Oh Listen Out, once again, we return to the weather-worn grass of HBF Arena’s Western Parklands; a pilgrimage from the south, by train and car and bus, all for the sake of what our confused yet encouraging parents would call ‘doof doof music’.
Oh Listen Out, thank you for showcasing the best of Instagram baddie fashion, all in one place. One half of the attendees were wearing camouflage in some capacity, making it extremely difficult to navigate the empty-looking festival grounds (how are you meant to see them!? They’re too well hidden!) The remaining half were clad in more (or less) I.AM.GIA than you can poke an overpriced Teddy jacket at- to steal the words of Sophie, ‘why are so many girls out here looking like a racetrack?’ My mum jeans and BROCKHAMPTON hoodie did the job when the cool weather began to set in after sunset. But boy, did I wish I could pull off wearing crotch-less pants, a sparkly train-drivers hat and boots with flames on them.
Oh Listen Out, thank you for blessing us with Haiku Hands, the most delightfully daggy girl group Triple J Unearthed has ever unearthed. Holding an early afternoon slot on the Atari Stage, they made the early start worth it with co-ordinated dance moves, almost-crowd surfing and self thrown streamers to their biggest single Not About You. We discovered that they’re mates with Confidence Man, which explains… a lot. We also discovered their love of Instagram – they responded to our Instagram story, and tried to video chat this very sleepy and tired editor at 12.41am. 10/10 would have Haiku Hands slide into my DMs again, please let us interview you you angels.
Oh Listen Out, thank you for bringing the BROCKHAMPTON juggernaut to Australia for the first time. Full disclosure – this editor adores BROCKHAMPTON. Sophie, even more so. The entire crowd screamed along to popular tracks BOOGIE and QUEER, dripping with sweat and reaching hands high to the afternoon sun. Being the third crowd in the world to see the group perform cuts of their most recent album iridescence was something special too. The small posse of fans we were surrounded by hung off every word that came out Kevin Abstract’s mouth, with the girl next to me fawning whenever Matt Champion ran to our side of the stage. This was boyband level extreme.
Oh but Listen Out, you still had a downside. That mosh, whilst a lot of sweaty fun, was unsafe. People much smaller than me were being plucked out by security every few seconds, whether due to exhaustion or being crushed against the barrier of people. It didn’t help that artists kept requesting the mosh to open up in the centre; I’m sure it was fun if you were amongst the circle pit, but it meant that a) people from the back of the pit could easier brute force push their way to the front, and b) everyone else at the front was pushed even tighter against each other. Some may argue that this is standard for this type of festival, and that it can’t be avoided when such a huge act like BROCKHAMPTON is playing. But surely, you know you have a problem when even the burly security guards, after lifting person after collapsed person out of the mosh, are mouthing ‘Jesus Christ’ under their breath.
Oh Listen Out, how we missed the long queues for overpriced food trucks and badly mixed drinks. $5 chips and $15 burgers provide such sweet nourishment when you’re drunk/high/exhausted and have some serious munchies going on. Nonetheless, eating tacos on a hill and watching ASAP Rocky and Snakehips on opposing stages offered a nicely timed break from the main stage mosh madness. Even better was receiving a drunken message from a friend in the Skepta mosh, timed brilliantly with him playing massive hit Shutdown, which simply read ‘daddy skepraaaaa [sic]’. This was closely followed by a photo of her holding up her shoe, captioned ‘almost lost a shoe up the front of Brock big mad’. If that doesn’t give you a summary of the Atari stage from 5pm onwards, I don’t know what does.
Oh sweet, unpredictable Listen Out – haven for drugged up private school kids, dance music fiends and rap fans alike – thank you for another year of shenanigans. Thank you for the ever impeccable satirical fun of Confidence Man, complete with light up bras and shoulder pads. Thank you for DJ Ziggy, the oddball hype man behind Manu Crooks’ set who abused the ever-living soul out of the airhorn button on his Ableton. Thank you for Poloshirt, who all wore matching striped tees that they probably bought from H and M that morning. We exited the grounds to the gentle sound of Skrillex finishing his set with Bangarang – fading, fading into the distance like an electronic dubstep whisper on the wind, transporting us back to 2012 dinner dances and balls in an instant. We head home, blasting Iridescence down the freeway, Macca’s chips on board. Until next year, Listen Out.
Bridget Rumball | @youwillbefoldingstars
Photography by Sophie Minissale | @sophiefromtheabstract