Congratulations, Future Music 2012. You have the distinction of being the loudest, craziest, dustiest and most in-yer-face music festival I’ve been to thus far. Nearly 30,000 people packed into Ellis Park on Monday, March 12 – proof enough that with the right day, the right venue and most importantly, a stellar line-up, revellers in Adelaide actually buy tickets to music festivals (take note, Big Day Out).
Boasting one of the most impressive line-ups I’ve ever seen crammed onto one bill, seeing every act I wanted to was downright impossible. Here were my Future Music 2012 picks:
Arguably the most poptastic (yes, it’s a word) addition to the line-up, the British singer began the festivities on the main Las Venus Stage. Looking less Lady Gaga and more Katy Perry with her long black ponytail, the 23 year old proved she can outsing them both. “Adelaide, this is the craziest crowd I’ve seen on this whole festival. You’re all pushing each other, throwing toilet rolls at each other, sitting on each other” she said. Hi Jessie, welcome to Adelaide. Songs ‘Do It like a Dude’, ‘Domino’, Abracadabra’ and ‘Price Tag’ were the perfect antidote to what would otherwise have been a whole day of heavy beats and grimy dubstep. Also spotted – the first (and only) hulahoop of the day, which Jessie brought out during ‘Price Tag’. Cute.
Gym Class Heroes
A consistent set. They’re lucky that current song ‘Ass Back Home’, featuring the wonderful Neon Hitch, is #1 in Australia, because the crowd seemed bored and disinterested. Hits ‘Cupid’s Chokehold’ and ‘Cookie Jar’ were fun enough, but it probably didn’t help that Neon Hitch wasn’t there to sing on the aforementioned track. (Dear Neon Hitch, get your ass back to Australia)
Chase & Status
Rihanna’s former co-producers brought their throbbing dubstep-meets-drum and bass to the main stage, and the pleasant addition of live percussion and acoustic guitar made this DJ set anything but run by numbers. Liam Bailey collaboration ‘Blind Faith’ was an obvious highlight, though the main stage crowd seemed to sing along to every word and shake to every wobbly bassline.
The Naked and Famous
With a set that didn’t deviate too much from 2011 Parklife (who cares, it was still great), Kiwi indie-pop group The Naked and Famous were as fun and bouncy as ever. Yes, ‘Young Blood’ and ‘Punching in a Dream’ will always be their failsafe festival closers, but when they sound this good, who’s complaining? Personal highlight of the day came when lead singer Thom unbuttoned the top button on his shirt towards the end of their set. It’s hard being indie, after all.
The current poster boy for EDM, the artist formerly known as Sonny Moore was an obvious draw card to this year’s festival, with a production all the more fitting for his brash, Americanized dubstep-lite. Futuristic stage and flamethrowers in tow, Skrillex made Future Music Adelaide dance. Well, ‘dance’ may not be the best word used when describing people’s body heaving to dubstep, but rest assured they were moving and certainly enjoying themselves; his remix of Nero’s ‘Promises’ and latest hit ‘Bangarang’ drawing the loudest cheers. All in all, a hilariously over the top and tongue-in-cheek antithesis to more recent and (conspicuously) less-slick club gigs.
British synth-poppers Friendly Fires were a less-obvious yet nevertheless welcome addition to the Flamingo Stage. Did you know they have a new album out? If you didn’t know before seeing them, you do now. The group played almost the entirety of their new album Pala, eschewing fan favourites for their more recent and electronic-influenced material.
To begin, the ever-lovely Tinie Tempah seemed to be heading down the Kanye West/Kid Cudi route; playing obscure album tracks and mixtape gems over his more well-known hits. Thankfully, I jumped the gun, and hits a plenty we got. As one of the UK’s brightest new talents, it’s a given that his set would be anything but ordinary. From opener ‘Disc-Overy’ to ‘Pass Out’, the rapper read the crowd like a book and gave fans just what they wanted.
The less said, the better. Playing virtually no hit singles during a 2 hour set at a music festival is one sure fire way to kill a crowd’s buzz. And looping the opening chords to ‘Praise You’ does not a hit make. It would have been a decent enough set from anyone else, but Fatboy Slim? Disappointing.
As for the night’s last acts, I was torn between New Order and Swedish House Mafia, but seeing that everyone would be flocking to the main stage to see SHM (and of course, discussing it the next day), I went for the less obvious pick.
Unlike, say Madonna’s inclusion at the Superbowl, New Order competing with so many huge (i.e. popular but less successful) names seemed odd. With a crowd half the size it should have been (blame SHM for that), I couldn’t help but feel pangs of guilt for the British electronic music icons. A somewhat anti-climatic end to the evening, but all in all, Future Music 2012? One festival definitely worth the price tag.