1300h: The Great Migration
The sun is bearing down on a line of people waiting to get through the gates. We’re all sweating, scratching, readjusting. I’m already concerned about the inevitable heat rash working up my thighs.
The line’s not moving. There’s a specific section for wheelchairs but I haven’t seen any go through. Event staff come out disgruntled. There’s disorganisation in the ranks reminiscent of the last Laneway I went to, years ago. My phone won’t scan the ticket so I have to line up again in another section.
We eventually get through and I’m already making my way to the first aid tent for Ibuprofen.
As we amble around it’s evident there’s no clear aesthetic to St Jerome’s.
The Melbourne CBD punctures the skyline. A freight train materialises to our right and rings a horn that penetrates festival grounds. There’s fake grass. Real grass. Piles of rocks and hap-hazardous fencing. Unexpected areas of natural beauty and artificial monotony.
The fractured landscape creates an identity crisis that’s actually endearing. A flow is generated from wide-open spaces that allow the crowd to move freely throughout the grounds, a far cry from the inner city congestion defining Laneway’s earlier years.
1640h: Mac DeMarco
We’re walking to the Dean Turner stage. It sits at the end of a long, narrow car park with the floating industry of the Maribyrnong River providing the backdrop. (Something that Mac DeMarco seems strangely taken by. He makes constant references to sinking the “fucking ships”.)
DeMarco comes out wearing red vans, blue jeans, a cap with a neck-flap and a white Simpsons T-shirt. He looks as though his mum has dressed him on casual clothes day. He’s got a schoolboy appeal and impertinence further emphasised by the gap in his front teeth. He describes his music as ‘jizz-jazz’ but it sounds more like crooner rock or a kind of slurred-psychedelia.
He writes love ballads for cigarettes.
For some reason he repeatedly cites Family Guy and remarks that “you guys mustn’t have it here” despite protestation from the crowd. He smiles. He’s got a grin that spreads right across his face. It makes you want to give less of a shit about shit. We forget about the hot, muggy sun teetering on the edge of the port and smile back.
1855h: People Change
I’d had enough liquor by this point to start acting obnoxious and elbow my way to the front of the stage for Future Islands. My cousin had snuck in some Southern Comfort (God bless her) and we’re sipping away trying to kill the nerves before the performance.
This was it. The band we’d been waiting six months to see. By the time frontman Samuel T Herring comes out I’ve already lost my voice. My cousin is holding me by the arse as I superman over the front barrier, balancing on my stomach.
His performance is like a deranged sermon. Serpentine movements are interrupted by savage chest-beating, primordial roars or invocations to a personal memory or sentiment that makes his bottom lip tremble. At one point, it’s as if he has broken down completely. (He states in an interview that this happens around ‘one in every seven’ performances.)
He spots me leaning over the barrier, a network of varicose veins leading to my outstretched, desperate fingers. His eyes are a terrifying shade of blue that seem to convey something beyond comprehension, something alien, sublime, incorporeal. He stretches his hand towards me but the expanse separating the stage from the crowd is too vast and for a moment we resemble Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam.
2010h: Musical Crates
We talk about very specific scenes in the movie E.T. My friend’s sister is on drugs and she’s licking her gums a lot. It’s putting me off. I’m falling asleep against a crate until Caribou play ‘Can’t Do Without You’ and we all start tripping over each other, frantically trying to manufacture a coherent dance move.
2100h: Obligatory Food Review
Nachos. Even in my drunken state I could tell there wasn’t enough sauce on that shit. Dry and uninspired.
I find a cat on the way home and I’m pouring so much love into this thing but it’s giving me nothing so I throw it over a fence. I start to feel bad about this so I wait on the nature strip for it to return and eventually fall asleep. This proves fatal because I’m sitting here now writing this piece with a rash all over my arms and feet. Little itchy, raised red bites. I’ve got a cream called Medi-Quattro all over my body. Maybe it was from touching Future Islands. A mortal reaction to the immortal. Or maybe it’s cat AIDS.
Anyway, fuck it. Laneway: 4 cats out of 5.
 I was later told that they were in fact tacos.