With some of the biggest names in Australian electronic music signed to their label, Future Classic have built quite the empire for themselves over the past decade. As their name suggests, they’ve been pretty strategic with the artists they’ve recruited – they’ve got a signature sound with a large amount of cred and influence on the Australian music scene. So really, they would expect no less than to host their 10th anniversary celebration on the peninsula of the Sydney Opera House with evening views of Vivid lights in the harbour and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The Friday night show kicked off super early for the day job workers of Sydney, with Touch Sensitive on stage at 4:10pm. It’s a shame that more people couldn’t make it out to see the Sydney producer rock out on the bass to hits like Teen Idols and Pizza Guy. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again, producers that play a ‘real instrument’ on stage along to their electronic tracks have a sort of performance X-factor that makes them stand out.
Then Hayden James hit the decks and showed off his subtle rhythm pad hits and moulded the crowd with his music. They danced, they swayed, they jumped to the beats he put out – it was almost as if everyone forgot where they were for a second and were just taken away. He even got Touch Sensitive back on stage for some smooth bass beats.
Seekae were probably the most unusual sounding artists of the night, with strange rhythmic drum beats and atmospheric sounds that floated across the harbour. It was a nice break to warm up for the headlining acts to come, providing a chilled vibe at the event.
There was an immediate atmosphere change when Flight Facilities blasted onto the stage with an encompassing set. True to form, they viewed their performance as an aeroplane flight, from lift off to landing with voice overs to match. Owl Eyes provided shimmering vocals, and there were even guest appearances from The Presets‘ Julian on keys and Kurt Kristen on vocals for “Sunshine”. But one of their most exciting surprises on the night was a cover of “Another World” by The Chemical Brothers which fit so seamlessly into their set that it easily could have been written by them.
Finally, Flume, the leader of the Future Classic pack, graced the stage, and quite frankly it was like being in the presence of music royalty. Since 2012 when he first dropped his iconic self-titled album, he has been incredibly influential in bringing Australian electronic acts to the international stage, so seeing him on a home stage is few and far between and a very special experience.
Highlights included hearing a new track from his What So Not project (with such a dirty beat that I for one can’t wait till he drops the recorded version of this), a guest performance from Collarbones‘ Marcus Whale in a new track, and hearing Miike Snow‘s Andrew Wyatt perform their latest track together.
But it was clear that Flume is one of the greats not just because of his songwriting and producing but for his ability to work a crowd – he had people dancing from start to finish, with crazed fans shouting out “Flume is the king!” He ended with his remix tribute to Lorde’s “Tennis Court” and it almost seemed like an anti-climax because with so many hits he could have kept the party going long afterwards.
The night was an important celebration of Future Classic’s influence on electronic music in Australia – but was also just a whole lot of fun! However, it did bring to light the lack of female producers signed by the label – over the two nights there was only one female act (George Maple) which is such a shame with so much talent up and coming. Nonetheless, a great night and an incredible setting for such influential music talent in Australia.
By Erin Rooney