“Blink, and it’s all over” is what the tagline should have been for the 2018 Listen Out Perth festival. Another sold out year with an even more varied line up to boot. The weather had turned up as well as we hit high 20s with not a cloud in the sky, and it made way for plenty of bums on show as trend setters trialled their hi-vis racetrack inspired get ups. It made me think, are we more about the ‘fashun’ than the artists now? If you go to an event and don’t get a picture or don’t get spotted, did you even go? Wanky punters aside, I was there to see the music and what a talent there was.
Over at the 909 stage bright and early, Glades had a decent little posse going to their summery pop numbers. With a nice bit of cultural diversity in their band members and a really great vocalist they captured the classic American road trip singalongs perfectly.
Up next at the same stage were Kllo, the Melbourne electronic duo that had stretched out to be a bit more than that. With an aura that was as smoky as Europe and as black as Berlin, they were a quirky ensemble that felt like depressed black magic. Entirely made up with soundboards, synths and keyboards they felt like the modern day band. There was no kinetic and ‘natural’ act of typically playing instruments but the sound still managed to connect in that same place of human emotion with songs such as Virtue.
Imbi The Girl was one of those decisions that felt like going to Video Ezy and picking up one last video so you could get the 10 for $10 deal and then being hell stoked at how much of solid choice it was. So she rapped and it wasn’t just the leopard print eyebrows or the curly mullet or the tattoos on her shins or her hairy legs or her steel cap boots that were saying something, it was her voice that was doing the talking. Singing about unrequited love or singing about being a prisoner of your own mind her voice sang in its own style of femininity, breaking all kinds of barriers.
In a very similar strain, Noname now had a full band backing her over on the main stage, a few steps up from last year’s appearance at Fidelity Festival. With more brass came more attitude and as she rattled off lines, the girl from Chicago wasn’t asking us this time, she was telling us.
My first thought about Petit Biscuit was that I didn’t know so many people liked him; Sunset Lover seemed to be his one and only hit thus far. The little french guy whose Coachella stream I admittedly enjoyed for its humility seemed as grateful to be here in Australia playing his music. But getting his number out of the way early in the set with a live bass guitar appearance he had a lot more room to bring it down a lot harder. Soon after he had Wake Up with an explosion of trap and a heaving dance floor. Kid knows how to garner a vibe.
Highlight for the day though goes to the blue collared workers BROCKHAMPTON. One by one each of the boys made their own appearances which gave weight to the idea that one was not more important than the other. With thermal imagery of models and human in the background and titles such as Stop Sitting Around or Everyone Has A Shelf Life took over the screens and with a slap in the face they were on. The energy was palpable as I begun to think they could have just reinvented the ‘boy band’ and almost as soon as I thought it they said “You are now watching the greatest boy band in the world… Soz N*sync, Backstreet Boys or 1D. From Bleach, to Gold to Boogie to Sweet they killed it. With such variance in their sound they got us in the feelings, in the groove and in the dance. Looking forward to their return when they can also bring in a more live ensemble.
The second last headliner for the night saw two test dummy cars set up on stage and a whole lot of pyro and co2 cannons. There was nothing small about A$AP Rocky’s set. A full band with saxophonist he came in hard in his test dummy overalls for the first four songs and then, maybe its because it was my third A$AP show, but I just didn’t feel it after that. Wild For The Night just didn’t have that same blow up effect that it usually had.
Skrillex, the big dog, the man of the night had returned to Australian shores after a long stint away and he made no reservations, took no prisoners as he trapped the shit out of it. He invented the dubstep we knew and loved so he had every right to own and play it out as Perth saw the return of the rinse for one night and one night only. He ran through remixes of bad and boujee, mercy and insane, insane trap before throwing in some Jersey sections and just when I felt like some chill pop he played out Would You Ever. Ending on an extended moombah styled Bangarang it seemed like that was it, until he came back out for an encore and asked us to get our lights out and send positivity and love into the world. It did start to feel a bit like a religeous sermon when he continued to exclaim “We can do this, if we just believe and spread the love!”. If for not the the cynic in me, it was a nice touch. So the camera lights came on and Coldplay’s Fix You played out before his melodic Cinema lulled the crowd into a loving embrace.