Future Music Review


by Melanie Dinjaski

With Brisbane experiencing its wettest summer in nearly forty years, Future Music Festival 2011 should be one hell of a mudfest – and it doesn’t disappoint. After just one hour I’d collected mud on my clothes, in my shoes, and in my eyes. This is gonna be a looong day.

First up, I check out what looks like an inflatable jumping castle, the V Energy Green Room. Here fluorescent UV paint must first be liberally applied before entering the glowing rave where I found Stretch on the decks warming up the Future Music faithful, who were dancing up a storm. Oh crap, they really did. It’s raining when I emerge.

On the Mazda2 Stage, Melbourne group Gypsy & The Cat are about to start their set. Kicking off with ‘Time to Wander’ the crowd are revelling in the rock/dance fusion, featuring many hits from debut album, Gilgamesh. It’s a surprise their angelic vocals don’t get lost in the festival setting, but instead absolutely boom from the stage. These guys are flawless live. Strong from start to finish. Come album number two, they will be huge. Stay tuned.

Off to the Main Stage and DJ Hook’n’Sling is busy keeping those awaiting Ke$ha entertained. The place is filling with people; I really can’t believe how far she’s gotten by ripping off Lady Gaga. From a distance I can see a figure emerge on the stage. The lack of pants can mean only one thing – Ke$ha is here. And so are her fans. They are loud and loving the opportunity of seeing her perform songs with lyrics such as, “Rat-a-tat-tat on your dum-dum drum, the beat’s so fat, gonna make me come.” Me? Err, not so much. ‘Nuff said.

Tame Impala are more my thing. The psychedelic bohemian rockers have become a summer festival staple and it’s not hard to see why. Crowd pleasers. No-one can say that they fall short live. They go through the motions, playing fan favourites including ‘Half Full Glass of Wine’ and ‘Solitude is Bliss’ and before long it’s over. Too soon if you ask me.

After a walk around the Doomben site, I’m just amazed at how much talent is on offer here. So many DJs, so much dancing, SO. MUCH. FUN.

I head back over to the Mazda2 Stage, where the one and only, Mark Ronson and The Business International are due. A musician/producer extraordinaire, is there anyone Mark Ronson hasn’t collaborated with? And all at the age of just 35 too. Astounding. Ronson and friends take the stage in matching stripe shirt/blue jacket combos, starting off with a longish instrumental piece, before jumping into ‘The Bike Song’ with Alex Greenwald and Spank Rock killing it on stage. A surprise is seeing the band perform the song Greenwald is most famous for writing, with his old band Phantom Planet – The OC theme song, ‘California’, to which the audience willingly sing along to. Ronson praises the crowd and after giving us a taste of his impressive DJ skills, they finish with the uber-hit ‘Bang, Bang, Bang’ featuring Amanda Warner rocking out in front. Just awesome.

The mob are now closing in on drawcard act, MGMT. Wearing a black cape and baseball cap (a strange combination if ever there was) lead singer Andrew VanWyngarden launches into ‘Brian Eno’. Watching from the grandstand, it’s clear that fans still haven’t embraced their newest album. Musically they play it right. But the favourites will always be ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Electric Feel’ and you get the feeling they will always suffer for their remarkable early success. When these older songs are heard, the audience instantly come to life. Which is more than can be said for the band. VanWyngarden and co. are near motionless with exception to guitar strumming and piano tinkling. For the old album, I suppose this is ok, but for newer, rockier tracks like ‘Song for Dan Treacy’ and ‘Flash Delirium’, the lack of passion from the band instantly put a dampener on each track. They peak early with old favourites, but fizzle out into an uneventful finish. In one word – disappointing.

Over at the Main Stage, the ground is slowly but surely sinking into a muddy abyss. I go in as far as I think humanly possible, to witness Dizzee Rascal in the process of getting the crowd ‘Bonkers’. As if he needed help. We’re all a little crazy for coming out in weather like this for ten hours! Jumping about on stage he works the crowd like no other. A fine performer.

Pendulum are pretty much renowned for their live set, and it’s not hard to see why. They’re like Australia’s answer to The Prodigy. Full of energy and gusto this band know how to put on a show. EVERYONE at Doomben was as the Mazda2 Stage when they stormed on. It feels like there is no standing room left! Their ABC News theme remix is met with huge screams of excitement – never has news been so cool. But without a doubt, the song that sets everyone off is ‘Slam’, and even those who are not necessarily fans, cannot help but get into that infectious synth and drum chorus.

I was heading back over to the Main Stage, when it became evident that sloppy Doomben Racecourse was just too much for this reviewer, finally calling it a night when a little airborne mud made it to my mouth. It’d be safe to assume that The Chemical Brothers were kickass anyway…


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