns and exclaims "she's just so good!" as multiple fans stand around beam from ear to ear, feeling lucky to have experienced her only Laneway performance of the year. Soz about it Australia. HAMISH PARKINSON

Rotunda Stage, 8:40pm

Completely biased towards Charli XCX as I am, being an obnoxiously vocal fan (ask anyone), I have to admit Charli's set (though obviously appreciated because it meant another chance to bask in her physical presence) while entirely serviceable, was nowhere near as fun as her sideshow a few years back after she opened for Taylor Swift. I feel like with that show she was catering to an audience which showed up for her specifically, whereas with festivals you're always going to have the odd meanderer, either curious to see what all the hooplah is about or who just can't find the toilets. With the prospect of expanding one's existing fan base I'd have expected Charli to do something bolder, maybe play less of her hits and hit us with her weird. Must say though, loved hearing 'Track 10' which any real fan will tell you is the superior version of Lizzo-spiced re-hash 'Blame It On Your Love'. I was beginning to think it was something she either didn't enjoy performing or just wouldn't, because it clashed with her party-making as a somewhat tortured ode to recklessness in romance. I was wrong and it was a highlight. SAMUEL TE KANI

Marlon Williams
Rangers Stage, 9:30pm

After a day of roaming energies and sweltering heat, hometown sweetheart Marlon Williams closed the night with a set steeped in tenderness, celebration, and gratitude to send us home. The sound is raw, bringing forth the jangling guitar style that he has embraced more in his latest releases. He’s a lively presence on stage, with his humour and energy clearly showing us that he is performing on the ground that he was born to stand upon. His second track, sung entirely in reo, is reminiscent of the Blue Smoke-era of kiwiana crooner tunes, but Williams modernises the sound with a lightly distorted guitar and guttural delivery that shows us the journey of his sound. Joined by Julia Jacklin for 'Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore', Williams comes across as just as genuine and endearing on stage as he does in his recordings. He’s the perfect reminder of what beauty we have cultivating in our own local culture, and the perfect man to guide us home at the end of the day. ALI NICHOLLS

The 1975
Princes St. Stage, 9:30pm

The 1975 were dominating in the way a stadium show usually would feel, somehow totally captivating an audience of hundreds at the end of the day – and they knew what they were doing. Joined by two dancers on stage, visualisations of planet Earth burning overlaid with 'Shutterstock' image logos, the performance felt at times like flipping through a photo book of ecological disasters, but somehow I didn't feel the usual eco-anxiety. Their song 'The 1975' featuring climate activist Greta Thunberg, was a rallying cry for everyone in the audience to do something more to help the world. Another highlight was 'I Always Wanna Die Sometimes', a big emo tune tbh but I loved it. A fan-favourite for the festival, the crowd were all-singing, all-dancing responding to an intense and dynamic hour-long set, with the encore of their 2016 hit 'The Sound', making for one of the biggest dance parties of 2020 so far. FLO WILSON

Click on the thumbnail images below to view Knucklehead and Ngamihi Pawa's full photo gallery for Laneway 2020...

Marlon Williams - Laneway Festival 2020
Marlon Williams - Laneway Festival 2020
Marlon Williams - Laneway Festival 2020
Marlon Williams - Laneway Festival 2020
Marlon Williams - Laneway Festival 2020
Laneway Festival 2020

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