Field Day 2011 - The Domain (01.01.11)

As another New Years Eve came and went, so too did the sold out Field Day Festival party that follows it. In its 10th year, Field Day produced what was easily its most impressive lineup to date – and under a scorching hot Summer sun, it produced an equally impressive day.

Having made my tracks back from similar weather conditions at Peats Ridge Festival, it would be fair to say that I arrived at Field Day even more exhausted and hungover than in previous years. But I was quickly swayed into consciousness by Yuksek, who had taken over the main stage with an as usual outstanding DJ set. Having last experienced the Frenchman at Splendour 2009, I was once again treated to a set as impressive as it was fun. This man knows how to get the party started.

The Rapture followed on the main stage, opening with “Pieces of the People we Love” and running through a string of their hits and fan favourites from all their albums. With a new record ready to be popped out later this year, they also threw in new track “Sail Away (With You)”. “Olio”, which preceded set closer “No Sex For Ben” featured an extended, impressive electro jam, and as usual, they had a set full of high energy, cowbell and saxophone. A truly enjoyable set from the New Yorkers.

While The Rapture were jamming, Marina and the Diamonds impressed audiences on The Island stage, where Public Enemy would later close out the night. Having seen Marina back in March in Texas, I must say her set has been taken up to a new level since then. Having grown in confidence on the stage, her and her Diamonds put on a show with ridiculous levels of energy and enthusiasm, with her songs translating terrifically in the festival environment. “Shampain” was of particular mention from the short part of the set I had the pleasure of experiencing.

The music continued over on the Left Field stage with Jamaica taking to the stage. This was definitely the “rock and roll” portion of the day, at least from my experiences, with French duo Antoine Hilaire and Flo Lyonnet in full band mode. While I didn’t see the whole set, from the tail end of it I experienced something with quite a harder edge than what we experience on the electro-pop-rock focused records.

Duck Sauce – aka Armand Van Helden and A-Trak – meanwhile, were killing it on the main stage, with a massive inflatable duck on board to help them out in what was only their second live gig ever. Of course, “Barbara Streisand” was the party starter of the set, and came fairly early on (while it reappeared briefly towards the end), while single “aNYway” was among several tracks off of their Greatest Hits album keeping the crowd on their feet. Meanwhile, Vampire Weekend’s Baio was AWOL, instead replaced by Purple Sneakers DJs, who put on their standard set of excellent song choices. Tame Impala followed, and

As the Duck Sauce set drew to a close, I made my way to the front of the main stage to see one of my favourite bands: Klaxons. Having never missed a Klaxons gig in Sydney, I wasn’t about to start now, and I threw my dancing shoes on and prepared myself for a good time. While I felt they had trouble, at times, resonating with the crowd, the set was pure pop rock perfection. Keeping banter to a minimum, they poured through a huge number of tracks in their hour long set – jumping straight into it with “Atlantis to Interzone” and closing the show off, appropriately, with “It’s Not Over Yet”, as fireworks filled the screens behind them.

I made my way over to Peaches next and caught the last couple of minutes of what seemed to be a fairly theatrical production to say the least – as Peaches (dressed in a boob suit) jumped around and mixed up the set, her equally eccentric dancers kept things interesting behind her. Quality entertainment.

It was in the name of Sleigh Bells that I’d made my way to this stage, however, and as bells rung out from the wall of speakers, the American duo slammed onto the stage with energy that never let up. They opened with “Tell ‘Em” and closed with personal favourite “Crown in the Ground”. They filled the in between with tracks of Treats such as “Kids”, “A/B Machines”, “Infinity Guitars” and of course “Rill Rill”. I couldn’t think of a better band to have launched 2011 for so many of us.

One of the many hidden gems at the festival were Norway’s Casiokids (Mystery Jets, Neon Indian and Zombie Disco Squad were among the others, all of whom I unfortunately missed due to clashes and/or arriving late). The band gave off a similar vibe to Sigur Ros in their vocal styles and the fact that you never had any idea what they were saying – but it was far more along the electro rock edge.

Art Vs Science were next on the main stage, provided with a surprisingly short set to run through their hits, and give us a taste of what to expect from their new album in “Bumblebee”. Although the sound left quite a lot to be desired from my location (a trend of the day to be honest), they put on an as usual impressive show which saw the crowd – for lack of a better phrase – “lose their shit”. However, here’s hoping the full length goes a bit deeper than “Bumblebee” – the song ain’t great.

Justice were given the honour of closing the main stage, while Trentmoller and Public Enemy closed out their respective stages. As he’d shown at Peats Ridge Festival the night before, Trentmoller, in full band mode, put on one of the most surprisingly impressive shows of the festival. Public Enemy meanwhile, gave us quality track after quality track – primarily off of Fear of a Black Planet. They also had quite a lot to say in between tracks. Chuck D: “It’s not the size of the stage that counts… it’s how you use it” (as the sounds of Justice drifted through the air). Flava Flav: “Thank you for making Flava Flav the number one reality star of the decade!” (He then jumped onto a platform in front of the crowd as his giant clock bounced from side to side). These guys know how to put on an entertaining, engaging show, and wouldn’t have disappointed the crowd. They certainly didn’t me.

I finished my night with Justice, who were killing it to the biggest crowd of the day. Of course, “D.A.N.C.E” was the hit of the set, but they reminded us all of the quality of their 2007 album . Yes it has been over 3 years since Justice dropped that iconic track, which they have toured relentlessly since – adding plenty of new tracks to the repertoire, which we were able to enjoy tonight. Having watched live videos of the duo, as well as their DJ sets on YouTube over the years, I can’t help but feel we got a little bit ripped off when it came to the presentation of the show – the sound wasn’t great and the light show wasn’t as spectacular as in the footage I’ve seen. So Daft Punk they may not be – but were they great fun? Hell yes they were.

Running off the fumes of adrenalin, it was difficult for me to immerse myself in all that was Field Day. I don’t recommend bouncing off the back of a camping festival to attend. But with a line up this good, and a day this fun, it was definitely worth it. And just a word to promoters – please ditch the whole amateur “MC” thing next year, it totally didn’t work.


The Rapture: Piece of the People we Love / Get Myself Into It / The Devil / Killing / Whoo! Alright - Yeah...uh Huh / House of Jealous Lovers / Echoes / Open Up Your Heart / Sail Away (With You) (New) / Olio / No Sex For Ben

Klaxons: Atlantis to Interzone / Flashover / The Same Space / As Above, So Below / Gravity’s Rainbow / Golden Skans / Twin Flames / Valley of the Calm Trees / Two Receivers / Magick / Cypherspeed / Echoes / It’s Not Over Yet

Art Vs Science: Friend in the Field / Higher / Bumblebee / Parlez Vous Francias / Find Our Way / Flippers / Magic Fountain