Listen Out Melbourne

So on the weekend I went to this really cool party in an enchanted garden location and the likes of Azealia Banks, Disclosure, Classixx, Duke Dumont, Touch Sensitive, Rüfüs, TNGHT and Aluna George were all there. No, it wasn’t a dream it actually happened. Crazy huh?

I feel that it is more appropriate to say that on Saturday I attended a really rad outdoor party as opposed to a music festival. That’s the vibe of the fresh new event known as Listen Out that took place and debuted for the first time in Melbourne on Saturday, nestled within the city at the beautiful botanical gardens.

Organizers of Listen Out intended to strip away all the things we punters don’t like about major music festivals (such as serious timetable clashes, painful hikes to various annoyingly spread out stages, teasingly short sets and overwhelming crowd numbers) to create a new redefined way of experiencing music live.

The line up manifested the philosophy of ‘the best’ not ‘the biggest’ which I thought was clever as it meant each act was able to interact intimately with their audience and perform a longer more thorough set.

The weather gods of Melbourne put on a perfect 25-something-degree day with the right amount of sunshine to chill out and set the day right. Upon arrival around 2, I realized how small the event vicinity was which I saw as a good thing as it meant I wouldn’t have to leave any artist early to make it in time for another.

I started my day of with Rüfüs at the Atari Stage cleverly positioned in some shade (nothing worse than looking up at an act and being blinded by the sun). The Sydney-based trio has been one of the most talked about acts of the year and has become one of the most requested artists on Triple J. I was super excited to see these guys, as I was one of the many unfortunate to miss out on their sold out multiple Melbourne shows. Sundream and Desert Night were absolute standouts from their set for me. As soon as dreamy lead vocalist Tyrone sung the opening lyrics the fellow members James and Jon followed through with such soft and smooth rhythms that it would’ve just been awkward to not move a little and embrace the feel good tunes.

Following Rüfüs at the Atari Stage was UK producer Duke Dumont who I know as the creator of the infectiously catchy tune Need U 100%. Being a one-man show he didn’t have the interactive stage presence the previous act had but I did love his set for the fact that it made me feel like I was transported to some Vegas pool/day club. Staying at the Atari stage to catch a few discoesque sublime beats from Classixx (live) was a smart move. The L.A DJ duo won me over with their French inspired beach vibes summer charmer Holding On. It’s very hard to believe that the Listen Out tour has been the first time they’ve played live in Australia. We should definitely have them over more often.

Quarter to six I made my way to the other main stage called the 909 in under 4 minutes (thanks again to the neat set up). Here I was awaiting AlunaGeorge – UK duo comprised of the angelically sweet vocals of Aluna and production prowess of George. Opening the set with the very cheeky Just A Touch track AlunaGeorge were killing it, I knew they were because when I looked behind me to get a glimpse of the crowd all I could see was hands in the air, grinding and grooving bodies everywhere. ‘I love it when I see you having fun’ she sang and I’m sure she could tell everyone was having A LOT of fun. They’re best known for their highly talked about and popular track Your Drums, Your Love so unsurprisingly as soon as that came on the crowd got even more into it singing along. The chorus in that tune is nothing but pure bliss this along with the sun well and almost set on the Botanic Gardens, AlunaGeorge’s set was one of my favorites of the day.

Now let’s just take a moment to discuss the series of events that happened down at the Atari stage just after 6pm. Azealia Banks had a bit of a shit one in the Sydney leg of Listen Out as she stormed off stage 20 minutes into her 50-minute set due to people in the crowd chucking rubbish at her. Her Melbourne crowd was cool, calm and collected. I was pretty excited because I knew her set would be incredible with lots of new tracks she’s been working on since her last visit (In March for Future Festival). 6:25pm came around and the Harlem rapper hit the stage with her two baben’ dancers, opening the set with the new ATM Jam track.  90 seconds into the performance a full beer can was thrown at Azealia. She consequently let go of her mic, walked off stage never to return and tweeted a quick apology saying ‘Sorry to all the festival-goers in Melbourne!!!!!! See ya tomorrow in Brisbane!!!!!!’. A mixture of cheering, booing and even crying erupted from the crowd with lots of mixed opinions about the whole situation.

Just after 8pm the Atari stage was the place to be. It was actually the only place to be as the other two stages were done and closed off for the night. The well-planned set times meant that everybody was able to see the massively awaited Disclosure. Considering the release and success of their album ‘Settle’ – the crowd was buzzing, lyrics were memorized ready to be belted and everyone was getting geed up by the famous disclosure face done up in pyrotechnics. I had my fingers crossed that this set would go off on a grand scale note to really make Listen Out worth its while. And it did. It went beyond that; the UK-based brother duo exceeded my expectations. Opening their headlining live set with F For You was the perfect way to tease the crowd for what was yet to come. Intricately layered beats, smooth synths and deep UK house pervaded each track they played from the older stuff like Boiling and my personal absolute favorite bouncy Flow to their newer ‘Settle’ tracks such as You & Me and When a Fire Starts To Burn.

Despite a favorite act cut short due to crowd stupidity and a lack of food options Listen Out really did live up to its boutique party vibe hype. I can definitely see it becoming an Australian staple music event.

IMG_8686

 

ON REPEAT

 

This track has got me through a seriously stressful swotvac period, a myriad of GRIT strength training sessions AND the infamous hot bikram yoga classes that I’ve done this week. Thank you Rustie and Flume. Owe ya one! 

Flight Facilities Corner Hotel Gig (23.05.13)

I vividly remember the first time I was embraced by the smooth electronic goodness that is Flight Facilities. It was 2010 and I was studying and equally freaking out about some trivial high school homework begging my brother to turn down the TV that was so loud the walls were vibrating. He obviously didn’t so I got up myself, walked to the living room and there it was on Video Hits or some similar old school music program – ‘Crave You’ by Flight Facilities. I sat down and soaked in the mellow beats and angelic vocals of the featured artist Giselle. Forget the homework, I spent that arvo googling the rad artists behind what soon became to be one of my all time favorite summer tunes.

Last night I was back again at the Corner Hotel in Richmond to see Sydney based Hugo & Jimmy perform live – these blokes are the Australian indie electro DJ duo that we all know and love as Flight Facilities. Majority of the crowd was young adoring adults swooning around the intimate stage. They were drunk, sober and everything in between. It was fantastic and I was just itching for the boys to come out and deliver to all us crazed fans.

The Flight Facilities guys are versatile melody makers; it’s as simple as that. What really sets these guys from the myriad of emerging Australian DJ acts is their ability to create sounds that are an amalgam of several different genres and blend them all seamlessly into a unique vibration of noise. I just wanted to fast forward to later on in the night so I could get my good dose of them asap.

Taking it from the very top at 9:00pm was Movement. Not ‘The Movement’ but just Movement – three boys from Sydney who according to their soundcloud write songs especially for YOU. I must confess I did not hear about these guys before last night but I am so glad I know who they are now because they are definitely an act to keep your eyes on. The lead vocals are on par with SBTRKT, then there is some Jamie xx style xylophone sounds but still their sound is vividly different to anything I have heard. I spent this part of the night shazaming every tune they played. A standout was when they performed their very first single ‘Feel Real’, which actually comes out today and is available on iTunes. The echoing chorus interrupted with underwater xylophone sounds strung effortlessly on a smooth beat is something you just need to experience live.

Elizabeth Rose the groovy soul sister (yes I just used the word groovy) who features on the ‘I Didn’t Believe’ track has been the supporting act for Flight Facilities on this good vibes tour. The cheeky diva played her own set prior to the boys but also provided some guest vocals on a few songs during their set. She impressively danced the whole time whilst simultaneously singing flawlessly and playing her keyboard the whole time. She was great and is such a megababe on stage but it was pushing past 11 and I was just hanging for Flight Facilities.

The venue was filling up very quickly, however I managed to score myself a sweet place – sitting on stage. That is dedication.

Saying that I was excited would be an understatement. I had expectations that amounted to the wildest craziest messiest disco dance party ever.  I had their disco-esque tune I Didn’t Believe feat. Elizabeth Rose on repeat since the moment it was released on their YouTube channel in preparation for the night.

The smoke machines went haywire, the set up lights were flashing an erratic pattern and then it was time, the Flight Facilities came on. The boys were clad in suits and their deck station thing channeled a groove jet airline vibe. Everyone in the Corner was on board and ready to go on a wild dance trip. It was crazy. If you weren’t dancing then something was very wrong with you or you were deaf – either way sucks to have been you because straight up they were already smashing out some dance tunes. Now this tour wasn’t for launching a new album or anything but rather for the ‘I didn’t believe’ single so I was intrigued to see what they were going to fill their set with.

There was a blurry mixture of dreamy pop and senseless disco to fill the gaps in-between the boys well known tunes. They even managed to play a bit of Daft Punk, with the very familiar ‘Get Lucky’ track pervading throughout the whole Corner. Was so good as literally every single person sang the lyrics at loud and had a good get down.

Highlights for me was when they ripped out their track ‘With You feat. Grosvenor’. Now I’m going to assume the funky lanky dude who came on stage to feature in the live rendition of the tune was in fact Grosvenor but I would not know with 100% certainty but nevertheless he delivered. It’s such a good dance tune because quite frankly when it’s on you can’t help but move and by move I mean dance unpredictably and very wildly.  The lyrics are simple, catchy and again everyone was on board and made that track a memorable one for the night.

Of course the night would’ve been somewhat incomplete without ‘Crave You’. Elizabeth Rose came back on stage to fill in the vocals for the track, which is originally done by Giselle. I can’t really put words to the feeling I was feeling when this came on. The boys were in their element. This was the song that really launched them as distinctive emerging dance music artists and I’m sure they were in love with the fact that every single soul in the corner was grooving, singing along, soaking it in and appreciating their talent as incredible music makers. Very glad that I was able to witness it all and of course bust a few moves.

This morning ears are ringing and feet are tingling – both signs of a great night. Thank you Flight Facilities, please come again?

193616_10150446210680363_880025362_17767740_387971_o flight_facilities

‘Bow Down / I Been On’ by Beyonce

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 12.19.56 PM

Beyonce has taken to the social media sphere (Instagram and Tumblr) to share her new track titled ‘Bow Down’.

As soon as you hit play you hear an instrumental and vocal clip that is nothing like the usual diva’s sound. Before it becomes a concern her familar voice comes through and you realise that this track and perhaps the rest of the album to come is a indication that she has taken a new direction with her music.

Perhaps this direction will appeal to more listeners in terms of what is trending in the female music industry at the moment.

Future Music Festival Melbourne Review

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!

Photos by C-PASH for AAA backstage will be posted soon!

Peace,

A!

Azealia Banks Melbourne Side Show

Aching legs – check, ringing ears to the 212 beat – check, bindis and glitter all stuck in my hair – check, post gig depression the morning after – check, making good friends with strangers in the line from 5pm and also in the mosh – check, experiencing a concert that felt more like a party hosted by Azealia Banks – priceless!

Last night I was at the Palace Theatre in Melbourne attending Azealia Banks’ Future festival sideshow. I was adamant to stick it out front and centre so didn’t hesitate to line up early at the door, upon seeing the line I was greeted with a sea of youth. There was an abundance of glitter, bindis, ripped denim, short booty shorts, bare midriffs, burgundy and dark purple lippie (worn often by the babe Banks herself), gold chains, docs, fan made Azealia get up and of course the cigarettes and alcohol being lit up and consumed to pass time! This crowd was everything Azealia was, a generation defined by the Internet, the blogosphere and the social media, but brought together by the same love and passion for the game of rap and vocal excellence.

7:30pm on the dot the doors opened and a flood of people gushed through the doors. Resisting the urge to admire the beautiful venue (it’s an immaculate location) I made my way quickly to the front and secured a great spot for the rest of the night. Fast forward a few hours, after all the supporting acts (including lady dj Nina Las Vegas) and you will get a restless crowd that just wanted to get their good dose of Azealia. The almost 4 hour wait created such a tense vibe in the crowd but as soon as she was seen walking on stage – all sense of anything was gone, it was insane. She was a little pocket rocket in her tight chocolate coloured cut out attire and infamous 30+ inch weave of rapunzel hair, she was exactly what and who we all thought she would be. Promising to make some noise and f*ck Melbourne up she got the crowd warmed with a quick verse of the ‘Out Of Space‘ track from her Fantasea mix tape and delivered from then on many other songs from the 1991 EP, the Fantasea mix tape and also her new album Broke With Expensive Taste. With every song and every gap in-between Azealia was so engaging with us, this is what makes me accept that she cuts her shows so short. I’m not sure if she’s just a cheeky lazy girl, physically incapable of going for any longer or actually has a legitimate reason for not playing her full scheduled time slot but with the delivery she provides in the time she is on stage it’s much more than some artists I go and see who come on stage perform their songs and piss off almost arrogantly back stage. She posed for photographers and everyone in the front, she interacted with the crowd after each song, even replying to some fans with ‘I love you too’.

Music wise, Azealia was flawless. Each song was perfection, almost better than the studio recorded version. Although she displayed some restraint she didn’t hold back with the tracks she did play especially her career launching ‘212‘, her personal favourite of the Fantasea mix tape ‘Luxury‘ and ‘1991‘. However like most great shows Azealia was finished before I could even register what I had just experienced. Like everyone else in the crowd wanting just one (or four) more song, I waited around after she exited the stage hoping to see a return. There was no return and the crowd was left either bitter because of her short cut performance or in awe that they had just seen the young rapunxel do her thing!

One security guard dissed her show saying it was embarrassing, disappointing and ‘too ghetto’ – I wanted to just remind him that this is a 21 year old young lady straight outta Harlem NYC, if anyone is licensed to come across as ‘too ghetto’ all bets it’s fucking her! As for the disappointing part I may agree to a small extent in that the liquorice b*tch was supposed to play a 10pm to 11:30pm set however only ended up on stage for much less from around 10:25pm to 11:20pm. Apparently this has happened before, with the likes of her 25 minute Splendor In The Grass incident (crowd got mad angry), however it cannot be denied that she left the Melbourne crowd smitten with what she did provide and for those loyal fans who arent too phased with the promptness of her show she will perform again in Melbourne this Sunday with the Future Music Festival Crew. I will be there and so should you!

*All photos accompanying this post were taken by me on my iPhone. 

photo photo photvophobto