Sunday 8th of September @ The Carriageworks, Redfern
FBi Radio has been a stalwart of promoting forward thinking music for approximately the past 10 years. Try to think of another Australian radio station that has it’s finger to the pulse of music more so than FBi. It is impossible. Because FBi is committed to carving out delicious hunks of flesh that the Australian music scene has to offer. If you’re underground and independent, but you have the music that should send you skyrocketing to stardom, FBi can probably help you out. Just ask some of the alumni that have graduated from the grainy speakers of beat up automobiles the country over, to giant stadiums. The Presets, Hermitude, Cloud Control, and Urthboy are just a few of the massive acts that can thank FBi for that helping hand. And on FBi’s 10th Birthday spectacular at the Carriageworks, all of these acts and more were there to give back to the best of their ability. And by fuck-knizzles was it a good show.
A bunch of locals where the first of many amazing musical treasures to be caught that day. Opening with Movement, the recent Future Classic signees, was a pleasure to see. They were warm and receptive of the minimum attention from hungover crowd that had come down early to catch their set. Although not wild in any sense, Movement were still engaging, and their amazeballs cover of ‘Ms Jackson’ by Outkast didn’t just go down a treat…it was a festival highlight. The day then progressed to a bunker, in which some serious noise was gargled forcibly down your throat. Zeahorse played an electrifying set. I didn’t know what to expect from the band, other than that their song ‘Pool’ is badass, but instead I got a truly ferocious feat of punk. The bass lines that this band can muster could go head to head with any Sabbath track, and the unadulterated rage that the band brought to the stage was mind blowing. I came to that show a cautious spectator, and left an undying fan. Straight Arrows had the job of following this belying dumbbell to the kidneys of a show, but they only raised the bar. Owen Penglis proved himself to be the Lux Interior of contemporary society, stalking the stage with retarded glee. He’s both taking the piss of himself and exuding over-the-top enthusiasm for his craft of creating the best garage rock n roll this side of the universe. Not to be outdone, guitarist Alex Grigg was equally captivating, jumping around like a frog on meth. Songs with full on, tidal choruses like ‘Bad Temper‘ and the new single ‘Never Enough’ went down the best, the crowd frothing to the best of their ability at 2 o clock on a Sunday arvo. Following these two high energy performance was the inimitable Kirin J Callinan. Not about to be overshadowed by a couple punks, watching the weirdo was like a Sydney re-invention of Kraftwerk. Dressed in a zebra meets Doppler Effect jumpsuit, and followed by two similarly robed henchmen, Kirin J Callinan put on a mesmerising and disturbing performace. Guitar feedback, loops and a general fuckery of the senses was the call of duty from the performance. From the get-go, Mr. Callinan indulged the crowd in their most fucked-up desires in only the way a guy that thinks onstage epilepsy is be a good idea could. An overall electrifying start to the day.
Let it be said that Deep Sea Arcade cannot do a bad show. They are the Australian version of the UK arena rock spectacular bands like Kasabian. They take the crowd into the palm of their hand from the beginning of the show, using the age old tricks of rock n roll (loud guitars, onstage prancing, a sound that allows the crowd to sway with happy detachment from normalcy) to transform their small stage in Bay 20 of the Carriagworks into a full throttle rock show. Showing off songs new and old, Deep Sea Arcade had a thronging, adoring crowd lapping up every second of their performance. ‘Black Cat’, ‘Girls’, and ‘Steam’ were all particularly explosive points of the set, but the band have encapsulated a riotous spirit onstage that would make The Rolling Stones fart storms of dust in jealousy. Unfortunately, Naysayer & Gilsun didn’t make their scheduled appearance. A disappointment permeated my soul like I haven’t felt since earlier that day, when I ran out of drink tokens within half an hour of being at the event. Still, there was a silver lining-I got to catch the end of The Preatures set. After way too much repetitive doof doof in Bay 17, The Preatures afforded some much needed laid-back soul infused rock. ‘Is This How You Feel?’ has warmed up to me exponentially since I first heard it a couple months ago, so hearing it live was like dousing my head in the mythical waters of Babylon.
The festival only got better and better from that point, as we made our way to the barrier for the remaining four acts. Seekae were there almost straight away to prove what it meant to be a main contender for the crown of ‘best producers in the history of ever’. These Sydney post-dubstep, ambient heroes showered an adoring crowd with cult favourites from their previous two albums, as well as a couple selections from their upcoming record. The beautiful new song ‘Another’ opened the set, but the transcendental sounds of ‘Blood Bank’, and the major hit ‘Void’ were so good, it felt like the crowd was moving like a singular piece of jelly in a light wind to Seekae’s music. It’s important to note that this third record sees Seekae experimenting with live vocals, a move that can only be lauded. It sounded fucking amazing. The whizzing beats combined with the immersing tonal melodies of Seekae’s music was amazing enough, and with the vocals layering on top of that, I can only imagine that Seekae will become one of Australia’s next big exports. After defying the logic of goodness with Seekae, Midnight Juggernauts took the stage. Initially, I was pretty pissed, because seeing Midnight Juggernauts meant missing Bleeding Knees Club, who are better than a gallon of cough syrup when your not actually sick (PURP DRANK!). Initially, I was committed to not having a good time, and to send a disapproving message to Midnight Juggernauts that they would leave FBi’s 10th Birthday having had to stare at a frowning ginger in their front row for the entire duration of their set. However, I was the fool in this situation. When three guys rock the stage in tribal robes, and jam so theatrically your ears bleed from the carnivorous carnival of fun on display, then it’s kinda hard to remain a cynical dick about the whole thing. The energy on stage was at an overwhelming extreme, and Midnight Juggernauts bigger hits such as ‘Into the Galaxy’ caused near-riotous levels of ecstasy in the audience. Closing the set with a striptease from their ‘Uncanny Valley’ tour buds Kirin j Callinan and his astronaut-in-training accomplices, set to screeching electronica, mental drumming and a jungle bass like only Midnight Juggernauts can deliver was a fucking insane and grin exuding experience that no one could be capable of shying away from.
Next to hit the main stage was Hermitude, and let me confirm that everything you’ve ever heard about them is true. Yes, they are one of the best production teams in recent history. Yes, they blaze up the stage like a Cypress Hill blunt. And yes, you should skip a loved one’s Bar Mitzvah to go see them live. Hermitude are fucking awesome. There’s not much more to say than that. Until you’ve been swept up into a thronging crowd all jumping in unison to ‘Get in My Life’, watched African animals spiral in duality on six different TV screens to ‘HyperParadise’, or watched in awe as Chaos Emerald dances the fuck out of a stage whilst ‘Speak of the Devil’ booms in fiery agreement, you have not lived. Hermitude are performers like no other, and they were the winners of FBi’s 10th Birthday, by a long fucking way. Now, although they didn’t have the advantage of enthusiasm incarnate like their predecessors Hermitude, The Presets closed the absolute fuck out of this festival. With a battalion of party starters at their finger tips, Kim and Julian laid down the gauntlet with a strong mix of new and old. Although they leaned a little too heavily on the newest album ‘Pacifica’, it provided much needed relief for when perennial crowd favourites such as ‘This Boy’s In Love’, ‘My People’ and festival closer ‘Talk Like That‘ turned a dancing crowd into a moshing frenzy. The neon tunes of The Presets are loved the world over, but in that moment of ‘talk-talk-talk, like-like-like, that-that-that *electronic music sounds*’, Sydney showed their passion for these hometown heros through a sea of sweat and smiles.
To say that FBi’s 10th Birthday was a success is an understatement. There was not a single point in time in which there wasn’t a band on that wasn’t worth seeing. I’m still kicking myself for the fact that I missed Fishing, The Laurels, Sampology and Decoder Ring, a few of the amazing acts that went ungraced by my presence. And if you weren’t down for having your earholes pleasured, then there was always the buffet of Sydney delicacies, the artworks and installations, a spectator controlled boxing match (fucking awesome), or even a quick wander around would reveal some of your favourite artists of the day. To leave Redfern unsmiling that day was to lie to yourself. There’s only hope that this festival tries to repeat the overwhelming success next year.
If you like any or all of the artists, you should really think about becoming a sponsor of FBi. They are probably one of the best things to happen to Australian music since The Scientists formed.