Live Review: Field Day 2016

5 January 2016 | 8:47 am | Tanya Bonnie Rae

"Hundreds started to trample through in eager anticipation for the English power duo, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, Disclosure."

There was such an insane amount of foot traffic on the walkway through Art Gallery Road heading into The Domain, security guards were forced to usher crowds of punters through like cattle, in increments of fifty or so at a time. This year’s sold out Field Day was definitely already one of the busiest and brightest yet, and the crowd seemed to be in high spirits very early on. 

Daniel Avery over on the Left Field stage in the early afternoon was the perfect location for his set, but timing-wise, he should've played closer to sunset. His modern blend of minimal, euphoric techno beats sounded incredible from the dance floor but generally would be a lot more suited to smaller, underground club venues. He was immensely popular with the audience despite their lack of dancing, and they often clapped and cheered in between tracks. The occasional cool breeze that would casually whisk past provided the perfect dose of invigoration. He wrapped up his set with the first of his two-track EP, Sensation, gifting the audience with an enchanting 6-minute journey before smiling, throwing up a peace sign and walking off stage.

For a 22-year-old Dutch DJ and producer with over 163,000 followers on SoundCloud (and a pretty damn good time slot) Sam Feldt was absolutely horrendous live. His cheap, superficial blend of cheesy 90’s and early 2000’s house remixes of classic songs like CeCe Peniston’s Finally and Tupac’s California Love were frustrating as hell and it felt as though he was unintentionally plucked for the wrong festival and thought he’d found himself as Stereosonic instead. It couldn’t have been more uncomfortable to watch.

After leaving halfway through the previous set to head to The Island stage, humble, crowd-favourite Canberra boys SAFIA seemed to have captured the attention of half the population of the festival, rounding up their set with Paranoia, Ghosts and Other Sounds. Afterwards one of the crew took to the mic, “You guys are beautiful. I think we better get a photo so I can show my mum, she won’t believe me!” inspiring everyone to throw their hands up for a group photo. It was pretty adorable.

Charismatic, globe-conquering techno/house music heavyweight DJ, producer and multiple-label owner Seth Troxler blasted his infectious energy into the crowd straight from the get-go. It was incredibly easy to see how the American-born (now London based) musical magician scored the No. 1 DJ spot on Resident Advisor’s annual DJ poll in 2012 and having played 158 gigs that same year. Troxler spun a variety of classic, old school house tracks, reviving the crowd with his eccentric dance moves and eclectic taste in music. It felt like beautiful, well constructed chaos. If the crowd was anything to go by, there was a half naked guy hanging and dancing from a tree branch, men in wigs and gowns and one or two parasols ecstatically being thrown in the air. Seth seems to have that affect on people, and he is astonishingly good at what he does.

Over on the Centre Field stage, Golden Features played pretty much the same set we’ve heard before, except this time the Sydney electronic/dance producer surprised the crowd with The Chemical Brothers Saturate and Do It Again. After hearing him perform at Listen Out, as well as Field Day now, the once-exciting and mysterious masked performer seemed a little less so. Towards the end of his set, he played crowd-favourite Guillotine, before handing over the stage to the next act, Sydney duo Flight Facilities.

Otherwise known as Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell, Flight Facilities started their set a little slow, and played their track (featuring musician, actor and comedian Reggie Watts), Sunshine. The duo have grown impressively since they launched their musical career in 2009, crafting remixes before releasing their own material. Walking Bliss, off their debut album released in 2014, was gorgeous, wistful and really dreamy. It was a stark contrast to The Island stage host, KLP emceeing throughout the set, who sounded way too enthusiastic, basic and a little bit disingenuous. Flight Facilities followed through with Foreign LanguageCrave You, and ended on a blissfully high note with Owl Eyes singing Clair De Lune. Afterwards, the duo told the crowd it was her birthday and in unison, every person on the dance floor sung happy birthday to a blushing Owl Eyes on stage. 

Oxford-based singer, producer and DJ Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs (aka T.E.E.D aka Orlando Tobias Edward Higginbottom) struck gold when he played Four Tet’s ten minute remix of Eric Prydz’ Opus, confusing half the crowd, promising a drop without the delivery. This ended up working wonders. About halfway through his set he played his 2012 track Household Goods and Garden, following through with some jungle house tunes and classic old school disco and R. Kelly’s 2003 classic R&B number Ignition.

The stage started to fill to its complete capacity as hundreds started to trample through in eager anticipation for the English power duo, brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence, Disclosure. With tremendous roars and whistles from the audience, they started with a now classic, White Noise and followed through with F For You. The tracks that absolutely shone were Jaded, with Howard providing live vocals on stage, as well as Bang That – which sounded unbelievably good even in an open festival setting. They visual light show was clean, simple and yet still incredibly stunning and most audience members sung along with all the lyrics to the songs. Hourglass featuring Lion Babe, was a highlight of the set and a true artistic gem. The duo finished with Holding On, before the crowd demanded an encore, with Disclosure rounding up their set and the day, with Moving Mountains and Latch.