Live Review: Field Day

Originally published through Tone Deaf

field day

Is the best cure for the morning after a big night simply to carry on?

Almost 20, 000 Sydneysiders put this hypothesis to the test last Tuesday, trusting in their sunglasses and the efficiency of the Red Bull stand to carry them through 2013’s first, and definite contender for best, party.

New Years Eve stories were put on hold and consequences delayed for another 24 hours, as the young and beautiful flocked to the Domain for Field Day.

Besides, there is no such thing as being too hungover to dance to Hot Chip.

As somewhat of a walking novelty, the prospect of seeing 90s rapper Coolio perform live was attractive, if only for nostalgic reasons.

It’s a shame then, that he was irritatingly out of synch with his backing instrumentation, and also seemed out of breath. ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ was the anticlimax to end all anticlimaxes, a mess of saxophone and samples playing at completely different times, and more shouting of “field daaaaaaaaay!” than actual rapping. A little past his prime, perhaps.

The weather gods were kind enough to bless the first day of the year with impeccable sunshine, which became a baking heat when stranded in front of the Centre Field.

Respite came in the form of the leafy, fairy garden paradise of the Forrest Stage, which played host throughout the festival to the cream of the crop of local DJs.

Here, Sosueme DJs mashed classics from Kendrick Lamar to Dolly Parton in a set of infectiously fun remixes, alongside a healthy injection of cheek. “Watch out ladies, this one might make you pregnant!” being one choice quote.

Over at Left Field the pixie-like figure of Maya Jane Coles sent waves of deep house into the crowd with quietly calm confidence. Booka Shade’s eclectic vocal whoops and bouncing, hollow synth – along with some truly impressive percussion – seemed to be having a hypnotic affect on their audience; before AraabMUZIK’s teeth shaking, mind bending dubstep took things up a notch across the park.

As expected, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ glittery, feather light electronica was a delight, built off the strength of wildly popular tracks like ‘Household Goods’ and ‘Garden.’

He wasn’t dressed in quite as an elaborate garb as he is renowned for (being native American headdress free), and instead draped himself in a deep orange poncho and shimmering pastel shirt.

Bubbles floated through the air while dancers dressed as pianos, gold-tailed animals and flowing purple butterflies writhed on stage, before the producer born Orlando Higginbottom signed off with a coolly nonchalant “Happy new year.”

Right before Hot Chip took to the stage, it emerged that their equipment had become lost somewhere in between Tasmania and Sydney, and they would instead be performing a DJ set for their assembled fans.

Yes, so it wasn’t what the crowd was expecting – but this mix of spaced out, vaguely wistful melodies, loveably dirty lyrics (“I’m skanking’”), and tinny beats was still one of the highlights of the day.

A remix of (Hot Chip member) Joe Goddard’s gorgeous solo track ‘Gabriel’ even played a part, in front of an AV show of glowing pastels, stark neon and blotchy splashes of primary colour.

On top of this electronic spectacular, it was then announced organisers had managed to extend the festival by half an hour, and the band would actually be able to perform their live set at the very end – meaning festival-goers would be treated to double the Hot Chip they had originally anticipated. Qantas’ incompetence: 2013’s first blessing in disguise.

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