Festival Review: Listen Out - Ozone Reserve, Perth (27.09.15)

The sun was out for the Perth leg of EDM boutique festival Listen Out this weekend, and with a long weekend on and a lineup that made it the first city to sell out it seemed as if everything had aligned.

Triple J Unearthed winners for Perth GRRL PAL opened the festival on the 909 stage, getting the crowd dancing with their bright colourful electro-pop, and playing a polished cover of SBTRKT’s “Wildfire” midway through their set. Basenji followed showcasing some new tracks to the building crowds and filling the warm weather vibes with his tropical beats. The festival fashion was already on display with some lads in sparkly party hats while another lady rocked them Daria socks.

Client Liaison took over the Atari stage with their usual otherworldly 80’s stylings and outrageous confidence. Even if that sing-from-your-lungs epic classic synth isn’t for you there is no doubting those boys go a hundred percent on showmanship.ILoveMakonnen and Rae Sremmurd were a little flat as the crowds were well and truly in. However an overwhelming opinion was beginning to form as I passed a notebook around to punters, and showed the only real disadvantage of a river venue in the spring - ”Eating bugs for proteinz!”. The midgies were coming in fast.

ODESZA had the first great light show of the day, taking advantage of the fading afternoon as a kaleidoscope of visuals combined with their ethereal tracks. There were bodies on shoulders everywhere. Looking out over the festival the atmosphere was buzzing, there were the groups hanging by the fence on their phones, the VIPs parading their lanyards giving a smile to their brethren and those keen on the environment collecting cans for drink tokens.

As I said last year Listen Out really surprised me with how well it pulled off downsizing without losing any of its value. There were delicious food trucks galore and I all about sprinted when I heard there was one selling pulled pork burgers (heaven). The VIP area was a cozy chillout zone with short bar lines, toilet lines and free cloak room. And overall the most annoying thing of the day was some chicks on shoulders in the front of the crowd and some bugs, which is pretty damn good as far as festivals go.

Alison Wonderland hit the ground running, smashing out an explosive set featuring songs from her latest release, I am still left a little disappointed these don’t have more of a live performance element to them but maybe in the future that will develop.

SBTRKT held a quiet entrance in his crown as he walked out onto the 909, spinning out some deep vibes as he worked the three piece set up. This was the rowdiest the crowd got all night as I managed to score both a cigarette burn and a refreshing drink thrown over the front row.

Childish Gambino came out on Atari and was straight up brilliant from start to finish, playing all the favourites from Because The Internet and his latest releases as he ran across the Atari stage. I doubt there was anyone that wasn’t left mesmerized by the set as he bounced around wild, the crowd spitting lyrics along with him. When it came time for the encore the noise from the floor was crazy and the last song just as fiery.

The lights went out and people flooded for the water stations, the effort to walk through the city in search of transport afterwards was as brutal as I remembered, but it didn’t matter. We had seen some amazing acts with Donald Glover definitely being the highlight.

Listen Out continues around Australia over the long weekend. For more details head here: