For me, Field Day began at centre stage with local electronic prodigy, Kilter, getting the patrons warmed up for the massive day ahead. Clearly very, very talented, it’s going to be quite interesting to see how good he is in a few years when he can properly command a full crowd.
Next up was Sydney hip-hop duo, Thundamentals, who in my opinion had one of the best local rap albums of 2014. I think, unfairly to them though, they were given the biggest stage early on during the day, and just aren’t quite ready for that yet. Technically and musically they were very impressive, which will work in their favour when they truly breakthrough further up the set list.
Salt N Pepa:
This brought us to 3pm, which only meant one thing: the most bootylicious tandem (figuratively and literally), this side of the animal kingdom. Salt N Pepa absolutely killed it; their years of experience proving too much for this impressionable crowd. Credit to, DJ Spinderella, who really set the tone with her medley of crowd pleasing classics. Smells Like Teen Spirit, Jump Around, People Everyday, Sweet Child of Mine, Uptown Funk, and DMX just to name a few, collectively got the crowd off their feet.
This only amplified the disappointment that followed with Brooklyn Phenom, Joey Bada$$. Entering to a rapturous applause, Joey admirably attempted to perform, only for onlookers to hear that he’d completely lost his voice and was reduced to growling his rhymes. That was all we’d hear from him as his PR team promptly cancelled the rest of the show.
Somewhat serendipitously, this offered us a well-deserved reprieve and chance to regroup, and refuel. Our schedule then led us to the left stage, which was the short term home of German electronic-folk group, Milky Chance. The bass tearing through the speakers was far too prominent. Thankfully, two songs in, this issue was resolved and the crowd heard just how ludicrously talented these boys are. Near faultless in their execution, we were treated to some of the most interesting and compelling music out there at the moment. Without a doubt, a very tough act to follow.
If anyone could rise up to the challenge, it’s the boys in the One Day crew; and rise up they did. Rapidly earning a reputation for being exceptional live, New Years Day was seen as no public holiday. Missing members, Raphe and Kai from, Jackie Onassis, One Day did as One Day does and just made do, pushing through anyway. Opening with the title track from the debut album, Mainline, each member took their turn spitting lines and pumping up the already passionate crowd. Joyride was a particular highlight, displaying many talents he holds in his arsenal. He sang like an angel, bossed the samplers, rapped with bravado and even played the guitar for their headline track, Love Me Less; which as per usual absolutely slayed everyone in attendance. No praise is enough for these boys at the moment; surely centre stage is only a matter of time.
Upon One Day’s completion, a sprint to centre stage was in order as sounds of Rufus’ opener, Tonight, was travelling over. Needless to say, the horde of onlookers didn’t wait for us, as the thousands squashed together were all bouncing and loving every second. It needs to be said that it’s not always easy for clean dance music of this ilk to project and capture an audience, outdoors on a stage of that magnitude, but Rufus did a spectacular job as they had everyone enthralled until the very last beat. Sun dream was a particular highlight; the mid-song soft breakdowns, proving distinctly euphoric.
Thirty minutes was given for people to collect themselves before the next act, which for me only meant a single thing; gaps. As the crowd split off to go rest or have a drink, I was hitting every gap I saw, making my way right to the front, centre stage, for my most eagerly anticipated artist of the festival: SBTRKT. Home study had taught me that what I was about to see would be unlike anything I’d heard from him before. Retuning and improvising seamlessly and relentlessly, SBTRKT killed it from the very first second and was the standout of the day in my opinion. Opening with his recent hit, NEW DORP. NEW YORK. it was immediately clear that he had no interest conforming to the norms, performing somewhat of a remix, which came out in my opinion, better than the original. Absolutely nothing was prerecorded, as every single beat was performed live, meticulously and perfectly. On stage he had with him, a drummer, a keyboardist/percussionist, and singer/good friend/very frequent collaborator, Sampha. Sampha sounded heavenly, and proved the ultimate contrast for SBTRKT’s incredible experimentation, particularly on my personal highlight, Temporary View, which may be my pick for song of the day. For the entire hour plus show, I stood in awe, watching this tribal masked genius, school everyone watching on how to create music. Surrounded by synthesizers, samplers, and live instruments, SBTRKT was completing an artwork in front of my very eyes, layered, intrinsic, complex, and absolutely awesome. I’d got my money’s worth there and then.
The perfect end to an exceptional day.
Josh Di Matteo