Pwoarrr … what a day! To be completely honest, I’d rather keep the beauty of City Loop festival to myself and make it a little secret. But that would be greedy so instead I’ll let you know that the inaugural City Loop Festival went out with a bang on the early Saturday of November as the sun shined at the beginning of the Melbourne festival circuit. The long-running and experienced collectives Soothsayer and I Oh You joined forces for a special day to deliver a myriad of tunage of a very special kind.
Headlining the festival was Cut Copy, who will always go down in Australian history as a music group that continues to release high-quality music as their own ensemble or by releasing the music of other incredible local artists even after years of hitting the big-time with their dance music.
You could tell from the moment we walked in that there was a particular flavour of sound of the day because Cut Copy was a headliner. It was a flavour that resembled that of their old ‘Oceans Apart’ record release. Not only did Ben Fester, Andy Garvey, Francis Inferno Orchestra, CC:DISCO!, Love Deluxe, Mildlife and Kllo all sound like that kind of style, even the intermission music was on-point, featuring artists in the same realm of light and experimental dance music with a hint of indie electronic like Ara Koufax.
The location was perfect for the event. It took place next to the Old Melbourne Gaol and created such a fun vibe that felt as though you were in some kind of old Medieval, Gothic European town, but if you looked up further into the sky you would see the backdrop of the city’s skyscrapers. There’s no other festival in the city like it. Seeing the tall buildings towering through the square where the happy-go-lucky crowd was having a boog was incredibly pleasing on the eye.
A delayed arrival meant that we walked into a personal favourite song of mine for 2018, ‘The Magnificent Moon’ by the talented Mildlife. You could tell instantly that Mildlife are going to be big, and I would very happily compare them to Tame Impala. They’re like the baby Tame Impala after they brought out ‘Innerspeaker’ in 2010, but instead of having a hint of psychedelic rock, they’re much more jazz influenced. I’m really looking forward to hearing them further develop their sound and I imagine it won’t take them long to do so as they play frequently throughout the summer at different music festivals. They sound just as good live as they do on their album which is exactly how you want to hear live music.
Uptown stage featured the bands while Downtown featured the dance artists. But regardless of which stage you were at, they were both fab to boogie at. Set-up and soundcheck between artists at the Uptown stage gave us enough time to explore the venue and head to the other stage to have a little listen. The nature of these kinds of high-quality day events is usually the clashes, and while we chose to spend more time at the Uptown stage than the Downtown stage, there’s still a great opportunity to even-out your time between the two.
Following Mildlife, we saw Dance Party Pyrotechnics Association. These guys are unreal. Luckily this wasn’t the first time we had seen them. They have an amazing vibe as they played all the best sing-along favourites from Aretha Franklin to Whitney Houston and CeCe Peniston which had everyone up on their feet.
Kllo’s performance was inspiring and had us in awe. Chloe Kaul’s voice is on its very own wavelength – unique and gentle, yet simultaneously powerful. The way that their sound captured the crowd instantly was impressive and majestic and was completely different to the artists before and after, which demonstrates the success of the organisers who were able to book such diverse acts.
Ben Fester, Francis Inferno Orchestra and Cut Copy had the little dancefloors heaving and CC:DISCO! played an unforgettable set of absolute classic stompers and brought the energy from sunset through to the night. The crowd of the festival made it special – it was friendly and unpretentious, which is sometimes hard to come by at dance music festivals in Melbourne. City Loop exceeded our expectations and it was shattering when Cut Copy and CC had to end, but we hope that the success of the weekend means we will all be back below the cityscape again next year.