Live Review: Listen Out Sydney

3 October 2013 | 11:21 am | Deborah JacksonTimothy Scarfe

At 8.30 all of the other stages closed down, and the entire crowd flocked to the Atari Stage for a show-stopping set by Disclosure. The highlight of the set was Aluna Francis joining the guys on stage for renditions of White Noise and Latch.

Parklife is dead, boys and girls, and in its place has emerged a new festival, Listen Out, which kicked off in Sydney over the weekend.

With the promise of being a “Party: Redefined,” the atmosphere was much to be expected, with girls in tiny shorts and crop tops, and a sea of shirtless guys – it seems as though the Parklife crowd wouldn't let a little thing like a name change keep them away from a day of music, sun and dancing.

Under the mid-afternoon sun, Cosmo's Midnight kicked off proceedings at the 909 Stage with a lively set which rewarded the punters who made it for the first act. Opening a stage can always be a bit of a depressing affair, but the young DJ duo's bright and breezy set seemed perfect for the day, and announced them as another local dance act to keep your eye on in the coming year.

Laura Jones played her sexy, edgy beats at the Atari Stage; girls were dancing so emphatically that their skimpy boob tubes were falling down and guys were dripping with sweat as they pumped their hands in the air.

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Next up was Sydney-based trio RÜFÜS, clearly a crowd favourite as scores of people ran from neighbouring stages to catch the opening track Take Me. Onlookers who had been seeking shade emerged and the crowd instantly doubled in size; it's no surprise that this act has been generating so much hype, with it's catchy melodies, heavy basslines and groovy beats, it is exactly the type of music you want to be swaying to at a festival.

With the festival in full swing, all-conquering Spanish producer John Talabot took to the 909 Stage and put in the set which was worth the price of admission alone. Talabot's debut album fIN makes great use of space, with the minimalist beats creating an almost hollow effect which the synths and vocals wash over. Impressively, the live set manages to capture this, with the live drum machine adding another layer to the dense sound. El Oeste and H.O.R.S.E whipped the burgeoning crowd into a frenzy, and by the time the crowd had swelled to capacity, closer Destiny provided one of the most joyous dance moments of the day.

Miguel Campbell was supposedly the “one to watch,” and was notably being escorted by a posse of scantily clad women throughout the day.  As he took the stage, the crowd started to disperse a little as he played songs like Flight School and Not That Kind Of Girl.

When Classixx came on, it became impossible to resist the urge to dance any longer. Playing tracks like Holding On, Dominoes and Hanging Gardens, the atmosphere was infectious as the crowd of thousands danced, swayed and jumped like mad people.

Taking on the dusk set were British buzz kids AlunaGeorge, a  time which seemed perfect for the duo's future-pop stylings. The long set gave a chance for the revved-up crowd to catch most of the band's stellar back catalogue, with most tracks transitioning to the live setting well. Even the cover of the '80s classic This Is How We Do It made more sense live than on the album. Unfortunately, much of the crowd didn't last past the first half of the set, which contained most of the slower tracks on the album. A shame, because the back half of the set had the remaining crowd jumping with Attracting Flies and the Disclosure-partnered White Noise perfectly showcasing Aluna Fancis' powerful vocals. A great set which probably should have held a bigger crowd on the main stage, especially given Azealia Banks' antics.

The disappointment of the day was easily Azealia Banks. Rushing through performances of No Problems and Jumanji, it generally felt as if she was being forced onto the stage at gunpoint and would rather be anywhere else but there. Regardless, the crowd were going wild until abruptly, a few minutes into her rendition of Harlem Shake, she suddenly cut the lights and the music and walked off the stage without another word after a beer can was thrown at her. A highly confused crowd was then greeted by a man who said, “If you behave yourselves a bit better, you might be able to coax her back out.”  She did come back, but only to rush through a version of 212 before storming off again, clearly pissed off.

As the night closed in, the day's biggest surprise packet – Just Blaze – put in 45 minutes of pure party-starting material. Mixing hip hop anthems with a Girl Talk-esque glee, Blaze grabbed the amped up-crowd and never let go. Blaze's energy was infectious, and while he was clearly aiming to warm the crowd up for closing act TNGHT, he ended up stealing their thunder. TNGHT's set of heavy dub-infused R&B possibly came a bit late in the day for much of the crowd, who were looking for something easy to dance to. Still the boys put in a strong set of banging beats, and closed off the 909 Stage with a bang. Those who stayed around for the closing act definitely left the set sweatier and lighter-headed then when they entered, and that really is the sign of a good set.

At 8.30 all of the other stages closed down, and the entire crowd flocked to the Atari Stage for a show-stopping set by Disclosure.  The highlight of the set was Aluna Francis joining the guys on stage for renditions of White Noise and Latch.