Listen Out has come back doing the rounds, the lineup having some fan favourites as well as the Red Bull Music Academy stage coming back to bring young talent. This year the festival was simplified to two stages; this idea of festivals becoming smaller and more manageable continues to prove popular amongst music fans. It seems making it easier and thus cheaper encourages fans to come along. Gone are the days of big extravagant festivals with five or six different stages. In this case, Listen Out offered two stages, Atari and the 909 stage; Atari was outdoors under the huge big top tent while 909 remained indoors providing some awesome pyrotechnics.
Listen Out also updated how things run in that it started earlier in the afternoon so it could finish earlier at night. Considering Brisbane’s leg of the tour was hosted on a Sunday, it seemed like a good idea. Fans could party hard to Childish Gambino and still be in bed by 11pm. Perhaps that was the best thing about Listen Out, the line-up.
ILoveMakonnen made some noise at the Atari stage and fans weren’t afraid to match it. It seemed even that early in the day police squads were roaming the edges of the stage to keep the crowd in check. Before moving onto Rae Sremmurd (pictured) we hit up the VIP bar. VIP bars can be quite hit and miss. The Laneway Festival had a fantastic one this year inside an air-conditioned bar, donned with pretty lights. Punters at Future Music Festival couldn’t forget the infamous fenced areas under tents that were being described as a VIP bar. Despite sun lounges and cold water, it was still just an enclosed space as blistering hot as anywhere else on the grounds. Listen Out’s VIP bar had the cool, darkness of an indoor area with ample seating and friendly concierge.
ODESZA was the next act to check out. The duo and their symmetrical double drum act infect you right down to the bone. Other acts that fans seemed to swarm towards were Ryan Hemsworth inside the darkened 909 Stage and of course Alison Wonderland, who has been the darling of DJs this year. Back again to 909, there was SBTRKT’s DJ set. Surrounded by an honour guard of keyboards and modulators his set in the dark took you worlds away. It was hard to believe Brisbane was just beyond the bright lights and deep shadows.
Punters had a choice between Golden Features or Childish Gambino for the final act of the night. Needless to say, AU made a move towards Childish Gambino at the Atari stage. Rocking his shirtless, karate kid bandana stage persona, Gambino was truly deserving of the headline act. Were fans hesitant at all after some bad press at his sideshows? Who knows, but on that night there was no animosity. Hits like “Heartbeat”, “3005” and “Sweatpants” had the crowd going insane. They were physically carrying women and wheelie bins over the tops of their hands into the angry grip of security. Two very different things, but still a crazy night nonetheless.
Before it was even close to midnight, swathes of people spilled out into Brisbane’s valley. The throb of music left rattling in their heads, and the sight of Gambino on their mind this year’s Listen Out was another fantastic festival.