Sydney’s day festival scene, thought to teetering on the brink of being knocked out cold with the folding of Future Music and Stereosonic, is back and up fighting again with the hosting of Days Like This Festival festival last Saturday. Big words, but when you have one of the best house and techno line-ups I’ve been to in a while to back it up, I’ll stick by them.
I swore that I would never go to Randwick Racecourse again for a festival after having spent much of a previous Future waiting to get into and over a walkway as opposed to seeing any acts. But having seen the layout, much smaller, easier to get around, and more intimate, I recanted and have begun to question what my word is worth.
The day started with Toro Y Moi. If that isn’t the best sentence I’ve ever written then I don’t know what is. Standing out like a sore thumb for this line up, his live 6 piece act was a joy to behold. His chill-wave and funk beats captured this smaller crowd and didn’t let them go until he was finished picking up his cables after the set. Yes you read me correctly, barefoot and wearing some delightful pants, he was helping the stage hands pick up his cables. I’ve never seen this at a gig before and I’m sure I never will again.
Now a killer line up including Dixon, Soul Clap, Recondite, Adana Twins, Detroit Swindle, Omar S, Ben Klock, Ame being put into a 10 hour festival over 4 stages means you have to make some sacrifices, as there were some massive clashes. The Adana Twins, Detroit Swindle, and Recondite were all playing at the same time as Toro Y Moi, so there was a mad rush after his set to catch the last of Detroit Swindle’s set. They did not disappoint in just 30 minutes, playing a range of deep house from hard hitters to more disco and funk. The Adana Twins we caught briefly on the smallest of the 4 stages, and given that they played a 7pm slot at Habourlife just 2 years ago, it was great to see them play up close and personal.
One of the major players on the day, Dixon, was pumping his usual ultra deep house, deep tech. Playing to a packed crowd on the biggest stage, I watched as multiple people got lost into the world of his melodic, smooth deep tech. I’m not the biggest fan of Dixon, having seen him before, but I still can appreciate a genre done well, and he is one of the best.
Our next stop was Gold Panda, whom I had never heard of before, as I was apparently raised underneath a rock. The London producer played a live set, involving beat-pad and sampling. He had me motionless for the first 5 minutes just in awe of the speed and skill of his abilities. But as he stripped from a hoodie into a t-shirt, I took note and began to work up my own sweat. Hands down one of the best DJ sets I have seen for some time, involving future beats, indie dance, and electronica.
The smallest stage also hosted Henrik Schwarz, who played to an absolutely steaming packed crowd. His set, filled with pumping house and deep house, progressed and contained variety in genre and BPM.
By this stage our legs were weary and our minds were filled with beats, so we did a quick whip around the festival stages before we left as the crowds began to thin at the edges. Ben Klock dropping some Berlin Techno, John Talabot with some electronica and Indie Dance, and Kollektiv Turmstrasse with some slow deep house/deep tech.
So nobody is going to think that this was as big or as wild as Future or Stereo, but I much preferred the vibe. Smaller crowds, smaller bar lines, and less bare chested men in tight shorts gabbering. This little festival packed a punch, and I hope this is the direction that the Sydney festival scene takes. More intimate shows where you feel more connected to the artists you are watching.
author: Anthony Glanville
photos: Days Like This