What Went Down… Under: Future Music Festival @ Doomben Racecourse, Brisbane

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Image Julian Smith

With Future Music Festival Asia (FMFA) approaching fast, the generous peeps at Livescape Asia, Future Entertainment, and Tourism Malaysia gave JUICE the opportunity to have a first-hand experience of just exactly what Future Music Festival (FMF) is like. We were sent to Brisbane for the Brisbane iteration of FMF, and had a heck of a time.

Brett Robinson, director of Future Entertainment, promised us what we saw at Brisbane’s FMF was a good representation of what FMFA will be like – guaranteeing the experience would be replicated the best they could here in Malaysia. Separated by 4 stages — 2 being absolutely massive while the other 2 smaller in scale – the festival also had installations that range from a foam bath to a friggin’ slingshot.

While this might have been the norm in Australia, such an ambitious music festival in Malaysia is nigh unheard of. Even if a fraction of the festival’s scale were brought over to Kuala Lumpur, we’d still be as impressed as a high school graduate who just got his first taste of the night life. All doe-eyed and blazed out like Bambi on crack.

A good number of acts in the line-up are also slated to perform at the Malaysian stop of the gallivanting festival. We saw Tinie Tempah, The Wombats, Chase & Status, Azari & III, Holy Ghost!, Hercules & Love Affair, Alex Metric, The Stafford Brothers, and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem. And holy sh#t people, not to sound like a festival amateur but this writer right here has only attended two music festivals (including this one), we were balls out (all dangly) of the pants impressed. Even the erratic rainy weather didn’t stop us from treading the muddy grounds from one stage to another.

We weren’t the biggest fan of Tinie Tempah prior to this, but his energetic performance made an instant fan out of us. A rare gift among rappers, Tinie had amazing breath control despite his animated stage presence. With decent audience interaction, Tinie delivered worthy live renditions of his expected hits, from ‘Written in the Stars’ to ‘Pass Out’ as well as lesser known numbers fans are sure to recognise.

Criminally underheard Azari & III got on the stage with their electronic drum kit and a bank of keys to a crowd of cross-armed punters, all of whom got their arses shaking once the band kicked off with the pulsating ‘Manhooker’. Once flamboyant members Fritz and Cedric, the default vocalists-cum-dancers of the band, got on stage and start gyrating to their bongo hit ‘Lost in Time’, the crowd went from listening party to frat boy party in an instance.

Now more reality stars than DJs, The Stafford Brothers spun a mean house set regardless, proving exactly why they got to be on TV in the first place. Alex Metric might not be all that recognisable ‘round our part of the world, but after witnessing his set at FMF Brisbane, it would be a disservice for you to miss him this 17 March. Showing acute acumen of mixing ’80s synth funk and epic MDMA sound, it was one of the better EDM moments of the fest.

Meanwhile Chase & Status were one of the best moments of the dance stage, playing their set live behind decks and keyboards. The duo offered the crowd a pulverising fusion of jungle, ragga, dubstep and testosterone techno – easily outshining Skrillex before ‘em.

Despite their namesake, The Wombats are really Brit lads. We wager the name still played some part to the reactive crowd they performed to. Performing their older stuff along with their now electronic-friendly sound of the recent album, The Wombats closed their performance with a rockin’ rendition of ‘Let’s Dance to Joy Division’, which was fitting as New Order were up next.

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