The flagship festival of two of Australia’s biggest promoters, Fuzzy and Future Entertainment, Summafieldayze (along with its Sydney counterpart Summadayze) is one of Australia’s most renowned festivals, held picturesquely right next to the Pacific ocean in Australia’s leading city for beaches, parties, bogans and crime, the Gold Coast.
This time around I decided that if you can’t beat them you should join them, and went in deep undercover disguise so that the festival bogans would accept me as their own. At times it worked almost too well.
After the usual shuttle bus trip with the usual loud drunk bogans, and through the usual awful Gold Coast traffic, we finally arrived at Southport Spit around 3pm, just in time for Metronomy.
Although the festival was still warming up, the band performed a great set, with a perfect mix of songs of their earlier, more experimental electronica, and the affable indie pop of their latest album The English Riviera. Lead singer Joseph powered through each song very respectably, Oscar added a touch of theatrical awkwardness on keys, their awesome bassist Gbenga didn’t help at all to dispel any stereotypes about african american bass players, and their drummer was just as good looking as she is in the music videos, if not always the best at keeping a steady beat [For a recording of She Wants click here, Tumblr appears to be having some issues embedding YouTube videos].
Following Metronomy was Flying Lotus. Although I’m a massive fan of his studio work, last time I saw him live I was thoroughly unimpressed (I have a feeling it may have been due to somewhat excessive marijuana intake before his show). But this time around he presented a set that was one of the surprise highlights of the festival, mashing up his own experimental, hip-hop influenced beats with bits and pieces from everywhere, spanning Drake to Mr Oizo. He then gave a lengthy monologue concerning specifics of his drug usage, lit up another cone on stage, and finished up with a hardstyle track that resulted in some of the most pronounced moshing of the festival. Inexplicably, the track didn’t even sound out of place.
We stayed on at the Field stage for the artist I was most looking forward to, Tiga. But despite him being one of my favourite DJs, I ended up being quite disappointed with the set, and left halfway through. I think he was of the mind that the Australian audience wouldn’t appreciate the more varied mixes he gives for European audiences and the like, and instead he just played a glut of bass-heavy techy electro. The saddest thing is he was probably right about Australian audiences, but I wasn’t feeling it at all.
Instead we headed over to the Indigo stage to see Sasha. The British legend’s set had the exact opposite effect on me to Tiga’s, I’d forgotten just how much I love Sasha’s unique blend of progressive house. Although the tent wasn’t tightly packed, there were more than a few fans who quite obviously felt the same way, and an enjoyable rave was had by all.
That is except for half of our small group, who I guiltily realised had been standing uninterestedly behind us for the last half hour. So we decided to switch up the pace and head over to the main stage to get a good spot for Snoop Dogg.
Unfortunately, we got there quite early and had to deal with Grandmaster Flash performing a DJ set. He presented his quick mix theory with the dismaying skill of one who’d forgotten to take their Ritalin, a mix interspersed with all-too-frequent voiceovers telling the crowd to sing along, or to put their hands in the air. To his credit, I will admit a majority the crowd seemed to be really into it, but maybe it’s because whenever people stopped singing loud enough he’d stop the music and yell at us.
Finally Grandmaster exited stage left, and after a short anticipatory change over, followed by a crescendoing audio visual intro, Snoop Dogg sauntered on stage to wild cheering, accompanied by a four piece band and back-up dancers. Yes, his mumbling into the microphone may have been barely discernable at times, and his set would doubtless leave Germaine Greer in tears; but there’s no denying that it was an enormously enjoyable show, and the crowd was whipped into a frenzy with hit after hit [for a video of Drop It Like It’s Hot click here]. After another short monologue on drug use, he finished his set fittingly with Young Wild & Free, and cleared the stage for the next headliner Calvin Harris.
Atop a massive bank of LED screens, backed up with steam cannons and sporting an array of high-powered lasers, Calvin looked quite the part for his first headline tour of Australia with his figurative DJing hat on. But after the first few electro house tracks, I could kind of see where that set was going to go for the next hour, and convinced the rest of our group of head off to see Justice. And none of us were disappointed in the slightest.
The French duo put on an awesome performance for the second stop of their new live show (the premiere being the night before in Sydney). Nothing changed drastically from the last incarnation of their live show; they incorporated a nifty new feature that saw their trademark bank of flashing equipment part down the middle at times to reveal a glowing podium and full-length keyboard, as demonstrated in the first part of D.A.N.C.E., and they added curtain of lights to surround their podium, reminiscent of the Chemical Brothers’ new show. And musically, a few tracks from their lambasted latest album fell predictably flat. But regardless, the crowd here were quite obviously having an awesome time, myself included, and if I had to pick a standout for audience response, Justice would take the cake [For a recording of Civilization click here].
We finished off the night with a sampling of Moby’s famed old school rave set (missing what sounded like an amazing show by Pendulum, but I thought I’d let my friends decide who to see last after I pressured them into ditching Calvin Harris for Justice), before heading back to our hotel to sleep off what was for the most part a spectacular evening.