Live Review: Future Music Festival

7 March 2013 | 10:51 am | Aarom WilsonTroy MuttonJames Hunt

While the Prodigy situation pissed a few off, one feels the only way it could have been avoided was if (the allegedly quite ill) Avicii actually turned up to spread the love.

It was big enough to completely lose your muchachos and never bump into them again (no thanks to the increasingly annoying problem of 'festival mobile network breakdown'), but props must go to the organizers for seemingly squeezing a massive crowd into Joondalup Arena without feeling like we were sardines in a salted tin can. The loss of 'EDM Headliner' Avicii along with the last-minute withdrawal of Rita Ora left quite a few fans miffed to start the day, who had no choice really but to get on with things. The sweat factor was certainly high, the heat singeing those let in early enough to witness the very oddly placed Nylon at the Cocoon Heroes arena. Trading more on good looks and other people's songs, they covered a list of hot tracks complete with back-up dancers, leaving techno fans dumbfounded as to why they were singing an Azealia Banks song on this stage only a few hours before the real thing was playing on another stage.

Over in the White Rabbit Saloon, Alfred Gorman was warming things up with one of the most diverse sets of the day, happily slinging everything from Roots Manuva to Hot Chip to 'Roses. Junior's impressive skills were unfortunately displayed in a rather sparse Warrior's Dance Arena, but it can't be long before this dude is truly given the line-up respect he deserves. Zane Lowe followed up with a bass bashing, the early heaviness of nil concern to the bang-brains lapping it up.

Ellie Goulding was the first big act of the day, the Mariachi zone filling up like a Mexican bloodbath. There's no doubt she has an impressive set of pipes, but the live band didn't really seem to gel, the strong wind and average mix not helping. Things did pick up as the set progressed though, Goulding saving the best for last, finishing off with Coca-Cola's newest sing-a-long jingle Anything Could Happen and an unexpected dubstep version of Lights, before finally finishing with the fun loving Starry Eyed. Cocoon saw Magda pushing a sophisticated set of groove-based techno with a dash of melodic minimal, the number of people dancing through the sizzling sun testament to the quality of her set. Still, there was just something not right about dancing to techno in the open air. Next time FMF, give us a rave cave please. Complete with some epic skips and vinyl-flying trainwrecks Seth Troxler then battled the wind with a similarly shaped set, upping the tempo midway in preparation for the extremely late Ricardo Villalobos.

UK pop drum'n'bass outfit Rudimental made their live debut in Perth and failed to disappoint, opening with new single Waiting All Night featuring Elle Eyre in a set full of crowd pleasers like Not Giving In and Feel The Love. FUN.'s front man and show pony, Nate Ruess pranced onto the Mariachi stage delightedly to begin the American indie-rock band's performance. The setlist mainly comprised of tracks from their most recent album, Some Nights, and featured many audience chants from some of the more popular singles. Self-perpetuating hype machine and hater-of-the-moment Azealia Banks' blend of aggression and sass completely owned the Mariachi zone, demonstrating that, while she's not be the most articulate offence-shooter, she's worth the hype when it comes to the music. One of the best sets of the day, and in the mix for one of the best outfits. 1991 was particularly dope. PSY finished off in the only we he could; doing the Gangnam Style (for the second time in his allotted half-hour)It was met with much amusement and a frenzy of crazy styled dancing. His sincere and humble thank you at the end of the set was surprisingly touching, even if it was partially to big up the next single. Hello: YouTube.

The K-Pop superstar made way for another showman in Steve Aoki, who lived up to his rockstar persona, spewing champagne any chance he could, and providing some vocals for his set-standard one-two punch of Bloody Beetroots' Warp 1.9 and their re-work of Refused – New Noize. And even though the mainstage soundsystem seemed to struggle at times with the abrasive sounds produced, most were too busy bouncing to notice. Professor Hush was literally bouncing off the Saloon walls during his hour of indie-electro and funk power, his energy-soaked dance moves themselves worthy of a video hit. Canadian dubstep producers, Zeds Dead have maintained the 'dirty dub' sound throughout their career, whilst still preserving a level of inventiveness that certainly lacks in some areas of the scene. The boys dished up some very quick transitions, which allowed for lots of song selections in spite of a few technical difficulties. Their new remix of Prodigy's Breathe, commemorating the 20th year anniversary of Fat of the Land, went down as a real treat, along with Andy C's d'n'b re-work of Get Free by Major Lazer. Following them Germany's Boys Noize introduced his giant skull to a crowd ready to get down to his grinding tech-electro, rocking through a fairly even mix of all three of his albums, each track tweaked enough to be a little more banging, and none feeling out of place amongst the others. Fans of his were happy the set ran over time, although Borgore appeared a little miffed, which in turn probably just added a little more bite to his brostep beats.

Back on the main stage, “What the fuck's goin' on?” began Dizzee Rascal, launching into a set dripping with 'tude and tidee toons. Bassline Junkie invoked dance pandemonium, as did Fix Up, Look Sharp and Dance Wiv Me. The Stone Roses were met with thunderous applause as they launched into a blinding set that proved well worth the wait. Fool's Gold was a natural highlight in what was easily one of the best long-awaited festival sets WA's ever witnessed. Collars up to Ian Brown.

A rare foray in the Wake Your Mind arena found Cosmic Gate pumping out some fast-paced trance to an appreciative crowd, with Emma Hewitt slinking on to stage to provide some vocal work only heightening the amount of 'hands in the air'. Sven Vath served up some banging techno varieties on his Coccoon stage, stirring up some energy amongst the crowd. “Quality, love, spirit and fun... and of course we love to dance”, Vath proclaimed. “I'd like to introduce my friend Richard Hawtin”. Cheers echoed as Richie Hawtin stepped to the decks, showing us why he is recognised as a major influential part of the Detroit techno scene. Coupled with a minimal but captivating light show, Hawtin played out some of the minimal techno we've grown to love over his spanning music career.

After a 45 minute wait for The Prodigy to get their shiz together, idiot levels had reached fever pitch, highlighted by an de-shirted fellow climbing up onto the tent's roof and jumping around like he thought he was walking on the moon. Obviously not an astronaut. Once yee ol' Warrior's Dance Arena headliners got started though, there was no stopping 'em. Hit after hit, Prodigy saw some of the loosest individuals appropriately losing it, Poison producing particular highs. Those who couldn't get in to the Warrior battle grounds due to initial overcrowding, or didn't stick around for the second half of Hardwell's Avicii-replacing extended set found themselves witness to an incredibly polished and professional 50-odd minutes courtesy of British quartet Bloc Party. Frontman Kele Okereke was affable and crowd-stirring in a set that mostly steered away from latest album Four, opting instead for a slew of old faves like Banquet, Positive Tension, This Modern Love, Hunting For Witches and the one-two finale of Flux and Helicopter. Having only been to this side of the world once before, it was a cracking way to finish the day for many.

With a festival pushing up towards 50,000 people, you have to tip the hat to the organisers for making an effort to spread it out, and providing a plethora of free water stations throughout the event. And while the Prodigy situation pissed a few off, one feels the only way it could have been avoided was if (the allegedly quite ill) Avicii actually turned up to spread the love.