The year 2014 began with our very own Field Day festival, an event that is fast becoming a New Year’s institution for Sydneysiders. Field-dayers seeped in from the underground train stations in the early afternoon and arrived at the otherwise dead city. In fact, the public holiday brought Sydney the closest it has ever come to silence.
Revelers marched toward The Domain with an enthusiasm that echoed the messy states from the night before. Sleepless, sensitive to sunlight, and head pounding, Fieldy’s defied hangover logic and headed toward the noise for the second leg of their 2013/14 New Year’s party.
The festival included the likes of Flume, A$AP Rocky, Flux Pavilion, What So Not, Wiz Khalifa, Chet Faker, Hermitude, London Grammar, and Alison Wonderland. Festival organisers Fuzzy certainly extended themselves with an impressive array of talent on the bill.
Alison Wonderland blasted punters out of their bleariness with three energetic DJ sets on the Centre Stage. The Sydney DJ’s set was filled with hip hop bangers and RnB jams from the last couple of decades, going heavy on the beats with tunes such as Danny Brown’s monster track ‘Dip’ and the Yeezus favourite ‘New Slaves’. She didn’t leave behind the 90s either, adding the likes of R. Kelly, Outkast, and Fatboy Slim to the mix. Wonderland performs with an infectious enthusiasm that a lot of DJs can’t match, beaming and bouncing her way through a dynamic set.
The DJ teased the audience with what’s to come from her new release by bringing out the boys from Fishing to perform vocals on her banger ‘Get Ready’, spawning an earworm of a chorus and some nimble work from the Fishing lads.
Perth beat-maker Ta-ku upped the pace of the festival and blew up the Island Stage mid afternoon with his bass-dripping DJ set. The massive turnout for the artist was a sign of his growing enormity in the Aussie music scene, and perhaps also a result of his limited live dates. Playing a number of remixes in amongst his own tracks, Ta-Ku took plenty of time to show his appreciation of the fans (and Drake) during his set.
The New Year brought with it plenty of new music for fans, with many artists using the festival as a launching pad for their fresh tunes. Chet Faker found himself a winner with his dancey new one ‘1998’, which has an easy, up-tempo groove that gelled well with Faker’s rich voice and seductive vibe.
Hermitude built upon the success of their AIR (Australian Independent Record Association) Award, Australian Music Prize, and J Award-winning album HyperParadise with a nameless new track they described as “Mariachi Trap”. The tune combined the always-catchy mariachi horns with some serious beat work that upped the ante of the party as the afternoon became night.
On the main stage, Hermitude proved to everyone why they are one of the best live acts in the country with a set of instrumental hip hop bangers. The duo closed their show with the massive track ‘The Villain’. Just go see these guys, like, seriously.
Harlem superstar A$AP Rocky played a monster set that was the highlight of the day, starting slow with some LiveLongA$AP tunes before ramping it up with smashes like the set closer ‘Fuckin’ Problems’, and arguably the most mental song of the day, ‘Wild For The Night’. The aforementioned track drew a slew of guests on stage and a raucous mosh pit in the field, which took it out of many in attendance.
With dexterous rapping, easy charm, and love of a good party, A$AP Rocky showed Aussie audiences, once again, that he is the consummate showman. In a conscientious moment, the rapper paused from hyping up the crowd between songs to check on the welfare of a fan. The performer was concerned that the fan was choking, not getting back into proceedings until he was sure he was okay.
Bringing a more laidback mood to the early evening was weed rapper and hook maestro Wiz Khalifa. His ultra chill vibe resonated over the entire main field. The hip hop artist played his popular tracks ‘Black And Yellow’, ‘Roll Up’, and ‘Young, Wild And Free’, inviting easy dancing and lots of singing. Even punters passing by were not immune to the charm.
Flux Pavilion played a set adored by the EDM heads in the crowd. The DJ/producer showed off a melodic side that many, especially those who knew him for his lawnmower bass on tracks like ‘Daydreamer’ and ‘I Can’t Stop’, weren’t aware of.
The festival’s headliner Flume lamented his meteoric rise during his set, saying that two years ago he was the opening act on the smallest stage at Field Day. The reflection exemplified his rise from bedroom producer to multiple ARIA Award winner.
Flume, performing behind his signature hexagon of light, began his set with the dramatic, cascading, piano-driven ‘Intro’ from the deluxe edition of his debut album. The beatmaker had the crowd in great spirits – rocking, dancing, and contorting with his roomy synths and jerky rhythms while singing back hooks.
In news that will excite many, the 22-year-old brought out a spacey new instrumental that was adventurous, nestling nicely in between his other songs.
Highlights included ‘Insane’ featuring Killer Mike, the ARIA-nominated Song Of The Year ‘Holdin On’, and ‘Sleepless’, with its chopped and screwed Jezzabel Doran chorus that never fails to please. Flume capped off his set and the main part of the festival with his good mate Chet Faker, playing ‘Drop The Game’ as the encore.
Afterwards the crowd were treated to an impromptu DJ set from Flume, Emoh Instead, and surprise guest Skrillex – a group dubbed the “Australian Beat Mafia”. The trio played jams such as Rage Against The Machine’s ‘Guerilla Radio’ until they were shut down by the organisers. Overall, a great end to a fantastic Field Day.