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REVIEW: Raury At Oxford Art Factory

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If you haven’t heard of Raury Tullis, a.k.a Raury, then get yo shit together, man.

His Sydney show at The Oxford Art Factory on Monday night opened with a great set from relative newcomers Milwaukee Banks. With the venue filling up fast, the Melbourne based duo were well received, delivering some pretty chilled out electro hip-hop vibes. The guys were awesome; vocalist Dyl was as good as the recordings, and had so much energy I couldn’t get a photo where he wasn’t blurry. Many of the punters weren’t familiar with the tracks, but there were some good comments going through the crowd, and Van Gogh, their collaboration with Andrei Eremin, was a definite stand out.

After a longer wait than was comfortable, Raury finally entered, engulfing the audience with a sonic onslaught, complete with rock star entry and Michael Jacksoninspired prancing. His hat and mic stand were used as a prop for some pretty dynamic moves. There were some sound issues, but Raury took it in his stride like a seasoned performer.

He then went into Higher, his track with SBTRKT, which was a big favourite with the crowd. The only drawback was that there was a backing track of the original song playing, with Raury rapping a harmony over his own vocals, and then running out of breath, leaving his backing track to pick the rap up.

Raury’s confidence and charisma belied his tender age, not failing to impress with a high-energy show while adoring fans looked up in awe to the stage, and leaped at the opportunity to touch the rising stars’ hand. Unfortunately the crowds’ energy didn’t match the performance, but this didn’t seem to dissuade the self proclaimed Indigo Child, who populated his set with motivational anecdotes between songs.

Things got a super preachy after Super Fly, with Raury encouraging his audience to follow their dreams, saying that money doesn’t make you happy. Cigarette Song was probably the most popular track, spurring on a hearty sing-along from the crowd.

Lost Souls saw Raury fronting the band with the acoustic guitar, with a spiritual atmosphere created by the audience waving lighters and iPhones along to the track. The show ended with God’s Whisper, with the song getting another play when the call for an encore was met, cumulating with a mighty water fight using water bottles supplied by the band.

Raury gave a wonderful, powerful show with the only drawback would be that there were not enough quiet moments interspersing the loud, majestic performance, leaving my ears fatigued by the end of the show.

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A Day at Sugar Mountain: Featuring Nas, Iceage, Banoffee & Ariel Pink

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Sugar Mountain kicked off what was going to be a rad day for music fans in Melbourne with acts like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, How To Dress Well, Banoffee, ODESZAIceage and Nas on the line up. Walking in to the Victorian College Of The Arts had a similar feeling to walking into a Primary School fete with glitter and streamers hanging from above and beside. The majority of the punters and myself headed straight to the Dodd Street stage to get a spot for King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard while trying to stay out of the roasting sun. A quick look around VCA and I knew that Sugar Mountain was going to be a day full of good vibes.

It’s well known that getting to a music festival on time is one of the more difficult tasks in life but it certainly has its benefits. No line for the ATM, food or sunscreen was probably one of the biggest scores of the day considering the dense lines to come later. If you have been to Dodds Street imagine each line being as wide as the street but also bending to allow for more festival-goers to line up (it’s not ideal lining up for sunscreen in the heat). Not only did I get the cash to purchase a delicious Pastrami sandwich from Uncle RB’s but also the much needed sunscreen from the paramedics tent was there for the taking and boy am I glad it was.

Top Four Acts 
King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

I had never seen the Melbourne locals play live before but I have only heard good things and they were the perfect way to kick off a day at Sugar Mountain. With the festival having a few psychedelic features such as the art and decorations, it was fitting that King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard opened up the day and go into everybody’s minds. They put on a ripping show and played one of the tightest live sets I’ve ever seen with their songs like Cellophane that anyone could boogie to. Both of the drummers carried the set through with the constant beats and in-sync fills that led the songs into one another with only one or two breaks in between songs.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard - 2All seven members of the band could capture the audience’s attention. Whether it be the vocals or the harmonica, there was something interesting happening throughout the whole set. A flute solo was not something I was expecting to see at Sugar Mountain but I was absolutely stoked that Stu, the vocalist, busted out into what I would call a shredding flute solo. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard made my top four easily not only from their rad live performance but also for being one of the strongest opening acts at a festival that I’ve seen.

Iceage

Intense is the best way to describe an Iceage set. Even the sound check had me on edge, it was gut wrenching listening to the minor chords, loud drums and grunts of Elias being played over and again until their set began. The stand out song of their set was “How Many”, after hearing the track live I went home and compared it with the recorded version and the difference between the two were outstanding. It wasn’t the quality that was different but the aggressiveness of the live performance would have scared anyone who hadn’t heard Iceage before. It was hard to decide how I felt watching Iceage due to the colourful surroundings and the sun beaming down but at the same time I hade four blokes from Denmark playing dark and aggressive music that I couldn’t look away from. There were a few technical issues during the first song with the guitar cutting in and out but Johan without fault pulled it back together like nothing had even happened. Iceage are a no frills type of band and they don’t mess around, between songs there was no talking only the name of the next song. It was exactly what you would expect and want from a Danish punk band.

Slum Sociable

These guys were a lucky find. I thought I’d go and check out The Theatre and I found “Mordialloc’s Filthiest Animals” setting up. By the time soundcheck was finished, the Theatre was full and the crowd were ready to dance. I may have been seated at the back of the Theatre but these guys made it seem as if myself, and everyone else in the back row, were right in front with the rest of the punters, dancing. The lads from Slum Sociable knew exactly how to work the crowd and nailed their mix of lo-fi jazz hop. Slum Sociable were another treat that played earlier in the day proving the point that getting to a festival early has its advantages.

Nas

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Photo Credit: Superteam Studios

There is only so much I can say about seeing Nas perform Illmatic live. I made the rookie mistake of making it back to Dodd St late, leaving me close to the back of the crowd. Despite being only just able to see Nas, what I heard was enough. Nas’ flow has always been part of the reason I started listening to rap because I’d never heard anything like it and he did not disappoint at Sugar Mountain. Although some of the punters may not have been there to see Nas, everyone was on the same vibe regardless of who they were there to see and, whether it was NY State Of Mind or Represent, heads we bobbing and the crowd was bouncing. Anyone can listen to Illmatic but seeing it live is a totally different experience. Obviously it ain’t hard to tell that Nas absolutely nailed Sugar Mountain.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby. 

Honourable Mentions:

Ariel Pink‘s drummer for playing in an aqua bikini and cowboy hat.

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Photo Credit: Andrew Bibby. 

Banoffee for pulling off denim-on-denim.

BanoffeeHow To Dress Well for his all-white matching outfit.
 2 Bears for bringing out some insane dance moves.

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Photo Credit: Chip Mooney. 

And Uncle RB’s for making such a delicious pastrami sandwich.

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The Falls Festival, Byron Bay | Day Two

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Day Two (or three if you count New Years, but we’re only counting days we can remember), brought with it some more steamy lineup and a whole bunch of great acts on the Forest Stage. That meant permeating heat, sweat and plenty of smoke.

Glass Animals took to the heat like seasoned pros, showing why they’d chosen tropical designs for their album and stage designs. The new band has found more favour here in Australia than anywhere GlassAnimalselse, and they were clearly taken aback by the adoration that they received from the Byron crowd that was spilling out of the tent. For a band with only one album they managed a set jam-packed full of gems. Gooey was an obvious crowd pleaser but it was the more upbeat closer, Pools, that impressed the most. Australian audiences love tropical percussion at the best of times and Glass Animals brought that aplenty. A cover of Kanye West’s Love Lockdown saw lead-singer Dave Bayley, balancing on the rails, surrounding himself with the audience. The band looks as if they’re straight from a Topshop commercial but they put on a lively show which is hard to criticize.

Scott Hansen aka. Tycho was next up, with much of the crowd leaving for Milky Chance. Milky Chance will no doubt be fleeting and it’s likely that should the two acts visit again in 12 months, Tycho will be the far more popular choice. His 2014 record, Awake, was a brilliant combustion of ambient and post-rock genres and in the live arena it expanded. His soundscapes were rich and kept the crowd mesmerised throughout a near perfect set. It’s probably music best enjoyed in a dimly-lit environment but he adapted it well to daylight.

Somebody who probably also would’ve benefitted from a night time slot was German DJ, Tensnake. He released his debut album, Glow, last year, boasting collaborations with the likes of Nile Rodgers and MNEK. His set at Falls fell oddly in between a live set, with occasional vocals from Fiora, and a DJ set. With his closing track, See Right Through, going off we couldn’t help but think he’d be better off doing the whole record live. As a DJ set it felt a little lazy, as if we were at Marco Polo at The Ivy.sbtrkt

Maybe Tensnake should take a few cues from SBTRKT, who arrived on the Valley Stage with a stage-full of instruments. His set up is phenomenal and he really does a lot to prove to doubters that electronica is more than just somebody standing behind decks. Opening with Hold On from his debut record, the British producer performed a short set with only a smattering of songs from his second record, Wonder Where We Land. New Dorp, New York off that album, sounded brilliant with Ezra Koenig’s vocals creating space in an otherwise packed amphitheatre. The visuals behind him were also stunning. Unfortunately the set was somewhat ruined by a number of punters who obviously thought they were on the lineup. Shirtless guys stood on shoulders, chanting over much of what was happening on stage (my goodness, we sound old. No?). They quietened up for the brilliant, Wildfire, but became more and more restless each time SBTRKT crafted an extended outro. As much as SBTRKT is a mastermind, a wide-eyed festival crowd is perhaps not his best audience.

We’re going to contradict ourselves once more and say that electronica is something that can be executed brilliantly behind decks. Case in point:
jamiexx2Jamie xx. The brains behind the xx, creates an after-dark, strobing atmosphere like no other, taking you on an emotional journey with his DJ set. He moves from introverted club music to hands-in-the-air, gospel flavoured music, making sure that he earned every last drip of sweat that dropped from the punters. Short samples of Feel Better and the xx’s VCR, stirred excitement but at the end of the day it didn’t really matter if you knew what they hell he was playing. He was the master of puppets and was commanding the crowd to do whatever he wanted them
too.

As the end of Falls drew near, the sadness was setting in. Once again, the festival was brilliantly organised and for the most part drew a crowd that was passionate and friendly amongst strangers. As many of them ascended up that hill once more for Alt-J, there was really only one man capable of curing that end of Falls depression – Todd Terje. The Norwegian producer drew a small but happy crowd as worked away on his keyboard. Terje’s It’s Album Time! istoddterje without a doubt one of the best albums of the year and worked into an hour-plus set, it sounded even better. He started with a moody, brooding selection, bookmarked by Delorean Dynamite, before moving into his more light-hearted tunes. At one point during Oh Joy, the crowd, waiting for a drop, crouched down on the ground, however, after two minutes, it became apparent that Guetta-style drop wasn’t going to come. Terje seemed to appreciate the sentiment anyway. Two fools also stormed the stage trying to take some of his attention but Terje gracefully switched off the music and ushered them to the side. That act garnered a huge cheer, with the excitement continuing into Inspector Norse. A remix of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance WIth Somebody made it easy to squeeze out those final dance moves from a weary body. Well done, Mr. Terje. We’re now considering replacing 12am on our watch with album time, in your honour.

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Beyond The Valley, Phillip Island | Review

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New Years Eve is one of the busiest times for Australian festivals and, while Falls Festival once again delivered a great lineup in three different locations, Beyond The Valley offered a tempting alternative. In its first year, the festival gathered together acts like The Preatures, AlunaGeorge, Danny Brown and more. We sent two rogues to Phillip Island to count Penguins, sample Indian cuisine and occasionally soak up some tunes.

Location:

The beauty of living in Australia is having the ocean as our backyard. Phillip Island was the ocean-bordered location for Beyond The Valley Festival, a Penguin paradise 2 hours out of Melbourne. A location we both agreed was one of the most beautiful spots for a music festival.

Weather: (because us Aussies love talking about it)

Considering the onset of what we like to call “Hurricane Pingu” during the first day and the last minute changes made to the schedule, we were impressed with how efficiently the festival handled these windy conditions. Even though this meant that Fractures had to be moved from main stage to the Pavillion, he still had a killer set and the sound was perfect.

The Music:

On the road to the Island playlist-

A Mix by Annie Mangen, Karina Wilson, Siri and special guest, Rei Barker.

The drive to Phillip Island in our little Avis rental involved a bit of a mashup between Siri’s great directions and:

John FarnhamTwo Strong Hearts

CreedHigher (Thanks Karina)

UsherU remind me

FuelShimmer

Layo and Bushwacka Vs. FinallyLove Story

Drake– Every song he has

Jennifer LopezWaiting for Tonight

All Saints Pure Shores

Natalie ImbrugliaWrong Impression

PlummetDamaged

As great as the music selection above was, nothing compared to the live music we were about to be spoilt with at Phillip Island from the following artists:

Pond

POND

The Preatures

PREATURES

AlunaGeorge

ALUNA GEORGE

Vancouver Sleep Clinic

VANCOUVER SLEEP CLINIC

Husky

HUSKY

One Day

ONE DAY

Midnight Juggernauts

MIDNIGHT J (1)

Rufus

RUFUS

If hearing Imaginary Air by Rufus, live in the middle of beautiful Phillip Island, just after midnight is setting the bar for the rest of the year, then we are in for a good one.

Allday

ALL DAY

MO

MO

Danny Brown

DANNY BROWN

Key Festival Stats: 

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Highlights:

  • Overdosa food stall- Thank you, Tyson for your hospitality and incredible Indian cuisine.
  • The Security guard, Sam, at the Media room entrance was a legend.
  • Our camp neighbours, the girl crew from Geelong who kept us entertained on the morning of New Year’s Eve.
  • The Coffee was delicious…That ice coffee.
  • Dancing to Sail Away by Enya at 3am on NYD.

Lowlights:

  • Missing one of our favourite summer tunes, Shooting Stars by Bag Raiders.
  • Missing Peking Duk‘s live set of Sandstorm, especially after hype around the announcement of Darude’s return to Australia. #reibarker
  • Not having a hammer for our $20 tent and ending up having to sleep in the car.
  • Missing the fairy Penguins we were so excited to meet.
  • Potato Swirls are bad.

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The Falls Festival, Byron Bay | Day One

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After a huge New Years Eve ushered in by Alison Wonderland, the Falls Festival Byron Bay crowd looked surprisingly bright eyed and bushy tailed as they tackled the sun. Storms were forecasted for majority of the festival but it seemed they were nowhere to be seen today as Cold War Kids took to the stage in the heat of the day.dudeonshoulders

The Californian band who’ve just released their fifth album Hold My Home, recruited a loyal crowd, many of them hoisted up on shoulders. The band sprinkled tracks from the new album all the way through their set but it was the older ones that drew the biggest reaction. As lead singer, Nathan Willett, took to the piano at the end of the set it was clear we were about to be treated to Hospital Beds. It was a stirring finish to a strong set. While the quality of the bands studio albums may have dropped over the years, there is no doubt that they still know how to command a crowd.

jagwarma2Jagwar Ma took to the stage next admitting that they had, had no sleep the night before. Despite that they seemed to be loving the energy of the crowd, with their weariness quickly dissipating. A pulsating beat ricocheted around the natural amphitheatre as the band laid on top a woozy concoction of reverb-soaked vocals and dizzying guitars. Their set was built with tracks from their 2013 debut Howlin’, which, if anything, had got better with age. Come Save Me, benefited from the sunny atmosphere and instrumental track, Four, made it impossible to stay away from the mosh. Let’s hope next time we’re watching Jagwar Ma, they have a new album under their belt.

Speaking of bands that need a new album out, The Temper Trap took to the natural amphitheatre next armed with a few new tracks from an album that is due out this year. The two new tracks that they played stuck with a Coldplay-esque, arena-rock aesthetic with oohs and aahs that immediately resonated with the crowd. It helped that the tracks were surrounded either-side by favourites like Love Lost and Fader. Even Trembling Hands from their lesser-received second album found favour, with an amphitheatre-wide singalong. Of course, Sweet Disposition was the main event and, maybe it was just nostalgia, but it was stirring event after all these years.

It seemed nostalgia was the theme of the day with The Presets following Temper Trap. The duo who peaked with their second album, Apocalypto, still drew a huge crowd and delivered a hearty-set of thumping electronica. The darkness definitely worked in the bands favour with the whole set sounding like an underworld disco, particularly with the strangely creepy, Ghosts. My People is always a spectacle but some of their newer tracks gave it a run for its money with Youth In Trouble going harder than any other song.RTJ

A quick dash from The Presets, over the hill, found us in the sweltering arms of Run The Jewels. The duo of Killer Mike and El-P took to the stage promising, “…we will burn this mother f#*ker to the ground!” And that is exactly what they did. The energy in the Forest Tent was palpable with sweat dripping from the brow of every punter. Run The Jewels gave no time for rest as they churned out heavy-hitter after heavy-hitter. Blockbuster Night P.2 was an incredible sight to see as was 36″ Chain. At one point it seemed like everybody in the tent was creating the Run The Jewels logo with their hands. As “run them jewels fast, run them, run them, run them jeweles fast” swirled around our heads, it was pretty clear that it’s going to be near impossible to beat Run The Jewels this year. The duos chemistry, probably created by an unlikely friendship, is unbelievable.

Switching the dial just a notch, punter hiked back over the hill and into the tropical world of La Roux. La Roux’s second album, Trouble In Paradise, was criminally ignored and this seemed like her chance to prove to the crowd just how good it really is. La Roux’s live show is a well thought-out, perfectly manicured set that never strays from its ’70s-rooted, tropical style. It took barely moments from the crowd to start bopping along to newbies like Kiss And Tell aLarouxnd Sexotheque. The latter had people singing along by the second chorus. Highlights from her second album kept the crowd hanging on and despite one punter throwing a shoe on the stage and some others chanting, Bulletproof, out of turn, it seemed she’d charmed with her smokey British accent and sleek moves. La Roux thanked those who bought her second album before she launched into Bulletproof, giving the largest singalong of the festival to date. It was goosebump-inducing to look back on the massive crowd, all with hands-in-the-air. Let’s hope people go home and give La Roux another listen.

From the underrated to the overrated, Empire of The Sun took to the stage to finish the night. They were the replacements for Robyn and Royksopp, and while they definitely brought the beats and the energy, the whole thing was quite a trip. It felt as if we’d stumbled into an Eastern European nightclub and were gyrated by giant luminescent sword-fish. Props where props are due, We Are The People still dazzles with its euphoric chorus and Standing On The Shore is as hearty as it ever was. Empire of the Suns helmsman, Luke Steele, is clearly a creative mastermind but sometimes less is more- both audibly and visually.

With Jamie xx, SBTRKT, Todd Terje and more in our sights for day 2, bed was beckoning.

 

 

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Paradise Music Festival | Review

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Absolute props to Andre Hillas- Paradise Music Festival Creator, this was truly one of the best festivals we have been to in a long time. Paradise was a testament to young guns nailing it, other music festivals could definitely take a leaf out of Andre’s book.

Paradise is also officially the first festival we have ever seen grandparents at, spotted late on Friday night amongst the palm trees in Club Land. Not totally sure at first, given the fluorescent green haze and mesh of bodies but it was later confirmed on the Paradise Instagram. (see below)

INSTAGRAM OF GRANDPARENTS

LOCATION 

Take the Elephant Graveyard out of The Lion King and place it amongst the scene of FernGully. That is Lake Mountain. A weird, eerie surrounding turned into the most magnificent home to the freshest festival in Australia. Lake Mountain and the surrounding suburbs were completely burnt down during the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Andre Hillas has turned what normally symbolizes an area of an unfortunate result from a natural disaster into a playing field for electro music lovers. 

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HEALTHY FOOD + LOCAL BREWS

 In the lead up we knew what we were in for with fellow bloggers over at We Talk You Die posting a solid in-depth guide on the ins and outs of the festival, including menu options which catered to the veggies, vegans and gluten free humans. Being a BYO festival, we did bring 2 trays of coconuts, we kind of felt like wankers but the Sailor Jerry’s mix was spot on.

5 FAVOURITE ACTS

Kirin J Callinan

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We both agreed this dark babe blew our mind like no other guitar head. Kirin and his interesting counterparts draw you in like nothing else. So much darkness in their music that really hits you inside and brings out an emotion that can be hard to find. I think we are both in love with him but cannot figure out if it is a physical connection or a weird obsession with his engaging personality. The three slick humans dressed in all black, with an exception of Kirin’s delicious silver belt in combination of their use of newly invented instruments such as “The Ball” (still don’t understand that amazing contraption) made for a real future is now performance.

Kirin’s intense performance to “Embracism” and “Come on USA” were the two stand out tracks during their set. The typical frustrations of a musician is expressed through his music and you can really tell he means every lyric sung.

We were in stitches when a punter yelled out, “ Labour won the state election and the Greens have won three seats”.. then Kirin replied, “I don’t give a fuck, I’m from NSW”.

What an absolute God.

Banoffee 

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She took us into the Saturday sunset, really suiting the Paradise theme with her dreamy style and soothing layered vocals. Annie was particularly stoked about her intro cover of Drake’s Marvin Room. (Side note: Could someone please let us know where she got her patent bucket hat from?)

Doesn’t matter how many times we see her live, it just gets better every time.

Banoffee acts like she is another punter with a real emphasis on crowd involvement. Rei Barker helped kick start everyone at the beginning of her set and then throughout she would try and get people up on stage but the security didn’t allow this. She has a real fuck it attitude that everyone loves about her. Cannot wait to see her set at the Semplesize Block Party.

Klo

KLO

Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam were incredible and got us excited for the night ahead of music. It was still daytime during their set and what a perfect sound to lie on the grass to. This duo are really strong and I can only sense great things ahead for them. “Under Lie” continues to be on repeat after this set. Chloe has such a strong, beautiful voice for someone so young.

I’lls

I'LLS

Karina chatted to Dan from I’lls before they played to discuss the geography of Lake Mountain (this riveting conversation will be up on the interns soon). It was from that conversation she could tell they were legends. These three Jazz musicians have developed into a dynamic electro pop trio producing some of the freshest tunes around Melbourne. The lights throughout their set reflecting on the Lake Mountain woods complemented so nicely with their new music (don’t ask us for song titles).

Friendships

FRIENDSHIPS

We were worried arriving 11pm on Friday meant we would miss out on the best acts. Turns out every artist at this festival is quality so doesn’t matter what you are watching you are amongst the best. Friendships made us want to keep cracking coconuts, these two cool kids took us back to another decade with their ‘90s lad style. The combined energy between Nic and Misha have on stage is enough to make anyone twist their ankle.

COOL PARAMEDICS 

The twisted ankle actually did happen during Club Land. Annie miraculously didn’t feel the pain on Friday night, which meant Saturday morning called for a hop to meet paramedics, Elle and John. We exchanged stories for around an hour, and realised their festival stories were way better than ours.

 ACTUAL BATHROOMS

Kenny’s services were not needed, 5 star facilities were provided.

KENNY

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OutsideIn Festival Report Card

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Now in its third year, Astral People’s OutsideIn Festival has quietly become one of Sydney’s best festivals. As curators of electronic music they don’t come much smarter than Astral People and as such OutsideIn always has a lineup that sparks plenty of interest.

2014 delivered another stellar lineup that brought together both international and local acts, young and old to celebrate electronica, RnB, hip-hop and everything in between. Its new venue of Manning House in Sydney Uni was a perfect spot for its compact crowd, providing two outdoor stages and the indoor mainstage.

Holding it on the same week as Stereosonic made for an interesting sight on the streets of Sydney as fluoro-clad shredders walked next to kimono-wearing, hipsters. Choosing OutsideIn was a great choice for the interns- not just because we didn’t have to back-up for #2days but because the Festival grinned with a pleasant, happy-go-lucky crowd and plenty of stellar music.

Our only complaint? Stocking Red Bull as the only mixer for Vodka. For non-beer drinkers, that equals a very unhappy heart by the end of the day. It also evokes nightmarish dreams of Schoolies at 4am in the morning when you’re trying to settle your heart down because of said Red Bull.

On a lighter note, as it was set in Sydney Uni, we thought we’d take the scholastic connection very literally and write a report card of who we caught at OutsideIn.

Collarbones (A)

With their new album, Return, only released the day before OutsideIn, there were concerns that the boys may be unprepared for their debut. Those fears were quickly squashed, however. Collarbones are fast learners and they effortlessly melded the old with the new during their set. Marcus Whale is an unbelievably charismatic frontman and he thrashes his body around along with the pulsating beats of Travis Cook. Of the new album, Emoticon and Turning were clear standouts. The latter’s explosion into a bass-heavy, triumphant finish has to be one of the finest moments in Australian electronica this year. They may have begun early, but Collarbones took advantage of some mid-afternoon tipsiness.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Brenmar (A+)

Chicago-born, New York-living producer Brenmar is a crowd-pleaser if ever we’ve seen one. Working with buzz label, Fools Gold, the producer churns out a set of high-BPM, bass-heavy tunes that oscillate between Jersey club, RnB and trap. As well as including his own original tunes he dropped a perfect cocktail of tracks at times drawing heavy on the nostalgia. His spin of Daniel Bedingfield’s Gotta Get Through This, deserves a special mention as the crowd went absolutely bonkers, as they did also for Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. He gauged the crowd’s vibe immediately and followed it through the peaks and troughs.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Basenji (B)

Young Aussie producer, Basenji, is on many people’s hype list right now and for good reason. He’s has a pretty spectacular year, topping it off with his track Heirloom which has become a staple for any fan of Aussie electronica this year. His OutsideIn set also doubled as a birthday celebration for the producer and as such he was ready to get #turnt. Looking like he could’ve also taken to Rod Laver Arena for a hit of tennis, Basenji served up a refreshing, cohesive set of future-bass. It all culminated in Heirloom – a track that just drips with sunshine-induced beats and icy synths.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Satisfactory

Overall: Good

Giraffage (A-)

San-Francisco producer Giraffage was one of the main drawcards on the lineup and drew one of the biggest crowds of the day on the mainstage. His sound may be far more down-tempo than fellow Fools Gold signee, Brenmar, but it was no less effective. His own original material like Feels and Tell Me went down an absolute treat with skittering percussion and cloud-like synths. Things really kicked into gear when he dropped his remix of Janet Jackson’s Someone To Call My Lover which had an excitable crowd in ecstasy. There was only one thing that could top that and while we never would’ve expected it, his spin of Darude’s Sandstorm was the greatest moment of the day, if not our lives.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Pantha Du Prince (C+)

Introspective acts often don’t work in festival environments, particularly when the sun is still shining. There is no doubt that Pantha Du Prince is a marvel live but his OutsideIn set felt somewhat uncomfortable given the time of day and the mood of the crowd. Wearing a hood and covered in-part by smoke he gave off the same kind of mysterious vibe that his music complimented but it felt a little bizarre. With the amount of DJs at OutsideIn relying solely on their decks it was nice to see a producer with an interesting set-up but Pantha Du Prince is definitely an act to be enjoyed in the intimacy of a solo gig. He needs closed-in walls, a midnight set and a devoted audience. OutsideIn could deliver none of these.

Performance: Satisfactory

Crowd Response: Fair

Overall: Satisfactory

Cut/Copy DJs (A-)

Cut/Copy were the eleventh hour saviours of OutsideIn after Swedish producer HNNY pulled out. In hindsight it made a lot of sense that Cut/Copy should be on the bill, given that they’ve just released their Oceans Apart mixtape which celebrates Melbourne electronica. Their DJ set at OutsideIn saw frontman Dan Whitford take to the decks to showcase many of the artists featured on Oceans Apart. The set stayed at a steady, twilight-ready tempo for the most part, detouring at the end to bring it home strong. Whitford dropped SBTRKT’s New Dorp New York (a somewhat confusing choice in a set dedicated to Melbourne electronica) to an elated crowd and followed it up with the centrepiece of Oceans Apart, Brenda by Ara Koufax. It was a triumphant, hands-in-the-air moment, that made us pretty proud to be witnessing Aussie electronica right now, as we glanced around at hefty, joyful crowd.

Performance: Good

Crowd Response: Good

Overall: Good

Black Vanilla (A+)

Black Vanilla’s set was the second of the day for both Collarbones’ Marcus Whale and Guerre’s Guerre but there was no drop in energy from either. Black Vanilla have embraced this abrasive RnB/electronica crossover that requires full commitment and maximum crowd participation for it to work. Luckily for them, both those things were in order for their brilliant OutsideIn set. They layed down a set of new songs and songs from their Cloaks EP that would have made Kanye West proud. Cassius Selects beats are industrial, gritty and bass-heavy, with the crowd chests pummeled by the onslaught of music. Meanwhile Whale and Guerre stand out front working the crowd into a frenzy. The two of them go back and forth at each other with the same kind of energy as an act like The Prodigy. Whales’ final dance-break in a circle he’d created in the crowd was pretty breathtaking. As compact as the crowd may have been, Black Vanilla garnered the best response of the day.

Performance: Outstanding

Crowd Response: Outstanding

Overall: Outstanding

Check out our OutsideIn photo gallery below. 

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Kimbra at The Metro Theatre

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A few weeks ago Kimbra took to David Letterman to perform one of the most divisive tracks of the year, 90s Music. Obviously completely un-expecting of what he had just witnessed, Letterman and the audience were rendered speechless. The track seemed to take on a different life and that’s because Kimbra is an untamed beast when live.

The Kiwi singer took to the stage in Sydney with the same kind of reckless abandon that she’d brought to the Letterman stage. Dressed in an aluminium, Bjork-flavoured outfit with legs for days, she left everything she had on the stage. Beginning with the opener of the fantastic The Golden Echo, Teen Heat, she bolstered the chorus with denser instrumentation and wild, erratic dance moves.
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From there, she set about using every bit of energy in her petite body, covering every inch of the stage, sweat often dripping from her brow. 90s Music sounded like an opus of exploding sound. She brought the same vibe as a mosh-ready rock show only sweetening it with the epic chorus – a gushing, melodic stroke of genius.

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The whole of The Golden Echo, sounded like an album designed to be enjoyed in the live arena. All its oddities made sense when delivered by an equally eclectic Kimbra, who inhabited each song. Miracle was easily the most joyous moment of the night while Goldmine‘s crunching percussion pulsated on the chest.

Kimbra_FOMOHer development as an artist was obvious as she mixed old favourites in with the new. In fact Cameo Lover, once her golden moment, sounding limp in comparison to the new tunes. Settle Down, however, sounded as impressive as ever with Kimbra commanding the rhythm with her gently undulating hands.

As Kimbra farewell end with a beefed-up version of Come Into My Head, she left the stage, sweaty and surely exhausted. She clearly loves what she does and as such it’s impossible to watch on in disdain. In terms of vocals, body movement and charm, she left no corner unexplored.

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Listen Out, Sydney – Wrap-up

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After a successful first year, Fuzzy’s IDM Festival, Listen Out, returned to Sydney and brought with it a lineup that cheered on more homegrown talent than 2013. Flume was always going to be a huge drawcard and as such, two of the dates on the Festival tour sold-out. Sydney wasn’t at capacity but it still had a huge crowd ready to enjoy a beautiful day of electronic music.

Electronic music has grown exponentially over the past few years and the fact that this year’s Listen Out was such an Aussie affair goes to show that Australia is at the forefront of the genre right now. Apart from a herd of fence-jumping fools, Listen Out drew an appreciative crowd for those who didn’t want to shred for Stereosonic or mosh at Soundwave. Turns out, it’s a nice middle ground to be in.

Refer to our key below for the ratings of each performance. We also added the appropriate foods to accompany each set, just ‘cos.

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shlohmo

LA producer Shlohmo is a late night music-maker. His music is dark, insulated and smooth- everything that 3pm on a sunny weekend isn’t. Dressed in all-black, Shlohmo looked every bit as uncomfortable as the crowd. The thick bass tried to hug centennial park but it was just too large of a field to capture the brilliance of his sound. Shlohmo was one of the best bookings on the Listen Out bill but he was definitely disadvantaged by an afternoon set. There will surely be no complaints about his club-sets while he is here. The man embodies the RnB/electronica crossover sound that everybody is trying to emulate at the moment. It’s not his fault that nobody wants to grind in the broad daylight.

bondax

Bondax were the closest thing to Disclosure on this year’s bill. The English duo are making sunshine-infused deep-house music that, unlike Shlohmo, was perfectly suited to the mild, daylight conditions. Armed with a slinky female singer and a male who was slightly past his prime, the pair tailored a light, breezy set for an excitable and tipsy crowd. It was refreshing to see a live set amongst many DJs, with the pair performing mostly their own songs.

The track that started it all for them, Baby I Got That, brought with it an undeniable groove, while their super-smooth single Gold, showed that they can perfectly induce a bit of deep house with RnB. The height of the set came with their cover of Duke Dumont’s I Got U. For a crowd that wasn’t very familiar with their material, they were content throughout the whole thing. It was an example of perfect scheduling and weather-appropriate music.

ChetFaker

Chet Faker was possibly the most hyped name on the bill, after Flume, and he effortlessly filled the paddock to usher in the night time. There’s no doubt that his one-man show is a marvel and he did all the right things at Listen Out. 1998 was soulful where it needed to be and beat-laden when dancing was needed while Gold created an unexpected singalong. I’m Into You was the perfect partner for the dusky heat and had the thick crowd swaying in admiration.

Despite his moments of brilliance, a one-man show like Faker’s is best enjoyed in tighter confines. Some of the sound was lost in the expanse of the crowd and sounded a little thin at times. His moments of playing with his instruments were also a little unnecessary as some began to get restless. A festival crowd, after all, has limited patience.

zhu

Enigmatic producer Zhu could’ve answered all the questions at Listen Out but instead he answered none. He took to the stage with a screen covering him from anybody’s vision and launched straight into his mega-hit Faded. It was a euphoric, throbbing moment but the whole time it felt there needed to be another climax. You couldn’t tell whether he was singing nor see what he was playing and no matter how good it there was always the feeling that the crowd wanted more – probably brought on by the lack of presence.

Despite not seeing him, he had some great moments. His remix of Lana Del Rey’s West Coast was a moment of chopped and sliced brilliance and the light show that carried on through the whole set was a spectacle. His set-finishing cover of CHVRCHES’ Gun was also a hands-in-the-air moment that ushered in a rare singalong. With a huge set under his belt already it’s hard to imagine how long Zhu will be able to keep this mystery up. It seems to do nothing but put more pressure on him to speak with great music.

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With the sun completely gone, Orlando Higginbottom brought with him the type of DJ set that only the night time would embrace. Gone was the summertime sounds that permeated the afternoon, as the crowd welcomed a fist-full of bass, with a set of largely unrecognisable music. T.E.E.D is clearly a producer who digs a little bit deeper than most but he never came across as pretentious. For every instrumental banger, there was crowd-pleaser thrown in. They came in the way of the bombastic Core by RL Grime and Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan which radiated through an excitable crowd.

It’s obvious by his latest track with Aussie, Anna Lunoe, that T.E.E.D’s musical output is altering slightly but it’s no less impressive. Feels Like was a nugget of gold in the set- a slowly building, throbber that commanded the crowd to go harder. He finished valiantly on Household Goods, ensuring we got a little taster of just what to expect when he comes back (hopefully) soon with his live show.

flume

Listen Out could’ve only announced Flume on the bill and still pulled a massive crowd. He’s the golden-boy of Australian dance music and this truly felt like a homecoming victory run. His set hasn’t changed much since his solo tour earlier this year, but it was his first major Australian Festival headline set and it went down very well. Still looking humbled by his overwhelming popularity, he dropped hit after hit. Sleepless was followed by Holdin’ On which was topped by his Hyperparadise remix. He barely even needed to say or do anything, the crowd was so enamoured with his tracks as just an audible spectacle.

He was happy to share the spotlight for a little as he brought on label-mate George Maple for a new track and her new single, Talk Talk. The pair meshed perfectly together in a display of vocal prowess and intricate production- the most seductive numbers of his entire set. His remix of Lorde’s Tennis Court and On Top further proved the strength of the catalogue he’s gathered in a short time. Naysayers may call him overrated, but there’s very few Australian artists who can command an audience like Flume does purely with his own material.

Check out our Listen Out pics here. 

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BIGSOUND day 2 wrap-up

Brisbane has once again been transformed into a new music haven with BIGSOUND rolling into town. With it, the annual music conference has brought some of the most hype-worthy names in music to play over a number of venues in Fortitude Valley.

It says something about the state of new Australian music that despite it being a lineup of many fresh faces, it stands up against many major festivals. In the past year, DMA’s have become NME darlings, Oscar Key Sung has become one of the internet’s most buzzed names and Tkay Maidza has attracted the attention of International producers Ryan Hemsworth and Bok Bok. The talent at BIGSOUND 2014 lineup doesn’t just stack up locally, the artists playing are garnering international attention as well with many of them likely to pop up on the SXSW roster next year.

The head may have been a little bit sorer than day one, but our new music caps were still firmly on for day two of BIGSOUND. It was a night that moved from dulcet electronica to rambunctious hip-hop, once again proving the sheer quality of Australian music right now.

Click on the tabs to move through the artists.

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