OutsideIn Festival Review

Picture this: one venue, a bunch of bands and a handful of DJs riding out for about ten hours one Saturday night. There’s a focus on genre and the curators are those running exciting record labels and events around Australia.

Sounds pretty decent, hey? Well that’s because it is. If you were at the Factory Theatre on Saturday night, you were lucky enough to experience OutsideIn – a boutique music festival ran by the good people of Yes Please and Astral People.

With a monstrous lineup, the festival went from day to night and spilled out into two of the Factory Theatre’s performance spaces, as well as hosted DJs in the venue’s courtyard.

You enter a space, almost like a den. It’s completely pitch black; the only allowance of vision being that through the help of floodlights and strobe lights. At the back of the stage facing the audience, there are visual projections creating kaleidoscopic patterns through symmetrical shapes that just keep evolving out of it’s neighbour. This is the Factory Floor; a mysterious little room that lives on the ground level of the Factory Theatre.

The first act of the festival to capture my complete attention in this space for OutsideIn was POLOGRAPHIA. A Sydney piece creating some of the country’s greatest electronic music, the duo displayed an array of their greatest work, including a Wu Tang cover and a guest appearance by Rainbow Chan, gracing the stage with her saxophone. Concluding their set with ‘Righteous Hit’, Polographia created a real tropical, heavenly vibe that was enjoyed by all of the filled out Factory Floor.

FISHING played the Factory Floor next. Comprising of Doug Wright and Russell Fitzgibbon, the duo create music based on an overlay of synths, reverberation and sloppy samples that have been chopped up with a razor sharp blade. Recently signing to Yes Please Records, the boys showcased a selection of both new and old tracks from their growing catalogue, including a fantastic break down by Doug Wright (who is easily now the greatest white male rapper I have ever seen). Describing OutsideIn as “the best festival in the world”, the duo ended on their first single, ‘OOOO’.

If you had some spare time, the GoodGod Courtyard was something to check out. Propped up with inflatable pool toys (featuring a giant clown fish, a shark and blow up boogie boards), this was the place where you were guaranteed a jive. I caught a decent amount of TIM SING and MARY’S BASEMENT as day morphed into night. Spinning 70s cult classics amongst others, both acts really created a fun vibe for the courtyard of the Factory Theatre.

The afternoon had played out swell, but it was time to venture upstairs and check out the Main Stage of the boutique festival.

Clearly acting as the Factory Floor’s older brother, the Main Stage consisted of three massive, white draped curtains, also with visuals projected onto them. The substantial splashes of colour that both hit against this backdrop and showered the musicians consisted of cubed patterns, psychedelic suns and obscure flowers continuously spilling out of each other.

A harmonious partner that worked with these stunning visuals so perfectly was the beautiful OLIVER TANK. Opening with his track, ‘Up All Night’ off his EP Dreams, the humble performer filled up the main room of the Factory almost instantly. His set consisted of his own songs, as well as a cover of Snoop Dogg’s (or Lion, whatever he is now) and Pharrell Williams’ collaborations ‘Beautiful’ and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’. This was evoked through synths, heavy bass lines and his Fender Stratocaster.

A day after releasing his debut record, it was obvious how crazy good FLUME was going to be. Almost every inch of all four walls of the main room was occupied by a body facing the 21 year old producer. Performing the inevitable, stand out tracks were ‘Left Alone feat. Chet Faker’, ‘Holdin’ On’, ‘Gravel Pit’ and of course, ‘Sleepless feat. Jezzabell Doran’; although what really went off was his remix of Hermitude’s ‘HyperParadise’. Closing the set with this track, the crowd went absolutely mental. Every single person in that room was either manically swaying back and forth or hysterically jumping up and down to the infectious tunes of Flume.

Exiting the Flume stampede, it was time to head back downstairs to check out CLIQUES. The duo, featuring one third of Seekae, really took hold of the den that is the Factory Floor. With huge doses of fast paced beats and addictive samples, the boys created a real underground rave sort of feel to their performance. It was definitely the darkest set the Factory Floor had seen, due to the limited amount of lights being used. This advocated the atmosphere that much more.

After swapping playing times with HTRK, COLLARBONES came to the stage of the Factory Floor. Opening with ‘Hypothermia’, the strobe lights recreated the schizophrenic feel to the track’s film clip. Having just missed his set earlier in the day with Albatross, I was pleased to see GUERRE join Marcus and Travis on stage for his feature in the track. To further their performance, the crowd was also given a guest appearance by HTML Flowers as he rapped on the track ‘Die Young’. Desribing the room and entire atmosphere of the Factory Floor as a “rave cave” and “ridiculously moist”, you could tell the duo were having a stack of fun. After incorporating ‘Jenny From The Block’ in their final track, ‘Beaman Park’, the boys went mental to their “rave song”, breaking out every dance move imaginable (and impressive at that)!

After having a jive back out in the courtyard to ARIANE, I approached the ghetto side of OutsideIn.

MELO-X took hold of the Factory Floor, sipping a champagne bottle that was sneaked in by a member of the audience. Working a feathered headdress and a Jamaican flag, the man rallied up a crowd that were singing and bopping to the man’s tunes. He also managed to start an unexpected mosh when he jumped in the crowd, as well as kick a girl off stage he had just been dancing with, complaining “that hoe ruined the song!”

The rest of the night was spent upstairs. AFRICAN HITECH put on an effortless show. Half pressing buttons and half drinking on stage, the UK/Australian two piece played a set of repetitive dance tunes.

To close the night, SMOKE DZA took over the Main Stage of the Factory Theatre on his first ever Australian tour. Having just released his album ‘Rugby Thompson’, the man played tracks both new and old. Standing at the front of the stage the entire time, a particular trend was to continue rapping after his backing music had stopped. Floundering up the scent not coming from the smoke machines or tobacco, DZA celebrated the weed-ridden air by smoking doobies that were passed to him by members of the audience. DZA was accompanied by Melo-X on stage and completely took control of his performance and captivated audience.

A super fun and successful day, OutsideIn proved to be all that it was hyped up to be and even more, selling out all of their tickets and keeping smiles on everyone’s faces. The journey between stages was simple and the crowd played nice to one another.

Oh and if you haven’t heard already, Thom Yorke (of Radiohead) was there! In downtown Marrickville! Who would have thought of that ever happening?

Words by Hannah Galvin, check out her street on POSSE.COM

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About:

An avid fan of Sydney’s jazz and found sound scene, as well as eating peanut butter from the jar.