Live Review: Mac Miller, Malaa, PNAU, and more shine at Listen Out 2017
The day promised ponchos and bangers aplenty, with rain forecasted throughout the day. Early acts included electronic producers Touch Sensitive, Vallis Alps with the mesmerising, operatic vocals of Parissa Tosif, and the Bangladeshi inspired beats of Jai Wolf.
But the day really got going when American rapper Mac Miller kicked off his high energy set with his party anthem ‘Loud.’ As great as the start of his set was, we didn’t hang around for too long before heading over to the 909 stage to see the balaclava-clad, house-bass producer Malaa, rumoured to be the enigmatic side project of French DJ’s Tchami and DJ Snake.
After a wicked set, he, or rather ‘they’, were followed by dubstep trap DJ Getter, who surprised many of us as one of the standout acts of the festival. That boy has TASTE, dropping some dope samples, including a couple songs from rising Floridian rapper Pouya (if you’re a hip hop fan, check him out!) and a couple of throwbacks with ‘Teenage Dirtbag’ and the Summer Heights High.
He also played Excision’s ‘Throwin’ Elbows’, a raw and aggressive electronic tune which I was first introduced to through Chance the Rapper’s bath time playlist. Evidently, Chance doesn’t have baths like most of us. Frankly, his sound way more lit.
We jumped between Green Velvet’s minimalist techno beats and the soulful Bryson Tiller, before Australian festival stalwart What So Not took centre stage at Atari.
But we didn’t stay for the whole set, moving over to electronic dance trio PNAU. The wonky pop trio were a favourite at Groovin The Moo’, and they didn’t disappoint this time around either, bringing the happy, funky vibes to fun-loving fans.
We caught the start of English DJ Duke Dumont, but the magnetic bass of Atlanta trap pulled us over to Future. The American rapper and producer pumped out a sweet set, with a sufficiently satisfying quantity of Skrrt’s.
As it turns out, we were lucky enough to catch Future at all, with the Atlanta artist pulling out of the remainder of the tour due to the passing of a close friend, sound engineer and producer Seth Firkins, who along with Future has also worked with the likes of Rihanna, Young Thug, Mike WiLL Made-It and Jay-Z.
Ultimately, it was his cover of trap lord A$AP Ferg’s (who performed at the 2016 edition of Listen Out on the same stage) epic tune ‘New Level’ that really got the crowd jumping, whilst even Cody Simpson fans were familiar with his recent hit song and festival-closer, the flute-reviving, persona-lifting ‘Mask Off.’
So concluded the Spring festival we all asked for but aren’t all that fussed over. Listen Out is pretty blasé, it doesn’t feel as though a whole lot of thought has been put into it. But I don’t mean that in a bad way. It does a fantastic job of serving its purpose on the festival calendar!
It just sort of rounded up a host of great artists and plopped them there, inviting everyone to come let loose for a day, knowing they can recover the day after on the Queen’s birthday, which we so clearly need a public holiday for. Shout out to the monarchy, yeah!
A big positive was that event organisers appeared to have learned from last year’s flaws. Perhaps it was merely a case of fewer fence jumpers but the number of people this year was noticeably less than last year, when the crowd took on a life of its own, with the two stage’s crowds even joining up to create one super-monster-mosh. Thankfully, there was a lot more space this year.
And with the extra space there was a noticeably better atmosphere than last years edition. There were friendly vibes and as an additional bonus, in the end the weather almost proved a non-factor. Some of the grass transformed into a slimy mud pit, and it was definitely chilly, but it rained surprisingly little, certainly not detracting from a great day listening out!