Graced with beautiful and slightly over cast weather, the next big Australian electronic festival that goes by the name Festival X took place at RNA showgrounds Brisbane on Friday the 29th. With acts such as Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki on the top of the bill it was no wonder the day was such a big hit. As someone who loves EDM as much as I do the only thing that puts a damper on these types of events is the people, their attitudes and the obsession with substance abuse. I can happily say that this was not the case at Festival X. I could have just been one of the lucky ones who avoided anyone on to many drugs or who was looking for a fight but is it crazy to think people were actually there for the music for once. Everyone was in such a good mood, the drinks were flowing, the sun was shining and the music was pumping, it was an all round good vibe from the minute you entered the festival. I was also very impressed by all the Festival X outfits. Trends such as coloured braids, neon fishnet co-ords, big shoes and glitter from head to toe made a nice change to the standard bra and underpants combo. Everyone looked classy and ready to rave and that’s just what they did.
If you’re an EDM kid from way back like me, Steve Aoki is definitely a name you would have heard before. Known for his famous on stage cake smash and songs such as Boneless and Turbulence I couldn’t help but be bloody pumped to see him live. Playing in the early afternoon Aoki collected a crowd of thousands to the main stage who were all bursting at the seams with anticipation for his set. As a Musician, DJ, Record Producer and Music Executive, Steve Aoki is the whole package and he sure showcased just how much of a seasoned performer he is.
The energy was at an all time high for his entire set. People were screaming, dancing and jumping on shoulders all over the place, it was mayhem. Playing tracks such as his remix of Pursuit Of Happiness and I Wanna Rave the beats just kept on flowing and nothing else mattered in that moment except for the music. Unlike other DJs Aoki isn’t one to shy away from all the attention in fact he was the only one that got up close and personal with his fans. Showing off his killer paint crafted pants, Aoki lept around the DJ desks to the front of the stage all while singing and dancing to the beat of his own drum (literally). Then suddenly the beat dropped for the one and only track Cakesmash. Everyone knew what was coming next and you could feel the excitement in the air, it was cake smashing time! A bunch of assistants started walking out onto the stage with literal cakes and one after another Aoki threw them into the crowd at eager fans who for some reason really wanted to be covered in cake. Playing killer tracks from original to remix back to back with style and ease keeping the crowd pumping from the start to the very end.
I know a lot of people were very excited to see Lil Pump and he sure as hell brought his A-game. I have never seen a dude with so much energy in my entire life, I wanted to pass out just looking at him. The sun was beating down on the stage but Lil Pump did not stop moving, leaping from one side of the stage keeping the crowd ampted and roaring to go. Playing tracks such as Gucci Gang and Esskeetit, the crowd were singing and grooving along to every beat completely absorbed by Lil Pump’s enthusiastic performance.
In desperate need for a another dance, I made my way to the Helix stage to catch Paul Kalkbrenner spin the decks with some hectic bassy trance tracks. With little to no lyrics I just closed my eyes and gave into the beat which brought out all of my best dance moves. Throughout Paul’s set he kept a consistent underlining beat, no matter what what else he layered on top to funk up the track you could still keep grooving to the same tempo as the track got more and more interesting. I wasn’t at Pauls set for long as I wasn’t missing a second of Calvin Harris but I definitely enjoyed having a boogy with the few hundred people that made it to his set.
I cant even begin to describe how excited I was to see Calvin Harris live. His music has played on every car trip and at every party I have ever been to and I was ready for all those happy nostalgic memories to come flowing back. When talking about some of the leading names in the electronic scene, Calvin Harris definitely sits in the fore front of that list. Touring all over the world and performing at some of the worlds biggest music festivals its no wonder Australian fans were so excited to experience his high energy party tracks for themselves.
Appearing on a glowing elevated stage, Calvin looked like a tiny king on the top of a big castle. Even though you could only really see his head bobbin around between the smoke, strobe lights and confetti canyons the crowd was absolutely pumped and so was I. Lucky enough for Calvin his set was the first to commence after dark which means his pyrotechnics were insane with strobes and lazers partying along to the beat with us.
Calvin’s set consisted of every chart topping hit including Bounce,This Is What You Came For, Under Control and so much more. It made you want to dance, sing at the top of your lungs and scream from excitement all at the same time. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better Calvin hit Festival X with tracks Sweet Nothing (Florence & The Machine, We Found Love (Rihanna) and Promises (Sam Smith). It was a never ending party and the tunes just kept on flowing. Songs I forgot about like Summer, Feel So Close, Blame and I Need Your Love, all these feel good tracks that no matter the mood you are in make you feel good. Calvin Harris really does have the perfect blend of dance-able beats, catchy lyrics and that all round likeability from people of all ages and musical taste. Its hard to put into words just how incredible it was to see Calvin live after so many years of loving his music and the vibe in that crowd was something you needed to be apart of to understand. His set was an absolute stand out and it definitely exceeded my expectations.
ARMIN VAN BURREN
How do I even begin to describe Armin Van Buuren. He was absolutely incredible, it was like I’d taken a step out of Brisbane and teleported to Tomorrowland. Armin was the only act I hadn’t listened to before the festival and I was blown away by his beats and his performance. It was raw electronic rave music at its best and I did nothing but dance the entire time. Kicking off with single Repeat After Me, the crowd really did repeat back the beat to Armin and it started this crazy fandom respect that what he says goes and everybody worshipped him. All around the main arena dance circles broke out and as the beats kept rolling everyone kept moving closer and closer to the stage. I found myself in the pit when Armin dropped single Blah Blah Blah and I couldn’t have picked a better time to be right up close to the stage. Armin has the charisma to hold and control a crowd in the palm of his hand and I got to experience that first hand.
I have generally found that most trance DJs can get a little repetitive but this was not the case with Armin. Every song had a different feel and it was all so uplifting and dance worthy it was impossible to stand still. Armin received the full VIP treatment with lights, smoke and confetti and during his closing track fireworks were set off from behind the stage as well. His set was so exciting, I was so pumped up the entire time and I loved that you just couldn’t predict what was coming next. It was a performance that I’m so thankful I didn’t miss and it was the best ending to an incredible day.
See you in 2020 FESTIAL X!