Live Review: For The Love @ Catani Gardens, Melbourne

7 March 2023 | 10:21 am | Michael Prebeg

For The Love festival hit Melbourne on Saturday, 4 March, and what a day it was. Superstars and artists sure to be stars lit up St Kilda.

(Source: Supplied)

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For The Love reaches its third stop on the national tour, and it’s the perfect summer day for a festival in St Kilda.

With plenty of bars, food, chill-out zones and amenities, it’s a well-planned site with heaps of room to spread out and have a good time. There’s only one massive stage, too, meaning there are no clashes, so you can’t miss a moment of the action.  

KYE brings some real good energy to the stage and gets people moving around early on with her sweet R&B and pop flavour with songs Bossin’, Clique and her latest single, Ribena. The audience is quickly charmed by her rich, silky vocals and groovy beats as she dances along to her DJ’s mix of fun tracks to keep the momentum high. Before his own time on the stage, Budjerah joins in for a new song, and together their vocals are a match made in heaven.

“If you’re feeling good today, say yeah,” sings Budjerah. The crowd cheers with excitement as he returns to the stage for his own set and immediately captures the attention of the punters starting to take their spot in front of the stage. His soulful sound with incredible vocal runs wins us over as he shares a few of his most popular songs, including Higher and What Should I Do? 

“The last three weeks, I’ve done twelve shows with Ed Sheeran,” he tells the audience before sharing a solo version of the song they did together called 2Step. He then reveals he’s been working on some new music and recently has been in the studio with Meg Mac. He gives us a very special preview of one of the new songs for us today called Video Game, and it’s a personal track full of powerful emotion.

For anyone who still doesn’t know his name, they will after today. Budjerah’s song Ready For The Sky reached #117 on the triple j Hottest 200 of 2022, but with the momentum he’s building, there’s no doubt he’ll be a strong contender again shortly. His new song Therapy is a relatable anthem for anyone who’s ever been in a situation when you’re frustrated with someone.

DJ duo Snakehips pull in a massive crowd to the stage with their huge set packed full of club bangers to get everyone pumped up. “Hey Melbourne, I know it’s really hot, but I wanna see maximum fucking effort from you,” shouts Oliver Lee. They match the effort and go hard with some of their best remixes and self-produced tracks, including Don’t Leave, All My Friends and a new unreleased track that’s coming out soon, which is a sure-fire-winner.

Sonny Fodera continues to keep the party alive with his emotive electronic dance beats starting off with a hot remix of Glass Animals’ Heatwaves. Flames shoot up from the stage as he pumps out relentless dance floor hits with a bubbling bass that permeates across the festival. Even though he’s Australian-born, he’s based in London, and it’s been four years since he’s actually played here, so it’s somewhat of a homecoming for this tour. 

Fodera shares a brand-new song that came out yesterday called Shadow with Lewis Thompson, featuring emotive vocals from MORGAN. The hypnotic track released off the back of his debut album, Wide Awake, which came out last year, demonstrates his rising dominance in the club scene across the globe.

Cosmos Midnight haven’t played as a band in a while, so they’re excited to be back on stage today. Singer Sayah joins them on live vocals for hits including Have It All and History, bringing powerhouse vocals to the super funky production. Very special guest Ruel surprises the audience by jumping on stage for their hit Down For You, and the place is absolutely buzzing with excitement. 

It reaches the hottest part of the day, and the festival runs into a few technical difficulties due to equipment overheating, resulting in a few false starts but recovering quickly. Cosmos Midnight keep the crowd in a steady boogie with tracks from their most recent album, Yesteryear, packed with funky disco anthems, including C.U.D.I (Can You Dig It) and a brand new one they’ve been working on. 

Charli XCX brings her hot party girl attitude to the stage and instantly commands the audience with her electric pop hit Lighting. The performance is magnified by the large screens around the stage to project out across the site, and she’s got two dancers by her side that help her execute a non-stop, high-energy choreographed routine. Charli XCX pulls out all the stops with hit after hit from Gone to I Love It, Boys and 1999 that gets people in the mosh up on shoulders and having a good time.

As the sun starts to go down and the golden hour sets in, Charli XCX takes the audience on a roller coaster ride in the fast lane with her hyper-pop anthem Vroom Vroom and spices things up with a re-work of Spice Girls' Wannabe with plenty of ass shaking to heat up the moment. Solidifying her pop-icon status, Charli XCX delivers one of the most exciting sets of the festival that leaves us wanting more. “It’s Charli, baby!” she shouts, confirming her dominating status before launching into her most recent hit, Good Ones

Duke Dumont closes the festival with an epic set that launches with Red Light Green Light marking his dance commanding authority with instructional vocals to move our bodies around feverishly to the club edit. Thumping basslines roll through the crowd while flames shoot up from the stage, smoke cannons ignite, and a stunning laser light show elevates the show even further. 

Duke Dumont paces his way through with effortless transitions and heart-pounding drops, proving his headline status and ability to deliver an engaging slick production whilst maintaining total control over the crowd. The festival becomes a giant rave as he drops Turn On The Lights Again.. (feat. Future) and his own track, The Power. He crafts a seamless high-energy mix of his best deep house party anthems with fan favourites, including Need U (100%), I Got U and Ocean Drive

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