Listen Out Brisbane 2018
Listen Out Brisbane 2018
Written by Aimee Ravik
Photos by Vincent Shaw
After bucketing down rain all morning, the sun came out to greet the fine Brisbane folk as they trickled through the gates of Listen Out. There was a fairly heavy police presence to greet the crowd upon entry, cutting some festival goers days short, but thankfully the smooth beats of Kira Puru flowed in from the mainstage and brought a bit of party back to the slightly confronting wall of cops.
Her huge track Tension has been getting some solid rotations on Triple J, and the crowd was small but dedicated, holding onto her every word. The opening beats of the track Molotov off her self-titled EP from this year came over the speakers, more than one person slipped over in the mud out of excitement. She set the tone for the day with a huge set, the only unfortunate thing was how few people were there to see it.
With the iconic FlexMami on the decks (if you aren’t familiar – peep her Instagram in awe) Haiku Hands took to the stage bringing with them the 2018 epitome of pop music and their fresh integrated dance moves that would put the Spice Girls to shame. After their huge Splendour in the Grass set expectations were high and there was more than one person in the crowd feeling themselves when Haiku Hands started playing an unreleased track with the main lyric of “you can be my man bitch”. The band gave the crowd everything they had, making it a huge experience even on a budget throwing out streamers into the crowd during their second last track.
With only 10 minutes between acts on the main stage, there was little energy lost before collaborative project between Winston Surfshirt and Polographia, Poloshirt hit the stage, and boy did they hit it hard. Pushing through mic issues in their opening track, they pulled it together fast spinning some sensual tunes that really pulled a crowd around the main stage. Bringing out their guest artist Price J for their track Too Good To Be True the set had another level of intimacy that was embraced completely when Winston pulled a fast one on the entire crowd and came running out from the main entry of the festival, while still keeping with the beat.
After slowing things down a bit, getting a little more laid-back Manu Crooks had his very own hype man come onstage and get crowds energy back up for the Sydney rapper. It was the first act to really draw people to the stage from other areas just to hear his set. The biggest stand out was his recent release Fuego, before a huge finish on Everyday.
Noname hit the stage, and the crowd was well and truly ready for her, but it kind of missed the mark the crowd was looking for. Spitting eloquent bars and rapping with a purpose the Illinois artist won the crowd over mentioning that the next song was about sex – “I had sex for the first time and I was like omg dick is amazing why did I wait 25 years for this”.
Next up was an act who has had more hype than any other name on the act in recent months, Brockhampton. They had a rocky start with some cohesive dance moves that were reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys, and not in a good way. But as the set progressed they really pulled it together, dedicated their track Sweet to two boys on the front barrier wearing matching Wu-Tang Clan shirts. The audio felt like it was turned down more than the acts prior, and the band struggled with getting the crowd completely behind them, that was until Bleach. Anything lacking in the set was completely forgiven as soon as they got half way through the track, with people crowd surfing and a blow up slice of pizza in the mix, Brockhampton really showed Brisbane they weren’t here to mess around.
There was a sad silence that came over the crowd when Brockhampton left the stage. At this point in the evening most people in the crowd were desperate for someone to dance to, and when Skepta made an appearance he was happy to oblige. If anything the crowd got a little too into it, with one festival goer starting a fight with a police officer during It Ain’t Safe. The highlight of the set was someone throwing their Nike Air Max Deluxe/ Skepta shoe at him – intending to get it signed or some recognition only to have him get pissed off and give the shoe to someone else.
With the biggest break between sets, and one of the most exaggerated set designs of the tour, A$AP Rocky well and truly had arrived, with bursts of fire and a car cut in half. Within seconds of A$AP taking to the stage someone let off fireworks, and he was easily the best live performer of the day, completely demanding everyone’s attention with tracks like Praise The Lord, Everyday and LSD. The Absolute highlight of the set was A$AP bringing someone on the stage who looked like Lil Yachty before playing F**kin’ Problems. If there was only one reason to go to Listen Out, A$AP Rocky was it, if you missed out, god damn you really missed out.
Somehow despite performing under the moniker of Skrillex for 14 years now, he’s still got it. Playing remixes from as far back as his catalogue goes including Scary Monster and Nice Sprites, and the remix of the Benny Benasi hit Cinema, and even as recent as Kendrick Lamar’s Humble. Skrillex was the perfect end for a huge day of acts, somehow having a track for every emotion, even including Post Malone’s Celebration in the mix, despite having some audio issues but he gave the set everything and the crowd ate it up. Finishing the night in a big way he came out for an encore, getting everyone in the crowd to use their phone as a torch, and closed out on the Kanye West feat. Lil Pump track I Love It.
Worthy Mentions: Confidence Man, Enschway, Snakehips, Made In Paris.