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Words: Bryget Chrisfield Photos: Jason Rosewarne

There are fewer selfie posers for us to dodge while entering Harvest Rock II through a giant mouth – think Luna Park meets The Rolling Stones’ lips logo – for Day 2 revelry. As we exchange highlights from yesterday’s incredible festival experience, someone ponders, “Is it too early for an espresso martini?” Hell no! Let’s do it all again, shall we?

Australian Musician is onsite across both Saturday Nov 28 and Sunday Nov 29 at Rymill and King Rodney Parks to bring you the highlights. Please welcome the below three stand-out winners of Sunday’s lineup to the victory podium for 2023’s (unfortunately not real) Harvest Rock medal ceremony!


Baker Boy
I’m a proud black Yolngu boy with the killer flow/ Listen to the yidaki/ Listen to it blow…” – Marryuna by Baker Boy.

 Opening with a dose of Meditjin (translation: medicine), 2019’s Young Australian of the Year, Baker Boy (Danzal Baker to his nearest and dearest) – accompanied by a majestic backing vocalist, fierce backing dancer duo and live instrumentation – explodes on stage with moves to spare. Baker also plays yidaki and is just Cool As Hell in general up there rocking his smooth yellow fit, immediately demonstrating why he’s often referred to as ‘The Fresh Prince Of Arnhem Land’. We find it impossible to drag ourselves away from this selection of bilingual bangers (he also sometimes raps in the Yolngu Matha language) even though we’re well aware that Santigold is about to grace the other stage.

“The reason why I do what I do is because I wanna represent my people up in Arnhem Land and especially all those kids that don’t know what they wanna do or grow up to be,” Baker explains. “I wanna be an example for them as well.”

He’s incredibly humble, but Baker is also well aware of his performance prowess and dabbles in braggadocio: “You wanna be as good as me/ Boy you better practise/ Step back, feel the power of my blackness!” During Funk Wit Us, he even joins in with the dancers’ complex chorey and completely nails it.

A radiant beacon of optimism, Baker’s upbeat energy is infectious (we even find ourselves pogoing on command at one point!). From My Mind’s gentle, lovestruck bop to his high-octane rendition of Blur’s Song 2 (resplendent with mid-song yidaki solo and interpolated snippet of Baha Men’s Who Let The Dogs Out – nuts, right?), Baker’s dynamically varied set showcases his versatility to perfection. He also points out his reworking of Bernard Fanning’s Wish You Well particularly resonated with “you older mob”.

Me and the crew show you the time of your life!” – the playful Stupid Dumb, with its guttural “HOO!” accents, brings Tag Team’s Whoomp! (There It Is) to mind. “You mob got the energy!” Baker enthuses.

If you’re not in the photo that was taken from the stage post-show, throwing up peace signs and hollering “Baker Boy!” on cue, you missed out on some mesmerising Black Magic. As we race over to Vines Stage, tardy for Santigold, we’re on Cloud 9 and not coming down.

Baker Boy – Meditjin ft. JessB (Official Video)


Thanks to 2021’s wonderful The Sparks Brothers doco, this septuagenarian band of brothers – composed of Ron and Russell Mael – are in the midst of a renaissance of sorts.

It’s been 22 years since their last Australian tour and Harvest Rock II marks Sparks’ debut performance in Adelaide, half a century into their career. They open with So May We Start – permission granted, kind sirs! It’s like The Addams Family have teleported onto Vines Stage and theatrical wonderment, which we’re so in the mood for right now, ensues. Sparks – backed by four additional musos – even somehow manage to release the bats, which appropriately circle overhead for what seems like ages during their madcap set.

If you’ve noticed people posting about “crying in their latte” of late, it’s a reference to Sparks’ track The Girl Is Crying In Her Latte. Perched behind his keys console with a look of exaggerated boredom on his face, Ron’s thirsty-eyebrow ‘stache is creepy AF. Russell explains Nothing Is As Good As They Say It Is was written from the perspective of “a 22-hour-old baby petitioning to be readmitted to the womb”. The Auslan interpreter pulls focus during Balls, as we delight in watching her endlessly juggling imaginary balls. “I found my thrill/ I found my thrill/ I found my thrill in Beverly Hills” – Ron takes the mic to recite Shopping Mall Of Love – with its minimal, metronomic percussive backing – in delightfully deadpan fashion.

Their repetitive, easy-to-pick up lyrics ensure even newbies can sing along and feel part of the Sparks cult in no time (see: My Baby’s Taking Me Home).

Sparks – My Baby’s Taking Me Home (Official Video)

As Russell sings When Do I Get To Sing ‘My Way’, he transforms into a petulant child expressing outlier angst and The Number One Song In Heaven is a flight of fancy. Like Eurovision on crack, Sparks are so incredibly entertaining that there’s exactly zero audience chit-chat throughout.

Julia Jacklin

Julia Jacklin inhales deliberately before launching into what she later tells us is the band’s final show of the year. Her voice is vulnerable, but never feeble and also occasionally unleashes like a trapped bird finally locating an open window. She rocks the Little House On The Prairie look to perfection as well.

Please stop smoking/ I want your life to last a long time…” – opening with Be Careful With Yourself, Jacklin’s careful enunciation draws us into her charming stories about caring deeply for others, cultivating self-agency and healing from the past. “This song’s for anyone that went to Catholic primary school,” is how she introduces Lydia Wears A Cross before vivid images such as “a child in a leotard beneath a technicolour dreamcoat” provide insight into some of her formative experiences.

I need you to believe me when I say I find it hard/ To keep myself from floating away…” – Jacklin’s vocal phrasing alone during Love, Try Not To Let Go, for which she plays occasional woodblock, makes us teary. At one point there’s a whopping five guitars in use on stage and Jacob Diamond supplies what sound like sibling harmonies – are they actually related?

Jacklin tells us she doesn’t take the fact that she’s able to make a living through music in this country for granted, adding that her excellent backing band are “her employees but also her friends”. Then with closer Pressure To Party, Jacklin finishes on an upbeat, jangly, hopeful note: “I know I’ve locked myself in my room/ But I’ll open up the door and try to love again soon.”

Julia Jacklin – Pressure To Party (Official Video)

And more pics from Jason Rosewarne

Lemon Twigs


Tash Sultana

Paul Kelly

Vera Blue


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