As Sydney prepared to welcome in the New Year care of everyone’s favourite hangover cure/music festival Field Day, punters flocked to The Domain prepared for some less than friendly weather. Thankfully the rain largely stayed away with the exception of a few pleasant showers, as if Sydney’s often unpredictable weather gods were mercifully keeping those in attendance nice and cool on an otherwise hot day.
Those who were able to get themselves up and running early were put through their Paces by the Sydney producer, who was constantly called ‘the nicest guy in electronic music’ by his guests. Opening the day to a small but loving crowd, Paces set about kicking things off with a slew of tracks from his 2016 album Vacation complete with his dancers and awesomely summery and tropical new visuals. He also gave us a peak of a few new tracks including a soon-to-be released new single called
Punters had now begun to flood through the dates, with those indecisive people finally appearing to decide that the hair of the dog was the best option – and the majority grabbed a few tinnies and headed along to Client Liaison. The 80s-90s Australiana themed instrumental-electro outfit put on a hugely theatrical performance, including new choreography, Monte’s costume changes and new props. They also performed in front of a rolling visual feed including clips of them rolling down Flinders Street in their off-white limousine, Diner’s club cards, feeds from parliament and more.
After opening with Canberra Won’t Be Calling Tonight, the guys smashed through a perfect blend of their older hits and newer material from their incredible new album Diplomatic Immunity. Among others, Feeling, World Of Our Love, and That’s Desire – all the while continuing to perpetuate their unique performance style by throwing Foster’s to the crowd. Monte also acknowledged the traditional indigenous owners of the land before belting out a didgeridoo solo, and we also heard a rendition of Savage Garden.
The day was now in full swing, and the main stage was absolutely chockas full of those punters who had settled in for a mid-afternoon trio of sets by the likes of LDRU, SAFIA and What So Not. First came local boy LDRU, who continued to enhance his reputation as one of the best club and party DJs in Australia. He worked through a slew of trap bangers, future bass tracks and threw some of his own tunes in as well (which were undoubtedly the highlights, with Next To You a clear crowd favourite).
SAFIA then took up their now-traditional mid-arvo slot, putting on a live show that gets better and better every time they perform. Having released their debut album Internal last year, it was immediately clear that having a more extensive catalogue to choose songs from has been hugely beneficial to the Canberran trio – whose trippy rolling visuals continue to be paramount to the experience. Some of the best crowd singalongs of the whole day came via a steady stream of their bigger hits including Make Them Wheels Roll, Listen To Soul, Listen To Blues and Embracing Me – the latter during which the elusive sun decided to make a rare appearance.
A short bathroom/drinks/food break was then taken by those who boldly thought they could make it back into the mosh for What So Not – who after headlining a bunch of festivals this year played a rare late afternoon set. For those that could secure a vantage point, they were treated to the most exciting set of the afternoon, as WSN plugged banger after banger after banger. It was everything we’ve come to expect from the consummate professional – with the set reaching a clear peak with his remix of RUFUS track Innerbloom.
As night fell, most punters began to split themselves between sets by big players Hermitude and Alison Wonderland – but those brave enough headed to dubstep/underground bass party boy Getter who lit up the Left Field stage with one of the filthiest sets in known memory. To describe Getter’s sound, it’s almost as if he saw the majority of the electronic industry move away from dubstep and just said ‘fuck it, how ridiculously deep can I take this genre than everyone else thinks is dead.’ Well I can tell you as long as Getter is producing and performing, dubstep will never die.
Belting out filthy drop after disgustingly filthy drop, the LA producer churned out some amazing remixes of Skrillex and Marshmello, cut between his own incredible original tracks including highlights What The Frick and Rip And Dip. Armed with a blow-up Kangaroo and mind-melting visuals, he was joined by Vine star and good mate Nick Coletti who crowd surfed and partied with the punters as rain aptly began to fall a little heavier. And just when you thought you’d seen it all, he busted out a Blink 182 remix, followed by a dubstep remix of Enya’s Sail Away – wrapping up a truly unforgettable set.
Finally, it was time for back to back sets from headline acts we’d all come to Field Day to see; Chance The Rapper and Childish Gambino. Taking the penultimate slot on the main stage, 2016’s hottest act Chance brought an incredibly musical performance to ring in 2017, with his band consisting at various times of horns, live drums, keys, and various other instruments. Across his various harder hitting hits like All Night and No Problem – it was hard to go past the gorgeous, playful interplay between his vocals and the other live instruments on his more understated tunes.
Angels was simply phenomenal, so much so that he performed it once again for the encore. It was a ripping Australian debut for Chance – and despite the fact that he appeared to be struggling with his voice in the back end of the set; it was everything we expected from Chance and more.
Given that Chance was arguably the best hip-hop act of 2016, it felt slightly odd that he was opening for Childish Gambino instead of the other way around but it's also hard to deny Gambino's appeal in Oz. He brings the masses but this was the first time many of us were seeing him perform songs from Awaken, My Love and ultimately detour away from his rap work. Opener Me And Your Mama was a cracking start, showcasing the power of his soulful voice backed by a band that gave him extra grunt. In fact, every song off the album, from Redbone to Riot, sounded stunning, even making his tracks from Because The Internet sound second rate. It's hard to deny the power of 3005 in the live arena but it also doesn't feel entirely necessary in his set anymore. Awaken, My Love from start to finish may have even been more powerful.
All photos by Ben Cvoro.