Jessie Ware: 'It makes me confident if I'm in a costume.'

Neo-soul singer Jessie Ware regaled fans with local knowledge and humour at Laneway Festival.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

MUSIC

LANEWAY FESTIVAL

March 3, Footscray Community Arts Centre

Reviewed by Annabel Ross

It must have been a strategic move to schedule Kings of Convenience to open Laneway Festival on the main stage at the Footscray Community Arts Centre. The popular Norwegian indie-folk act drew a healthy crowd to the festival by midday, drinks already going down easily under an unexpectedly fierce sun.

Talent was fairly evenly divided across the festival's four stages for the remainder of the event. Local teenagers Snakadaktal played their ethereal pop to an adoring throng at the newly expanded car park stage early in the afternoon. The wobbly experimental electronica of Holy Other and Shlohmo attracted chill and post-dubstep fans to the Future Classic stage, followed up by honey-voiced Londoner Jessie Ware, her modern soul sounds a perfect fit for the day-to-dusk set. Ware also got a nod for best crowd engagement, regaling fans with local knowledge – she loved the lobster roll at Golden Fields – and a bit of cheek.

Widely regarded as a festival for discerning music fans, the venue was equipped with the requisite hipster food and retail outlets, including a market doing a roaring trade in vintage clothes. But for the most part, the attention of the already fashionable crowd was firmly on the music.

Evening highlights included Leeds outfit Alt-J, playing languid alt-pop songs from their Mercury Prize-winning debut on the main stage. The synthy, beat-driven pop of New York's MS MR held its own late on the river stage, while 21-year-old prodigal Sydney beatmaker, Flume, drew the biggest crowd of the day at the car park stage.

Competing with Flume were Chilean-American Nicolas Jaar, compelling with live band, and Bat for Lashes, playing tracks from her acclaimed new album The Haunted Man.

With nary a lull across all four stages throughout the event, the main complaint among punters – apart from a dearth of ATMs – was that they were spoiled for choice.