Live Review: Stereosonic

7 December 2015 | 2:01 pm | Michael Prebeg

"The enchanting performance draws us in with a powerful and alluring force to really make us connect with the emotionally charged mystique."

It's just after midday as we enter through the Sonic arena and the showgrounds are already bustling with activity. Sky-high rides are spinning for the thrill seekers, while many have settled in under a shady umbrella on the sandy dunes of Nova Island. With a schedule of set times and map in hand, we navigate through the eight different stages to The Woods and it's the perfect spot to escape the hot sun and jump around to Cut Snake. The hall vibrates as the duo pumps out thumping basslines and steady tech house beats that make us want to party.

It's time to scope out our surrounds; we make sure to familiarise ourselves with the essential hot spots and pick a crew meeting point at each stage. After a bite to eat and plenty of hydration we circle back to find ourselves at the Sonic stage to catch Slumberjack busting out their trap-heavy and frenetic high-energy vibes. The duo create an exciting buzz in the air to entice many incoming punters to the front of the stage to dance.

Swedish duo Galantis draw in a huge crowd to the main arena early on as they serve up their Pharmacy of medicinal music delights and their love of house music. Their signature Seafox symbol lights up and a half fox/half jellyfish masked creature emerges to dance around the stage. Their fresh and catchy hits have become some of the biggest songs of the year and for maximum exposure they ensure we get a double dose of the euphoric Runaway (U & I) and Gold Dust.

Carmada turns the Sonic stage up a few notches and attempts to set the world record for how many punters they can encourage to get up on each other's shoulders. The crowd is quite responsive and it makes them happy as they mix up some intoxicating melodies of psychedelic trap and bass including their brand new remix of Major Lazer's Be Together. We stick around for Clean Bandit as they bring their live show to our city for the first time. Combining unlikely elements of classical music with sounds of violin strings and synth house beats, they create a refreshing hybrid arrangement on their hit Rather Be and they pay homage to their favourite house record Show Me Love.

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Fire cannons shoot into the air as Peking Duk turn up the heat with their exciting high energy showmanship along with some help from their buddy Ivan Ooze. Their next-level supercharged electro jams and onstage antics are accompanied by huge grimy remixes of Darude's Sandstorm and choppy Lion King singalongs conjure up tribal choruses and animalistic moves far and wide.

We tackle some festival clash dilemmas by committing to the plan that incorporates dashing from three stages on opposite sides of the showgrounds in under two hours and we know it's a brave decision but well worth it. Major Lazer takes over the main arena and we point our two fingers up into the air like lazer guns to salute their mission of peace — although it's far from a peaceful party. They call "Major" and we respond with "Lazer" and they've got us in the palm of their hand ready to rave to whatever mega-banger they throw at us. Diplo launches himself out over the audience in a giant inflatable bubble while the pyrotechnics and streamer cannons are in full force to punctuate each heavy bass drop. We're taken on a crump-tacular wild rollercoaster ride as they mash up dancehall reggae, drum'n'bass, dubstep and electronica and the stage lights up with a cinematic audio-visual display with an entourage of booty-shaking Rastafarian dancers. Walshy Fire instructs everyone to take off their shirts and raise their country flags high up in air for the liberating anthem Get Free.

A quick dash over to Duke Dumont and we make it just in time to soak up the chilled summery vibes including his biggest tracks Ocean Drive and I Got U. His signature '90s house sound instantly puts us in a feel-good groove, with its tropical marimbas and catchy hooks.

It's time to venture across to The Woods again and catch the second half of Claptone bringing his mysterious Immortal Live show to the stage. Performing as a duo they wear illuminated Venetian masks to conceal their identities and take us on a sensory journey with a symmetrical visual language to accompany their enigmatic deep-house. The enchanting performance draws us in with a powerful and alluring force to really make us connect with the emotionally charged mystique.

DJ Snake creates an undeniable force of epic trap-loaded anthems to keep us amped up and supercharged until the very end. He gives us exactly what we want to hear including his biggest tracks Lean On, Middle and the remix of AlunaGeorge's You Know You Like It fuelled by snare rolls and distorted sound pitches to get our hearts racing. He leaves us on an emotional high with a surprising final song choice of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You and we sing along to the ballad in all its original glory at the top of our lungs.

Diplo does his solo thing to close the Sonic stage with his brand of electronic dynamite featuring a heavy techno-trap vibe. His latest Jack Ü project is heavily featured in the set and includes lots of Justin Bieber collaborations like the popular Where Are Ü Now. Meanwhile over at the main arena an impressive fireworks display lights up the sky to bring Armin Van Buuren's set to an end and close the festival with a bang.