Live Review: Field Day in Sydney


Somethingyousaid’s Colin Delaney overcame his hangover just in time to head to Field Day:

I woke on New Year’s Day feeling sceptically fine, managed to make breakfast for the rest of the household then crashed. So after two cups of coffee, four Panadols, a Mountain Blast Powerade and a Coke, I was at Sydney’s The Domain for an ‘on-time’ 4:45pm. On time that is for the exceptional Hermitude who’ve had a big 18 months off the back off 2012’s Australian Music Prize winning HyperParadise.

On the mainstage the Elefant Traks duo were playing to a busy crowd with their heavy cut n paste electro-funk like ‘All Of You’ as well as the dancier ‘Speak of the Devil’ to get the crowd singing along and the vibrant kettle drums of HyperParadise mixed with ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ and the crunching bass of ‘The Villian’. It takes me back to DJ Shadow days.

Over on The Island stage things were indier. Crystal Fighters (pictured, right) who I, despite seeing four years ago and enjoying, have remained unfamiliar with, were tripping balls with their upbeat and psychedelic folk like ‘You & I’ and very infectious ‘At Home’ with its crowd-friendly call-and-response hook ‘No No No No No, Yeah!’ I’ll do my best to follow them better from now on.

With his monochrome American flag draped over his shoulders, A$AP Rocky (pictured, top) took the stage, his dark lyrics influenced by a gritty Harlem upbringing spat over bowel trembling bass from his band. But he seemed to be loving being here as he smiled through his gold grill throughout the set to adoring fans.

A wander over to the Red Bull Crate Diggers stage, where DJs were selected to rock a genre each had me catching the artist formerly known as Toni Toni Lee, Elston keeping it upbeat 80s disco. He even rocked my NYE jam, Aretha Franklin’s ‘Get It Right’… How did he know?

Back on the Centre Field stage Wiz Khalifa with his smoked-out hip hop was vibing the crowd with singalong ‘Young, Wild & Free’ as well as ‘23’ sans Miley, and ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ but I bailed before the infectious ‘Black and Yellow’.

It was a surprisingly smaller yet equally excited crowd than I expected for Solange, given both the strength of her EP True and her superstar sister. Equipped with a full band behind her, the set sounded more 90s nu-soul session than the genre’s prodigy, the on-trend Indie R&B, as the songs play on True. Her voice though is just as recorded, hitting all the perfect high notes live. And where her sister’s show is choreographed and planned within an inch of its life, Solange’s is far more free and easy with a charming stage presence, with a few tongue-in-cheek dance moves including that ‘put a ring on it’ hand gesture and a twerk (pictured, left) that made the ends of her long-assed braided weave bounce. Standouts were ‘Some Things Never Seem To Fucking Work’, ‘Lovers in the Parking Lot’ and of course ‘Losing You’ but the whole thing was great, if not a little short at around just seven songs, considering she has two records.

It’s rare a festival will let a local act close, as if, by paying the big bucks, an international guest is a bigger treat to fans than our local boy-done-good. But Flume closing the night’s official line up was less a bold statement by Fuzzy than a natural fit. As Harley (Flume) pointed out, at Field Day 2012 he was on at 12:45pm on the smaller Left Field Stage as a Triple J Unearthed representative. So it bookends the two-year rise of this 22 year old self-made man that he should close out the night. Tonight he played all his big dark and dubby singles like ‘Holdin On’, the warped ‘Insane’ the hip hop ‘On Top’ with the crowd lapping it up.

The Day officially ended there but for a suggestive ‘Happy Ending’. Just a moment after Flume finished, Chet Faker walked on stage, mic in hand, and Flume returned to his ‘Infinity Prism’ booth to play ‘Drop the Game’.

EMOH STAGEDIVE Field Day SydneyThen, To the right an extra DJ set up was wheeled out. Suddenly Corey Feldman Doppelganger and Dupstep heavyweight Skrillex appeared with Emoh Instead –who played earlier in the day with Flume as What So Not. The three producers tangled themselves up, knob twiddling and tweaking over each other through an array of trapped out remixes. Chet Faker threw a chair in the crowd and sliced orange directly at Yours Truly’s head (I’m still picking pulp from my ear), before he and Emoh Instead took respectable stage dives clearing the photographer’s pit and into a legion of girls and camera phones… And just as the unexpected chaos started, it ended.

Have a great 2014.



Words and pictures by Colin Delaney. See more photos over at our Facebook page.