Thomson Bay, Rottest Island
Sunday, February 15, 2015
The stage riser was spilling all the way into the water, lounging resplendent on the gleaming white Rottnest sand, when the first act kicked off. With heat waves and summer storms marring the weeks leading up, everyone was joyed to find the most perfect, clear, pleasant summer day that had come out to greet the Castaway Festival.
Pilerats DJs eased the day in with some bright and euphoric electro house, as patrons filtered in and began arranging themselves in the frame. Transitioning into some more adventurous trancy hip hop numbers, Pilerats’ set became beset by some key matching issues, and the audience groove became halted by a tight, pregnant pause as the new track slid in after each dissonant crash.
Tina Says brought the party right back in gear with big heavy minimal house, giving the heat needed to start up the dance floor. Perfect track selection was offset by classic ’90s hip hop vocal stabs and clean, solid kicks, and perfect manual beat and key matching. People abandoned their recently purchased $9 Dixie cups of beer to rush to the front and get in on some great bass filth, as it transitioned into 2013 breakbeats with R&B themes.
First live band of the afternoon was Yeo, manned by one keytar, one percussionist, and one backing track. Pretty funky downtempo electro that definitely would make the instore playlist at Cotton On. Some really intricate, wailing keytar work with a nice, cheesy ’80s synth patch was just what the doctor ordered. This was chased down by some gorgeous, droning base with minimalist breakbeat drums and some tasty mid lead vocals.
DJ Benson kicked off his set by asking the audience if they were “sick cunts,” which really set the tone for the next hour of tasteless riddim dubstep and house. At minute 10 he stopped the music and instructed the audience to imagine their parents, mid-coitus. I have absolutely no idea how this jackhammer of jack-assery got booked. Stardust almost got it right, “Music sounds better without Benson.”
Carmada was exactly the kind of DJ change up this party needed. Less audience abuse and much more killer underground dark house and trap. Three tracks in and the floor was alive with enigmatic brain scattering bass and the pulsating biomass of a few hundred mostly naked Havaianas enthusiasts.
As the sun was setting, and everyone needed a moment of respite to begin the evening chill, Safia came to the rescue. Their breathy, joyous, soulful vocals filled the grounds, as the harp like guitar chimed out across the harbour. After fugueing to a peak, the 4:4 kick launched itself into the mix, surging the crowd into a pulsating miasma of stomping joy. Carmada was by far the best act of the evening.
I would say that Peking Duk valued their image more than their music but for that to happen they would have to look good. They spent more time telling the crowd to make some noise than they did pretending to tweak knobs on the DJ mixer. Proudly proclaiming out loud, without irony, “We are the greatest DJs in the world!” I found myself hoping the back legs of the stage would give way and wash these two hairy wankstains out to sea. Never finishing a song, they chose instead to reference 15 second segments of famous club tunes and ’90s pop staples. How it could be that these human Yakbak’s were the headliner instead of Carmada, I’ll never understand.