Sunday last week was show day in Melbourne for the iconic Future Music Festival. With a day-of-the-dead-set-awesome theme there would be no rest for the hombres (and when I say hombres I mean everyone from the organizers to the artists to the festival goers and anyone else in between that made it a sweet day to remember). Hola my amigos, let me take you back to how it all went down.
Arriving at Flemington Race Course at exactly 2pm meant that I had already missed out on the first act that I had planned to see, young Melbourne duo Gypsy & The Cat. I had heard a lot of great things about this local band and was really looking forward to starting my day off with some mellow tracks, especially ‘Jona Vark’ which to me is one of those songs that is so reminiscent of what a good summer festival vibe should be like. Before any disappoint could sink in I realized that I was at the right stage to see Ellie Goulding and wow is she a megababe or what? The English singer-songwriter settles comfortably in-between indie folk and electro-pop, you wonder what exactly that might sound like then she belts out tunes like ‘Don’t Say A Word’ and ‘Anything Could Happen’ and you know, you just know.
I’m sure by this time my skin had burnt at least four shades darker, so I made my way into some shade, had a few drinks, lunch and enjoyed Rita Ora’s performance of ‘Radioactive’ from afar. Next on my itinerary was an easy move to the Future Music stage where British electronic outfit Rudimental would it rip up live (for the very first time to Australian audiences) and awaken the crowds dancing senses. Boy did they deliver. With majority of their tracks resonating that summer-time-feel-good soundtrack feel I knew Rudimental were doing it good just by looking behind me and sussing out the crazy vibe of the crowd.
At the Mazda stage large crowds began to gather for the highly anticipated young Harlem rapper, Azealia Banks. The weather at this point in time was definitely hovering in the mid to high 30s and with little breeze for comfort the crowd was getting restless – just wanting their good fix of the liquorice bitch to take their minds of the sweltering heat and lack of shade. 4:15pm came and there was no sight of Azealia (can I feel a sense of déjà vu?). The crowd continued to linger for Miss Banks however the delay was too much for some and those who couldn’t handle the wait moved on over to get a pick me up from Korean YouTube sensation Psy. As the Mazda stage continued to look baron (except for one of Azealia’s dancers whom took to the stage to get a sneaky shot of the massive – and extremely patient – crowd) the Future Music stage was going off with the all too familiar Gangnam style tune.
You either love her or you hate her, but when Azealia finally came out on stage it didn’t matter what you thought of her because the energy was high and love was clear. Clad in a teeny tiny leather ensemble and infamous 30+ inch weave the young rapper promised to ‘make some f*cking noise for Melbourne’ and she sure did. Performing her provocatively ruthless tracks from her Fantasea mixtape and 1991 EP, I was impressed by the amount of fans in the crowd that were able to keep up with her lyrical flow. Not even 30 minutes into her performance Azealia brought an end to her set by stirring the crowd with her career launching ‘212’. Once it was over the crowds ears were ringing to the 212 beat and everyone was left either bitter because of the promptness of her appearance or in awe that they had just seen the Yung Rapunxel do her thing.
The next few hours of my Future experience were quite a blur. Not in the sense that I was drunk or anything but more because the heat was getting intense and a lot of acts were happening back to back and all at once. Being the keen festival-goer that I am I did not want to miss out on anything. I started with A-trak’s banging set, was wowed by Steve Aoki (his hair is immaculate considering the humid heat Melbourne was hosting) and his crazy crowd surfing antics, puzzled by how young French-Progressive-House producer Madeon’s set was one capable of challenging the most mature industry professional and of course smitten by The Temper Trap. I will always have a soft spot for Dougy Mandagi and will always go weak in the knees when I hear the ‘Sweet Disposition’ riff (obviously even more so when it is live).
It was just after 7pm and I found myself back at the Future Music stage, this next act that I saw was bonkers. Absolutely bonkers. That is the perfect word to describe the amazing performance that was delivered by British babe Dizzee Rascal. I mean if there is an act that can deliver on a level beyond entertainment and also engage with a massive crowd it’s got to be Dizzee. I was quite mobile throughout the performance starting out at the front, moving through the centre of the mosh pit and all the way to the back but it didn’t matter where I was the energy resonating from the English MC was infectious. Playing perfect dance tunes like ‘Here 2 China’, ‘Dance Wiv Me’ and ‘Bonkers’, I could totally see why he is a favorable addition to any music festival line up.
The day (or should I say night) was coming to a close and I was faced with a bit of a cacophony having to choose between The Prodigy the pioneers of the big-beat sound, Swedish DJ Avicii or Bloc Party one of the bands I grew up listening to. Although the stage set-ups were faultless (thank you Future organizers) and everything was fairly easy to access, by this time even a 200m travel seemed like an uncomfortably tedious battle. Surviving on water, chilled drinks, an array of junk food and the thriving party vibe; I mustered every bit of musical devotion in me and decided to catch a bit of all three. I was in challenge mode. 8:45pm. Warrior’s Dance Arena. The Prodigy. Amazing. One of the best live acts to ever be seen.
I really built up the suspense to seeing Bloc Party, as they were one of those bands I regularly had on repeat throughout my high school years. They also had the added pressure of maintaining the high I was on from the little bit of The Prodigy I had just experienced (I now understand why they are regarded as legends as far a dance music is concerned). Making my way through a seemingly lifeless (perhaps due to the heat) crowd of people at the Mazda stage I found myself front and centre of the Bloc Party set, and unfortunately uninterested and disengaged. I don’t know if the band members were drained from the weather or half asleep but it wasn’t all there. I really enjoyed their performance of ‘So Here We Are’ but that was as far as it went.
Disappointed that Bloc Party didn’t live up to my expectations and annoyed that I left The Prodigy early there was nothing like Avicii’s ‘Levels’ and ‘I Could Be The One’ to bring me back to finish the night on a high. Not necessarily a fan of the Swedish skyrocket I was taken aback by what I was experiencing. Each individual in that crazy crowd was one in the same, hearts were open and Avicii was absolutely killing it. The atmosphere was surreal. The official EDM headliner of the FMF 2013 was actually insane and despite me not thinking twice about it I am glad I ended my first ever Future experience with Avicii.
That post-festival depression you get after such a good day but also that sense of relief that its over just consumed me wholly. I can’t even comprehend what a day it was. I loved every moment of it and can’t wait to do it all over again next year!