By Kosta Jaric
“Future Music – so many crimes against fashion.”
The easiest way to garner public opinion these days is to trawl through the most efficient soapbox of all – Facebook. Given the traffic, Future Music 2011 had a lot of points to reflect on, whether good, bad or definitely ugly.
The line-up for this year’s festival saw the organisers state their intent with their most ambitious and diversified group of artists yet. Big names The Chemical Brothers, MGMT, Dizzee Rascal, Mark Ronson and Steve Angello (of Swedish House Mafia fame) all headlined, whilst Ke$ha, Tame Impala and Gypsy & The Cat all came in from a different angle.
Festival-goers couldn’t have asked for a better day to tear the grass out of the Garden of Unearthly Delights and swallow the invading locusts and crickets, and the smiles on their faces showed it. The crowd grew strong well after midday, when the action onstage began to heat up.
Ke$ha was always a surpising and curious choice for Future. Appearing at the Entertainment Centre later in the week, given the overall crowd reaction to her set at the main FutureMusic stage it’s evident that the audience at that show would be 18 and under. Although a well choreographed set, her brand of trash-dance pop really didn’t inspire the majority of the crowd. Obvious hits “TiK ToK”, “We R Who We R” and “Take It Off” got some shuffling in the dustbowl, but whilst the girls on shoulders loved it, the guys underneath not so.
Speak to any sample of people and the response as to the best stage on the day is varied. The Likes of You stage was a techno haven, whereas Dim Mak – a stage that was literally a hole in a wall – had cult party-starters galore. Steve Aoki ruled Dim Mak with his partyboy ways, although his brand of electro house was quite fuzzed to begin with.
The Mazda 2 Flamingo Stage was laid out ridiculously. Whilst the large screens flanking the stage indicated that there was ample space to the right of stage, no-one could get through as the casual stage-swingers bottlenecked the only entry point. Nevertheless, it pulled some of the biggest crowds.
Mark Ronson & The Business Intl. did the business big time, so much so not even Ronson’s top-deck hair could do him wrong. The reception from the crowd throughout the set had them firming as massive favourites. The whole ensemble was on fire – MNDR slinked about (but shrunk a little for ‘Bang Bang Bang’ – no fault of her own), Rose Dougall surprisingly got hearts racing and MC Spank Rock lost more than his hat with his mic domination. Surprisingly, Andrew Wyatt from indie boys Miike Snow came out and featured for a few tracks, including their own hit ‘Animal’ and stepping in for Boy George on ‘Somebody to Love Me’. Ronson didn’t forget to honour his roots, with a 10 minute DJ segue lapped up by the kids on hand.
MGMT followed up, and the debate over whether they’d cover a fair amount of awkwardly-received sophomore album ‘Congratulations’ was soon solved when they descended into psychedelic and surf guitar sounds. It only bummed out a small section of the crowd, who in their wasted state wanted their uber hits more than anything, and got them in spades. ‘Electric Feel’ and ‘Time to Pretend’ brought mass delirium, but it was ‘Kids’ that brought the house down. Ronson’s crew came back out onstage whilst Kesha sat bemused in the wings, as the MGMT brains trust Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden ran up and down the barrier high-fiving everyone in sight.
Pendulum were timed perfectly – as the sun hit its low, the crowd deserted Dizzee Rascal in droves to see the Aussie boys make them go bananas with a blistering set of what they do best, heavy drum and bass mixed with electronic rock.
The Chemical Brothers were always going to be the biggest attraction at the traditionally dance-oriented event, and their lighting and visual display set the deep and dark mood early on. As soon as ‘Galvanize’ became recognizable to the large and invisible crowd, the party restarted. The only downside to their set was the fact that ‘Belgian beat bastards’ The Subs were only enjoyed by a tiny following back at Dim Mak, when these guys deserved far much more.
Rounding out highlights, you can’t go past Foamarama, a constant barrage of foam leaving those not too delicate to get their carefully selected outfits wet looking like Colonel Sanders in a snowstorm.
Having skimmed all opinion, this was by far the most polished and organized Future yet. Its place as a staple in the Australian festival scene has seen it firmly nestle in the top five national festivals. As the saying goes, big results require big ambition, and Future organizers are well on their way to bigger things.
To see our images of people at Future Music go to:
To see our band images at Future Music go to:
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