Another weekend, another festival; who’d want it any other way? Laneway 2015 in Brisbane was on a particularly warm Saturday, which may or may not have influenced a lengthy refuge at the covered stages. Sheltered from the heat, acts like Mansionair, JOY, Eves The Behaviour, and Raury were well received by the swelling crowd. Tkay Maidza bounced around as she did her thing with remarkable flow, but a boost of her microphone level wouldn’t have gone astray.
Andy Bull’s band was a treat, employing some creative liberty and turning some of his songs into synthy jam sessions. All the way from New Orleans, Benjamin Booker was both raw and moving, doing his part for the blues on the Laneway circuit.
Almost out of nowhere, rain began falling by the bucket load, forcing most to shelter. But over by the solitary exposed stage, there remained a small crowd of those that were thankful for the cool down. Royal Blood set the soundtrack for the punters reveling in the rain at the Mistletone stage, with impressive energy for a two-piece.
Most of the serious raving was going down in the intimacy of the Red Bull Music Academy | Future Classic tent, with an all-star cast of electronic music maestros strutting their stuff. As the sun disappeared, Rustie made his entrance. Strobes flared as the producer seriously turned up, banging out his signature bright trap sounds, material old and new. Little Dragon packed out the tent, tiny front-woman Yukimi Nagano commanding the stage with no worries, whilst Jon Hopkins performed to a modest but attentive audience, entrancing onlookers with his drawn out symphonies of sound design.
Elsewhere, BANKS was ruthlessly commanding and drew a huge crowd, demonstrating why she’s the queen of dark pop music. Her vocal prowess fell slightly short of the mark in her lowest register, but when she reached up to those high passages, she truly shone.
It was something of a shame that the event organisers had slotted FKA Twigs directly after Caribou on the same stage, which resulted in a stylistic disparity that was slightly jarring. Where Caribou absolutely killed it with driving lengthy electronic jams that really got people bumping, FKA Twigs’ display of eerie melodies and trippy, glitch-laden beats was more of a stand-and-watch affair. Despite the toning down, she was certainly one of the most captivating spectacles of the festival. The Briton’s set began with her lithe frame silhouetted against a warm stage light. She moved hauntingly to the ethereal sounds, dressed in revealing apocalyptic garb, while exhibiting world-class vocal abilities.
Jungle were beyond impressive, serving up one of the best festival sets I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. The whole ensemble gelled remarkably well, and anyone with two feet had at least one tapping involuntarily away to their contagious funk jams.
Closing the night back under the RBMA/Future Classic tent was none other than the prolific Flying Lotus. A time-slot with Flight Facilities in 2015 is not easily shared, but the doyen drew a very respectable crowd. His sets might not be as easily appreciated by those less familiar with his music, but anyone with a taste for experimental electronic beats and really tripped out visuals needs to see a FlyLo performance.
The evening wrapped up late, with spent punters exiting the arena well after midnight. Individually, each act was at least enjoyable, but the inevitable conundrum in scheduling was particularly frustrating this time around. Nonetheless, Laneway Brisbane was by no means a terrible way to spend a summer’s day. I’ll see you next year.