St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival returned to Hart’s Mill in Port Adelaide for the first weekend of February, bringing a huge and eclectic line-up of local, national and international acts to one of the best festival locations in Adelaide.

Musically, Laneway’s greatest strength is not necessarily in presenting you acts you already love, but exposing you to new acts you’ll be hearing everywhere in the next year or two. That was especially true for the electronic and hip-hop sides of this year’s lineup, which leaned more towards underground and emerging sounds. For the open-minded and clued-in, there was a lot to love.

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Electronically, the likes of Roland Tings and Tourist played engrossing sets which made their 50-minute playing times feel like nothing. Roland Tings brought out a bit of live instrumentation which was impressive, but it was nothing on the elaborate setup Floating Points brought with him. The UK producer delivered the kind of immersive, unforgettable experience that no other festival is really bringing to Adelaide these days and showed just how virtuosic electronic music can be. Still, if that all sounds a bit left-of-centre for you, Clams Casino and Mr. Carmack were around to keep things fun and banging.

On the hip hop and soul side, Mick Jenkins proved he just might have the swagger and the tunes to be the next big rapper to pick up the baton from Anderson .Paak and Kaytranada. A.B. Original were as confrontational as you’d expect, but also seemed to be having more fun on stage than anyone else. NAO worked the crowd early in the afternoon with a forward-thinking showcase of R&B, and a voice that sounds like if AlunaGeorge was capable of really belting when she wanted to – her performance of her Mura Masa collab, ‘Firefly,’ was a highlight.

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Tame Impala and Nick Murphy (fka Chet Faker) were on headliner duties, and they both absolutely crushed it. Murphy and Tame Impala-frontman Kevin Parker are way better showmen than their ‘I work at a fair trade cafe in the city’ appearance would lead you to believe, and neither disappointed. If you were extra-punctual, you would have seen locals like Jess Kent and Lonelyspeck killing it, too.

What makes Laneway so great is the care they put into the entire festival experience. The selection of food and drink was incredible, and it felt like there was a new food truck around every corner, most of them serving fresh SA produce. There were record and clothing stalls, a barbershop from Fat Controller, and a live art installation set up by the YEWTH mag guys. The location itself was something special as well – the historic waterfront mill site is a beautiful place to get lost in, and this year’s forgiving weather made wandering around much easier too.

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St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival rarely disappoints, and their 2017 edition provided an exciting first taste of the festival season soon to sweep Adelaide. Definitely looking forward to what next year has in store.

Words by Zane Dean
Photos by Daniel Marks