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Review - Future Music Festival 2008 - Brisbane

Author: Patricia Escalon
Thursday, 6 March 2008
Future Music Festival this year heralded the end of summer in Brisbane. The hot midday sun lapped at the exposed skin of thousands of bare torsos, as they wound through the Doomben racecourse, intent on a good time. On the 30th anniversary of the Mardi Gras parade, Future Music was making its own history.

FM offered a bouncy castle, drink vouchers, food stalls within metres of every stage, shade marquees and an ambulance stop at both the Famous and Future Music stages. If this sounds self-evident, then you haven't been to festivals before. Easy access to the ambo's is unheard of. Water refilling stations in front of drinks tents, ditto. Clean toilets with enough toilet paper to last all day- Forget about it. Yet here it was. There was even a silent disco for sensitive ears.

Sadly, the silent disco disappointed the masses. Dluxx delivered a lacklustre performance, with hardly a memorable tune. Central Station stayed all of two minutes, just enough to get an impression of old skool hip hop and some dodgy '80s remixes.

Nick Galea, on the other hand, was in tune with the mellow vibe of a Saturday afternoon, offering a blend of '70s psychedelia. 'Sweet Dreams' had its own little posse of Eurhythmics fans chilling out in the Famous stage. From Nick Galea's easy listening, CS headed over to watch the Potbelleez ripping it up.

Initially scheduled for an hour, the Potbelleez exceeded the definition of a warm up band. Their energetic vocals, high energy '90s trash house, and mad vocalist Don Alback had the crowd singing in unison to 'Don't Hold Back'. The crowd was in a hyperactive mood as the Potbelleez handed over to Laidback Luke. His light airy house, which morphed into sweet techno could not hold their attention, though.

CS sought refuge with Carl Kennedy's easy anthems, as he filled the dance floor with buttery, deep bass, and sensually sweet tunes. As Kennedy transitioned into a more aggressive hip-hop, the dancers swung into action. African drums with a Brazilian undertone whipped them into a frenzy.

Still hungry for some mellow afternoon sounds, CS sniffed around the Future Funk and VIP stages. The only draw-card was the air-conditioning in the end. High up in the enclosed bleachers of Doomben, Vinyl Slingers and Cosmo Cater were driving the punters away with a half-hearted performance. After such a letdown, the only solution was John Digweed.

Digweed's deep bass interlaced with metallic droplets spiralled upwards into galloping beats. His reggaeton-inspired tunes shook hips, swivelled bodies, sliding into lightly skipping beats. The final tack sprayed the air with sound droplets, bidding us goodbye.

Following Digweed, Roger Sanchez delivered his crazy, happy, jumpy beats to a thinning crowd. They hardly appreciated his deep, thrusting, old school house. Sven Vath watched the audience from the stage, reading their mood while he waited for Sanchez to finish.

Vath belted out tribal African drums at a frenetic pace, switching to a deep, drawn out bass. He mixed a thumping heartbeat with Cumbia and Senegalese vocals. He took the audience into a bubble, overlaid with techno loops, swivelling in concentric circles until he reached the constant rhythms of African dance. He was the perfect warm up to the Chemical Brothers.

Headline act is an understatement for the Chemical Brothers. Their visuals would have carried an art installation. Robot armies followed elephants, preceded by silhouettes of dancers floating through the air. Trance distorted vocals mesmerised the crowds, pulling them to the mosh pit. Thumping bass mainlined into the dancers veins. Beats soared skywards, drawing our eyes to the 3D cathedral on the screen.

The music guided us as we flew through the nave, into the spire, up the domes, out the window. The saturation point never arrived, underscoring the mea