If we’re disappointed with the acts coming to the Philippines, then why don’t we make our own music festival? It doesn’t have to really happen – it can all be in our heads. And thus, the earthings! Fantasy Festival was born. Today, Niko Batallones writes about the five acts he wants to see live, and an unexpected theme that ties them all in: dancing.
I realized a couple of things while compiling my list for Fantasy Festival week. One, my relative familiarity with the artists I have chosen meant I find my final line-up a bit meh compared to my fellow fantasy curators. Two, my preference branch out so wildly it’s hard to create a stage where the acts sound great when put together – sure, festivals don’t go that way, but like when you compiling a playlist, it ends up happening anyway. So the Faraday stage – named after one of my favorite Lost characters – ended up being some sort of disco stage, starting off with a good DJ duo and ending with some really sexy glam rock. Unfortunately, that meant not having London Grammar or First Aid Kit around. Maybe if we do this next year? [NB]
Flight Facilities have yet to release an album, but the Sydney-based DJ duo have released six singles, and remixed a bunch of other songs, including this track, which you might remember for that moment in Grand Theft Auto V where Michael gets abducted by aliens. I picked them solely because I feel it would be nice to start things off with a chill DJ set. But then again, if you can’t help but boogie, you can do so, because the Flight Facilities boys are just so good with the retro-yet-fresh get down. Which reminds me, I will need a disco ball for the stage. A pretty big one.
Sure, I never really planned to go to Laneway Singapore – at least not yet; whenever the announcement comes along, it always feels like short notice to me – but whenever I hear about the event, I think of the 2013 edition, and of how I was this close to seeing Kimbra. (I mean, no visas needed, not to mention a familiarity, and love, of the city. It is ideally a no-brainer.) Longtime blog readers would know that I got into Kimbra around the time this blog started, and I have since loved her jittery, crazy, sexy mix of jazz, funk and pop: an electronic beat under Motown flourishes, that voice that can go places, and the ability to stage a fun, to-hell-with-everything live show. She almost wasn’t on this list, but I write this in a week when she wraps up production on her follow-up to Vows. I can dream of being the guy whose stage is where she debuts her new stuff, right? Yeah. I can.
On the other hand, Haim was at Laneway Singapore this year – although them being on the list is really just coincidence. Este Haim’s bass face aside, the sisters’ perky personalities – well, that much I can glean from their radio interviews, which can go all over the place – and their occasionally maligned yet still jumpy pop-rock would make for a pretty, well, jumpy set. Inevitable I-know-better backlash aside, Haim’s that not-really-rare breed of artist, one that became cool (in a hazy way) because of their portrayal as genre-blending geniuses with a pretty cool backstory, but ultimately are just (and I don’t mean this in a demeaning way) pop-rockers with a knack for a tune and a bit of atmosphere. Not that you’re supposed to think of all that analysis when you watch them live.
I asked everyone to include at least one band that you don’t really care about, and I decided to throw Imagine Dragons into the pot. As I mentioned a few blog entries ago, they’re that sort of electronica-influenced band who, in theory, should excite me, but end up not doing so because of their mostly by-the-numbers sound. And then I saw their performance at the Grammys with Kendrick Lamar. I get that some people aren’t glad to see the Dragons act as a back-up band for the Clark-bound rapper, but I thought they held their own. Or maybe it’s the intensity of it all. I don’t know. They’ve got a lot of fans here, at least from what I see, and I can’t figure out why nobody’s brought them to Manila yet. Or maybe someone’s trying to.
Finally, my headliners, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Who doesn’t want to see Karen O and gang sex everything up as the night falls? I mean, considering the relatively disco-lite theme of the Faraday stage, this is the perfect way to end it: their 80s-tinged, glamorous, dirty, utterly sexy sound. Granted, I write this as a guy who loved the band after impulsively buying It’s Blitz! in Singapore – that album being a bit of an outlier, with its more obvious pop hooks – but across their discography there’s always something that will make you wiggle your body parts, whether in jubilation, if you still feel like shimmying – or in restoration, something like “the night’s almost over, let’s get ready to go home,” that kind of thing. It might not fit everybody’s needs, but then again, I am limited to five acts – and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I think, do a good job of covering every base. (Tomorrow: a stage with acts chosen by you.)