Festival Review: Future Music Festival - RNA Showgrounds, Brisbane (01.03.14)

Future Music Festival - one of Australia’s premier electronic music festivals - was a writhing pit of visceral pandemonium that began with tens of thousands of dance and electronic music fans thankful to the elemental gods for a day of blue skies. I knew, even before I entered, I was on a safari into the belly of a metaphorical shirtless, musical, beast on pills. Hashtag 'bulkin’ for Future.'

Finally making it through the gates I was bombarded with the expected plethora of scantily clad young ladies dressed to impress testosterone fuelled men who barely entered the festival before removing the standard festival “stringlet.”

Australian DJ’s including The Stafford Brothers and Timmy Trumpet started the day showcasing local talent; though the droves of punters didn’t take over the showgrounds until the big names came out to play. Knife Party’s Haunted House proved to be a massive success, with heavenly air conditioning and a dark abyss perfect for ridiculous audio-visual effects on top of the killer lineup.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis delivered an infectious set, albeit in an early time slot which came as a real surprise, as many claim he is one of the biggest artists in the world at the moment. Commanding stage presence, an empowering message promoting social consciousness in the anthem 'Same Love', and you’d be hard pressed to find someone not dancing - or at least tapping their foot - to the groovy riff of 'Thrift Shop.'

One of the biggest crowds of the day would have to go to Rudimental who pulled out a ridiculous lighting set up, enough to make an epileptic squeamish. With so many artists on the stage at any one time, the group had great control of the crowd and put on a solid set complete with mass sing-a-longs to popular tracks such as 'Not Giving In' and 'Feel The Love'. As the sun set over Brisbane city, a plethora of girls hoisted high on the closest male’s shoulder were a testament to good festival vibes.

At an electronic dance music festival, genre crossover Australian band Cut Copy felt a tad out of place but their efforts to take a severely diminished crowd to their happy, hippy wonderland should not be discouraged. Musically, Cut Copy have crafted something that reminds the punters that music is the biggest high you can get, ecstatic, euphoric and intense. Let’s hope Golden Plains is a better fit.

Closing the Safari stage, Phoenix performed a set that was as captivating and energizing as it was personal. Three times lead singer Thomas Mars climbed into the audience and to my delight clutched onto my hand for support; swoon.

The band’s performance and effortlessly cool demeanour never felt wasted on a shamefully scant audience as many punters chose to watch Deadmau5, Chase & Status or fellow Frenchman Gesaffelstein who all clashed for the headlining spot.

Opening with 'Entertainment', every song consumed the atmosphere and with digitised backdrop pieces for each song, the set was turned into a unique audio-visual spectacle enough to blow minds. Both parts of 'Love Like A Sunset' were a definite highlight, displaying the bands innovation and craftsmanship as they linked seamlessly. Mars ended the night in the crowd again, wanting to personally thank and shake the hand of every single person there. It’s hard not to get swept up in the climactic brilliance that is Phoenix; their live performance is something special.

I’ll end with a quote by Hunter S Thompson that I find sums up the experience eloquently: “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

With music the fuel, and Future Music Festival the chariot, punters looking forward to the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide dates are in for a treat.

Remaining Future Music Festival tour Dates

Saturday, 8th March
Royal Randwick Racecourse, Sydney
Tickets HERE

Sunday, 9th March
Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
Tickets HERE

Monday, 10th March
Adelaide Showgrounds, Adelaide
Tickets HERE