Field Day 2014
Fuck NYE, Happy Field Day was the only greeting I was interested in receiving on January 1st this year. Thats because there’s nothing better than seeing a fresh year in with a whole lot of happy, like-minded creatures on a stunning Sydney day, surrounded by a whole lot of sweet tunes.
The traditional pre festival dance started routinely early as always; coffee (Patron), Champagne, fake tan application, fruit salad breakfast, anticipatory chats, polaroid snaps and the hazy wobble into The Domain clutching the last sips of pre drinks.
Field Day never disappoints on any level, but the bright visual of a vast stretch of lush green grass, hills spotted with trees and a mellow, beautiful Sydney crowd always brings the point sharply into focus.
The early hours of the festival saw an almost complete domination by up and coming Australian acts. Melbourne boys Indian Summer rinsed centre stage with their tropical twisted underground tracks before the newly popular Motez switched up the tempo with his heavily nouveau rnb vs minimal dance slanted set.
LDRU & Yahtel’s set was perfectly placed among the darker, denser and just slightly psychedelic setting of the Left Field. The boys drilled a decent amount of bass through a combination of both of their music, smattered with a touch of jungle and steeped in jarring Trap.
Alison Wonderland sets are a bit like a pack of party favourite lollies… there’s some average fuckers in there (milk bottles and those weird Chico things?) but then there’s the Pineapples and you remember why sugar is just so good. Wonderland played 3 times during the day, each set as solid as the last, injected with her token old school vs new school hip hop and always wildly energetic. All in all, not a bad choice to help you wash down a sweet drink. Oh, and the girl can wear the shit out of a boys t’shirt. Kudos.
Generally speaking I really do like Flight Facilities. Clair De Lune was one of the most gorgeous tracks released in 2013 and their music is usually sweetly melodic and humbly refined. Unfortunately though they played a Decade Set at Field Day and it was severely lacking. The tracks were poorly chosen and the whole thing got boring very fast. Having seen them lull their audience into a gushing state of vibrating lust at Splendour I was surprised at the contrast and disappointed that their talent wasn’t showcased better.
Brown sugar Casanova Ta-ku is chasing Flume’s heels as the newest golden boy of Australian music with his post modern love songs hollowed out with bass, stretched synths and nostalgic hip hop samples. His set was a perfect portrayal of the passion and energy that he puts into his producing.
What So Not delivered a well executed set of bangerzzzz, at a perfect time of the day…just as the crowd was starting to get a little bit wound up. But did anybody notice that Flume, who is one half of the duo actually wasn’t present? I wasn’t entirely sure what had happened but he definitely remained pretty elusive. Needless to say Emoh Instead aka Chris Emerson did a stellar job as solo banger delivery man.
Brown sugar Casanova Ta-ku is chasing Flume’s heels as the newest golden boy of Australian music with his post modern love songs drilled with bass, stretched synths and nostalgic hip hops samples. His set was a perfect portrayal of the passion and energy that he puts into his producing.
For the third time this year Hermitude were my favourite set at a festival. The local Aussie boys delivered a mix of their old and new tracks with such finnese that it rivalled some of the more well known international acts appearing on the day. Their set was jarringly sharp, energetic and twinkling with that Australian swagger for which we all adore them. I know that Australian Hip Hop is young and often pretty brash but Hermitude are genuinely striding towards becoming all time Australian dons.
Chet Faker, arguably Australia’s most adored musician set hearts and pants alike on fire with his melodic cover of No Diggity, and his earnest rendition of I’m Into You…
Combined with his signature rugged (read: beardy) rake-ish looks Chet’s audience were practically melting 2 songs in. I do really think that his beard makes him look like a furry garden gnome, but I’ll leave that opinion for another piece. His set was great, chicks went skitz….game set match Beardy Faker.
Despite my stance as a small white girl I managed to enjoy A$AP Rocky for all his raucous, ludicrous slander and misdirected jibes. Hip Hop is as much my guilty pleasure as the next wigga in oversized pants but I still can’t quite comprehend why Australian’s find a connection with it. I remain unconvinced that its actually relevant to our society. Do you realise that when A$AP Mob belts out lines about ‘coke and white bitches’ that, essentially, if you get back to basics…he’s insulting you. Last time I checked Australia is FULL of white bitches. I am one. And as far as I’m concerned he’s making money from making me and all yo white bitches the butt of his lackadaisical lyrics.
That said, Australia really is undergoing an evolution in music and Rap and Hip Hop are just the next genres to be swept up, amalgamated, sampled, chopped and fucked with til they become buried in the main stream and we move on to the next.
I was told that A$AP didn’t perform well, but from where I was standing his performance was colourful and entertaining, and he was gracious enough to wander through the crowd post set…just in case fans (or white bitches) wanted to stroke him (or his ego.)
Julio Bashmore was my favourite international act of the year, and, he made Field Day feel right…nostalgic, techno, blissfully heavy and deeply solid. As always, Left Field is where industry kids hung in their down time…away from the masses, and trying to capitalize on the opportunity to capture insight into what their next sonic footstep may be. Cosmo’s Midnight and Wave Racer were both spotted right in front of Bashmore making calculated judgements and taking mental notes. The rest of the crowd swung between gazing up into the lights in the leafy canopy and throwing some serious shapes to Bashmore favourites, Au Seve and Battle For Middle You.
Wiz Khalifa was another surprise hip hop addition to the line up this year, but unlike A$AP who seemed to roll around his set a bit blindly, Khalifa’s was spiked with a touch more substance and on the whole lighter and more palatable. I could go into the whole old Wiz vs. new Wiz but I won’t. It was fun. Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellowwwwwww.
The biggest Indie presence of the festival was London Grammar. The British trio shot to fame in 2013 quickly after the release of their first EP Metal & Dust. Striking while the hipster iron was hot… they strategically applied the formulaic minimal pop wash sound to their music.. their performance, like their record was brimming with interesting textures and ethereal vocals. Swoon, tap feet nonchalantly, slurp red wine, roll your own ciggies…you get the idea.
Unsurprisingly Flume closed the main stage of the festival. The sweeping bass, clunky synths and now notoriously well known vocals wobbled out over the darkened arena…the crowd morphed into a mass unity of twinkling eyes and arms waving in time to tracks from his debut EP as well as what so not bangers and remix favourite Hyperparadise.Flume well and truly delivered his poster boy set on point, adding the perfect surprise of inviting producing amigo Chet Faker out on stage for the collaborative delivery of Drop the Game.
Field Day, as always, was a glorious day and a very tightly run festival. The spectrum of music and the range of artists performing has definitely shifted from years past but I guess that’s only reflective of the evolution of our fluctuating sonic landscape.
What we should be most thrilled about though is that a vast percentage of the line up this year was made up of Australian artists who are not only producing dynamic, innovative and distinctive music but smashed the shit out of their sets on the day. Fuck sport. In the music stakes we should all be wildly patriotic and endlessly proud.
Words – The Other Jess