(Photo by Jordan Munns)
FLIGHT FACILITIES - AIRFIELDS
Entertainment Quarter, March 19 2022
THERE WAS COMPROMISE, there were failings of a sort, but it genuinely didn’t matter, because there was something else going on here that mattered more. It was, quite seriously, the vibe of the thing.
Under an absolutely clear sky, standing on squelchy, rapidly turning to mud, ground, with the ultra-bright lights of the neighbouring Sydney Cricket Ground playing night-time sun, it felt good to be here and part of this. Yes, it’s already a cliché of 2022, but that doesn’t make it any less true that just getting out is a win, that feeling the press of bodies is a thrill, that experiencing music through something other than headphones or your Bluetooth speakers is deeply satisfying.
And we were in the right company. Flight Facilities, their songs working on flow rather than peaks and plunges, on buoyant melodies whose undercurrent is an almost melancholic wistfulness rather than gurning effervescence, have always been purveyors of not just a good but a communally warm time. Their songs declare that “I need you, but you don’t want me too”, or “they stare at me while I stare at you … it’s true I crave you”, yet look around and you see that everyone singing along with those lines feels anything but alone.
Not surprisingly then, Airfields, their “curated” program of DJs and simpatico artists, built through the afternoon and evening into something whose attitude was, as a friend of mine noted, more European cruisy than Australian bustling. By the time the duo of Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell, and their rotating crop of vocalists, appeared at the unsettlingly early time of 8.15, even the mosquitoes had chilled out.
(Photo by Jordan Munns)
All of which helped to counter the fact that, presumably for reasons of neighbourly concern, the impressive outdoor sound rig was playing at a volume more appropriate for a chillout room than a dance space. While Flight Facilities are not about the big beat, you do still want to feel that beat and ride its groove, and this underpowered presentation lacked the oomph to match the vivid and sometimes quite eye-popping visuals offered on the on-stage screens (the side-of-stage screens being devoted to singers and be-costumed main men).
But hey, this was a show that almost didn’t happen, rescued late in the week after its original venue of Victoria Park was abandoned due to the effects of weeks of rain, so being here at all was a win. And we were winning together, which after all was the point.
Flight Facilities play Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, March 26; Riverstage, Brisbane, April 2; Yours & Owls Festival, Wollongong, April 3; Hobart City Hall, April 7; Bonython Park, Adelaide, April 9; Darwin Amphitheatre, April 23; Red Hill Auditorium, Perth, April 30.
A version of this review was published originally in The Sydney Morning Herald.