Over the weekend passed The Domain in Sydney was host to what can safely be heralded as the crown jewel amidst the events making up the Red Bull Music Academy Weekender. Local darlings Flight Falicities joined forces with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to bring a lil’ classical music culture to our digitally inclined earholes.
Sydney turned up with a perfect spring evening and the team behind the event put together an incredible show. The rolling greens of the Domain were dressed up with bars, food stalls and fairy lights aplenty, all focusing in on the gargantuan stage that would hold a 90-piece orchestra and two pretty stoked producers. The crowd was beautifully eclectic, fresh faced millennials got their party on alongside seasoned music veterans and even a few cheeky senior citz who were down for some symphony on steroids.
After a few stellar warm up acts the crowd was willing and able to get down and funky to FF who took to the stage via an uber fancy rising platform and were met with thunderous applause. Things got off to a seriously retro start, there was thumping bass that had this reviewer feeling some serious Daft Punk (Random Access Memories in particular) vibes. Funnily enough this wasn’t a lone train of thought as a punter to the right yelled out, “PLAY GET LUCKY”.
The arrangements were of course, stunning. When things weren’t feeling funky, the horns and bass got to take a break and this made way for the strings to create transcendental melodies that simulated arpeggiated synths. At times the mix was just so, allowing old and new school to blend into a perfect musical storm. Sadly these moments were short lived…it’s incredibly difficult at the best of times to properly blend the levels of an orchestra against a type of music that is usually so aurally assaulting that nothing else cuts through. Add to this the fact that the sound engineers were working in an outdoor environment which is ALWAYS a thousand times more temperamental and some issues with sound quality can be forgiven.
Another element which felt somewhat lacking was the lineup of guest vocalists. True that nobody can sing Sunshine quite like Reggie Watts but there was still room to do something different, an expectation that fell somewhat short. The true shining moments were the orchestral introductions where strings and guitars worked against ambient samples and dropped into well known FF tracks, it did feel however that the Orchestra was not utilised to their full potential which is always a shame.
Regardless, as far as nights out go, this was one to remember. You’d be hard pressed to find anybody who didn’t have a smile plastered onto their face and that shows the true success of not only Flight Facilities & the SSO but also of Red Bull and Fuzzy for managing to put on such a huge and incident free event. For the first time in 2016, Sydney didn’t feel like a ghost town. Sydney has been in a really bad way of late when it comes to live music and nights like this are exactly what we need. Where new and old musical styles can be showcased and celebrated together in a safe, fun environment which SHOCK HORROR did not turn into some sort of liquor fuelled bloodbath…punters are perfectly capable of sinking a few and just enjoying some really cool music.