The Laneway Awards

Photo: Nicholas Robertson. Words: Parry Tritsiniotis

Photo: Nicholas Robertson.
Words: Parry Tritsiniotis

The Laneway Awards


Laneway Sydney has once again proved why it is the best festival to attend all summer. A well-oiled machine of a festival, Laneway is a perfect reflection of Australian music culture as well as a sprinkling of fantastic international acts. The festival was too good to simply write a casual review, so I decided to allocate some very special awards to the standout artists and sets.


The Freshman Award


Special Mentions: Clairo

The epitome of internet pop made her way down under for the first time. The songs transitioned surprisingly well from Clairo’s bedroom to the festival stage. “Pretty Girl” and her latest single “4ever” made for some pretty beautiful moments on the very scenic Future Classic stage. While super early in her career, something special is brewing with Clairo. 


Winner: G Flip

Aussie hero G Flip had the strongest set out of all the new comers to the festival. Laneway perfectly capped off her debut year in stardom. Her performance of “About You” felt like a victory lap and the reception of the crowd singlehandedly handed her this award. G Flip is just getting started. 


The Crowd Favourite


Special Mentions: Skeggs

The afternoon heat did not stop the rage of the Skeggs crowd. The Skeggs boys shuffled through the hits which marks them as one of Australia’s biggest rock acts. Their singalongs were similar to those chants at a riot or protest, and were definitely a close second to take out this title.


Gang of Youths:
It’s a given that they are Australia’s most beloved act by a country mile, but they’ll get their props a bit later.


Winner: Rex Orange County

It wouldn’t be a surprise to assume that an ignorant viewer of Rex Orange County’s set would think that he is one of the biggest artists in the world right now. Rex’s set had a power like absolutely no other throughout the day. Performing in the evening on the main stage, his lyrics were echoed by the crowd for his entire set. Performing to thousands of people with at parts, only himself and a guitar on stage, his set was met with shocked eyes, in awe of the presence of this seemingly reserved and shy young man from rural England. “Sunflower” and of course fan favourite, “Loving is Easy” made for the most magical moments of the day, or arguably the entire festival season. 


The Energy Award

Special Mentions: Skeggs

They’re back again, the Skeggs mosh looked like a wave pool of people, with a couple mosh pits for the true psychopaths attending, the energy was there.


A different kind of energy was in the crowd for Masego. The alternate RnB prodigy had the crowd swaying from side to side, with his neo soul and jazzy melodies. Rather than moshpits, or crowd surfing, Masego provided for the strongest boogie of the day. “Old Age” and “Navago” got some the shoulders loose for many, and also brought out a heavy two step for others. 


Winner: Denzel Curry

With a discography of the calibre of Denzel Curry’s it is simply a standard that he takes out this award at every festival he attends. The set was clearly a highlight of the day, and was a bordering perfect festival set. The set, split up into 3 acts, mirroring his 2017 instant classic Taboo, got progressively heavier and heavier.
Bar heavy hits “Cash Maniac” and “Black Balloons” had the crowd’s hands waving and their voices singing to their heavily pop inspired hooks. As the set progressively got darker, so did the density of the crowd, and also the size of the mosh pits. Bodies flew, and the punters screamed Denzel’s witty bars right back at him. While the crowd was aggressive, and may have appeared to be from the outside in, it all ended with love and hugs, and was only so aggressive out of mutual appreciation and respect for the man on stage. 


The Headliner Award

Winner: Gang of Youths

While What So Not played with a couple of special guests to distract the crowd, people piled in to the stage were Gang Of Youths were set to perform, getting their perfect views for the anthems that were about to ensue.
Having seen Gang of Youths multiple times before, I knew what to expect, and boy was I not disappointed. Their music is angelic, and made for a headline spot at the biggest festival within the heart of Sydney. I can not put into words what a Gang of Youths set feels like. The music’s ups and downs sent the crowd into phases of emotion and euphoria. Despite how much one likes the music or not, it is impossible to deny these guys are easily the most beloved, and best Australian live act touring right now. 


The Future Headliner

Special Mentions: Ravyn Lenae

While her set time did her no justice, Ravyn Lenae’s sticky RnB jams are made for pop stardom. Her vocals were above everyone else during the day, and left an extremely strong taster for her future inevitable stardom. 


Winner: Jorja Smith

While already a headliner at Laneway, Jorja Smith will inevitably headline festivals of the likes of Coachella and Lollapalooza. Sonically the set was the best of the day. Her vocals sprouted in accompaniment with her live band, make for a stellar experience that the Laneway afternoon crowd was not necessarily expecting. Her music is also suggesting of her future pop stardom, with a perfect blend of contemporary neo-soul and pop to drive her to the top. Smith’s on stage presence and confidence also radiates greatness and adds an extra layer of reason to support this amazing talent.