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We Review Listen Out 2016 in Melbourne

words by Alex Milne

The end of September heralds an exciting time of the year for music lovers. Winter is thawing, the days get longer and festival season begins. Listen Out is one of my favourite festivals of the year as the reckoner of fun days to come.

Listen Out has changed venue from when I last attended two years ago. ‘The Catani Gardens’ in St Kilda, where St Kilda Fest is usually held, is a perfect venue for this type of Festival. Close to public transport makes it easy to access, being near the beach makes for a picturesque backdrop against which to boogie the day away.

Thanks to short lines and speedy security we got to the ‘909 Stage’ by quarter past two, in time to catch Willow Beats. Her slightly spaced out vibe was chilled out, creating the perfect setting within which to kick back on the grass with a cider and enjoy the sun.

After about half an hour of Willow Beats we ducked across to the ‘Atari Stage’ to see Ngaiire. Despite there not being much of a crowd (it still being relatively early in the day) she brought with her an energy that made for a vibrant atmosphere with space to dance. ‘Around’ is one of my favourite songs right now and was even better live.

After Ngaiire finished we dropped past ‘Mr Burger’ to grab ourselves a tasty snack and re-energise for the acts to come. At four pm we ducked back to the ‘909 Stage’. This stage had a ripper back-to-back lineup; LDRU into Gorgon City into Claptone. The day was about to get that much better.

LDRU are great performers, I was excited for tracks like ‘Next To You’ and ‘Keeping Score’. Although they nailed their set, dubstep is a genre that I find a bit hard to listen to for longer than about 20 minutes. After they had played their most popular songs the sound became a bit wearying.

Gorgon City brought it back again with an awesome DJ set. They were groovy and fun, with tracks like ‘Imagination’ and ‘Ready For Your Love’ being crowd favourites.

One of the acts this year that I haven’t seen before was Claptone, so I was especially excited to see them. Claptone absolutely did not let me down on Saturday. ‘Wrong’, ‘Leave the Light on’ and ‘The Only Thing’ were absolutely electric.

At headliner o’clock, while most of the people at the festival were crushing on to the ‘Atari Stage’ for RÜFÜS, I thought I would branch out a bit and go to Tchami. This turned out to be a poor decision. Tchami was very heavy, attracting a crowd of a much rougher sort who, at that time of the day, were a little at the end of their tether. The atmosphere was pretty average, as most people were at the other stages. So with Tchami getting a solid 3/10 we decided to cut our losses, give in to the pack mentality and go back to RÜFÜS.

One can argue that the amount of touring and performing that RÜFÜS has done has given them a wealth of experience, resulting in an A+ live show. Their songs are uplifting and everyone knows the words to them. The very first Listen Out that I went to was the festival’s debut. That was also the first time that I saw RÜFÜS, who were one of the smaller acts with a short set at 2pm. The last three years have seen huge growth for both RÜFÜS and Listen Out. It seemed a fitting act to finish on. ‘Innerbloom’ gets me every time.

Listen Out has become one of my go-to festivals. Year after year the organisers pull out the stops. The show is well planned and organised, laid out expertly with top notch artists that draw just the right kind of crowd for a diverse group of people. If they keep going this way I will continue to be attending for many years to come.

Rating: ★★★★★

There are still two more Listen Out’s going down this weekend in Sydney and Brisbane, so if you’re in those areas we recommend you go and spend the day in the sun at one of Australia’s best boutique festivals with some really great music.

RSVP
Sydney: https://www.facebook.com/events/226617851056621
Brisbane: https://www.facebook.com/events/106698286417092

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