Shrouded by the impossibly large crowd squeezing through Gate 1 at The Riverstage (7 January), my first thought upon entering FOMO was admittedly, ‘Not my scene’.
Although I’m generally open to all genres of music, trap and rap fall around the middle of my preference spectrum and I felt out of depth surrounded by so many passionate fans. “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” “Panda, Panda, Panda!” – brought to you by Desiigner, who proved as terrible live as his recent EP, 'New English', though undeniably entertaining to watch; his manic facial expressions and wild dancing managed to distract from the fact that he was doing very little rapping.
Desiigner - image © Sophie Wakefield
His three-time repeat of mega hit 'Panda', was so amusing I convinced myself he was an artist I simple loved to hate; though the announcement of his re-appearance at an after party triggered enough excitement to make me realise I actually hated to love him; ‘so bad it’s good’ at its finest.
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It’s hard to believe SLUMBERJACK are only fresh faces on Australia’s electronic music scene; the duo’s sizzling set was testament to the fact that even early in their career, the boys have well and truly established a sound that is theirs and theirs only, nestling themselves nicely into the beginning of what’s sure to be a huge few years of music ahead.
Slumberjack - image © Sophie Wakefield
SLUMBERJACK produce tracks that challenge existing genres, each song showcasing so much variety it’s exciting to consider what else could be in store. 'Hours' in particular was an absolute killer, 'RA' close second.
GoldLink captivated the crowd with a solid performance, tunes smooth and rhymes honest, compelling and emotive; his ability to lace '90s-style hip hop with house music (a sound he self-coins ‘future bounce’) paved the way for a stellar dancefloor.
GoldLink - image © Sophie Wakefield
Next, Metro Boomin effortlessly asserted his high reputation and experience as a producer, with a back-to-back line-up of banger releases. Situated in the heart of the mosh-pit during JME’s performance, the surrounding fan base was a fervent, throbbing force, increasingly frenzied as the set progressed. I was taken aback by JME’s fierce intensity while rapping; it was hard to tear away from his piercing gaze and unwavering eye contact with the crowd, lyrics echoed word for word by his loyal following.
Metro Boomin - image © Sophie Wakefield
I’ve been a big fan of Peking Duk’s gigs in the past and their FOMO appearance proved to be no exception; those lads have perfected the art of shaping an act with highs, lows, twists, and turns, jam-packing their unpredictable sets with so many party anthems ('The Lion Sleeps Tonight', for example: “Come on everyone, let’s get spiritual!”) the hour just flies by.
What might be most entertaining is their unbelievable energy; watching the two of them flail about ballistically behind the decks is as infectious as it is amusing. 'High' was my number one tune of 2014 and a wicked way to close. If I could choose to party with anyone in the world, it would be those boys, without a doubt.
Empire Of The Sun - image © Sophie Wakefield
While Empire Of The Sun was originally my top choice on the FOMO line-up, their arrival to the stage almost felt unfitting among the previous acts. The lengthy change-over gap definitely quietened the crowd, and many remained seated throughout their performance. Stage set-wise, the quality is unparalleled, infused with so much colour and costume it’s wild to consider the bizarre ways their minds must work.
Occasionally, the gig even got a little too weird, space between songs stretched out with strange voiceovers and videos. Despite this, 'Alive' is my pick of most-magical moment of the festival, played while dancing in the mosh-pit (which was surprisingly spacious) and showered by a downpour of rainbow confetti.
Image © Sophie Wakefield
Flosstradamus’ set was mindblowing; an hour of relentless trap music dictated by well-produced drops and rises that kept the crowd on their toes, tied in with unexpected remixes and steered by J2K’s natural ability to hype an audience. ‘Heavy’ is an understatement; the performance was impossibly rattling, remorseless and ruthless, re-writing whatever standards are currently set for trap music and raising the bar to whole new levels.
Flosstradamus - image © Sophie Wakefield
Besides the frustratingly long bar lines, set lengths a touch too long (debatable) and an annoying air-horn soundtrack that rang incessantly, FOMO was practically faultless. The sound quality was admirable, and the venue was unreal; viewers could watch the artists from anywhere they stood and despite being a sell-out event, there was still plenty of space for movement.
One stage truly does eradicate the stress of relocating from one place to the next, eliminating one major fault of most festivals and allowing for more time to socialise, sit back, and boogie. While the music in itself was enough to fuel an afternoon of rampant dancing, it was the crowd that took the atmosphere to new heights; people definitely feed off the energy projected by others and among that audience was a whole lot of dynamite to chew on.
Image © Sophie Wakefield
With the demise of Stereosonic, FOMO is a festival that Australia needs; one that I certainly didn’t expect to find myself a fan of. Yet here I am, writing this review to the sweet sounds of GoldLink. ‘Not my scene’, my ass.
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