Five Things We Learnt At OutsideIn Festival 2015
Having just celebrated its fourth year of fruition, OutsideIn momentarily tore Sydney apart with its 2015 instalment fuelled by groundbreaking acts. Returning to its new home of Sydney Universitys Manning House, attendees endured unpredictable weather to catch intensely charismatic performances from the likes of, Stormzy, Sable, Harvey Sutherland, Feki, Charles Murdoch, Kucka, Loefah & Chunky, Anatole, GL, Africa HiTech, Total Giovanni and a stack more.
A day that was inevitably going to impress many, here’s what we picked up from the 2015 edition of OutsideIn.
1. Total Giovanni are fantastic performers
Despite the sporadic weather, its an inherent Australian trait to stick to the outdoors for as long as possible, particularly before the sun begins to set. In saying that, it can be difficult for artists adorning indoor stages to attract a plentiful audience to comfortably go all out during their live performance.
Rapidly building a reputation for their colourful live show [particularly from their very experienced festival history], ludicrous Melbourne outfit, Total Giovanni had no trouble in accomplishing a wonderful afternoon set at the festival this year.
Stepping onto the stage in matching blonde wigs, their static locks highlighted by the floodlights flicked around in unison to the lively crowd before them, as the group gave it their all and then some for their OutsideIn set. Pumping out acclaimed singles, ‘Paradise‘, ‘When We Break‘ and, ‘Can’t Control My Love‘, the hype this band enables comes straight out of their infectious, heart-warming songwriting; a quality emphasised in their live show. Whether they embrace this whilst sporting scantily-clad, white booty shorts, or modest, black gowns, the best attribute of their on-stage antics is that these factors aren’t distracting, they’re additional to the charm that is Total Giovanni.
2. Despite the heavy police and security presence, OutsideIn attendees caused no fuss amidst undesirable situations
As a brand builds traction, there are undoubtedly going to be consequences encountered as a means of pulling a large crowd. Already experiencing a change of venue [two years ago] to allow greater capacity, OutsideIn this year endured large police and security presence, most probably due to the populous ticket sales and central location of the festival. Whether you experienced unfair dismissal or not, there were quite a few cases of security kicking punters out of the event. Not to say that all of these situations were unruly, some were definitely approached irrationally, creating unnecessary turmoil.
Although a pretty dull ordeal, the silver lining is that the receivers of this “shit go” did not cause a fuss, allowing unwanted tension to remain at bay. As the event was ran by tastemakers, Astral People and Yes Please Records, this can only be a reflection of their targeted audiences, proving that everything they represent appeals to respectful, well-learned chaps. If you’re taking the time to read this review, this probably applies to you, so give yourself a pat on the back for being a top bloke.
3. The ladies absolutely killed it
It’s no secret that women in the music industry has been a pretty prominent conversation as of late. Wanting to see a larger presence of our talented female friends, more and more voices have expressed their opinions regarding the need for ladies to step into the spotlight – that is without the bullshit strings fastly attached to their ankles. Without intending to shove feminism down your throat, the female performers of OutsideIn 2015 were ridiculously fantastic, and really worked a whole new dimension into the OutsideIn mix.
Whether you caught Montgomery‘s impressive debut festival set, danced to Andy Garvey‘s immaculate collection in between performancess on the main stage, warmed up with Magda Bytnerowicz, sung happy birthday to Adi Toohey on the courtyard or caught Nicole Millar bring, ‘Phantasm‘ to life with the Cosmo’s Midnight twins, you would’ve definitely noticed the stealth that these empowering women emitted.
Big shoutouts are due for synth-popsters, GL, as Ella Thompson and Graeme Pogson owned the Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) stage throughout the late afternoon. Tapping into the 1980s archives, they flawlessly pulled the sun down, working a groove for their entranced following.
Praise also be to Perth singer/producer, Kucka. Not only did she and her live show members (Jake Steele and Katie Campbell aka Catlips) paint the joy of their audience with the articulately illustrated live adaptation of her, Unconditional EP, Kucka also found herself visiting the stage of fellow OutsideIn act, Cosmo’s Midnight, where she sang their collaborative single, ‘Walk With Me’ live.
4. Rap counteracts electronic music perfectly
Having attended all OutsideIn festivals to date, I’ve caught onto a particular pattern administered by the organisers. Where much of the lineup is conjured of emerging, charismatic electronic artists, the remaining gaps are bridged by those practising rap, hip hop and everything in between. Think about it; the inaugural event played host to Smoke DZA, the subsequent year closed with Freddie Gibbs and 2014 nurtured The Pharcyde. An acclaimed international twist to the festival, why make 2015 any different?
Spoiling us with three Australian debut live shows, OutsideIn welcomed us into the sonic playgrounds of cut-throat, underground wordsmith, Devin The Dude at the weed-ridden Main Stage, before returning as a guest performer for Southern infused, hip hop headliner, Big K.R.I.T. Two insanely sweaty, rowdy sets, the main hype lay out on the RBMA tiles, for the uprise of Stormzy.
With the crowd hysterically moving each other around, the South Londoner had us wrapped around his finger whilst proving his exceptionally talented flow. Enabling an educational montage of UK rap and grime, his demeanour amounted to the overall vibe, as he ripped into new favourites, ‘Shut Up’ and, ‘WickedSkengaMan 4’, amongst tracks from his debut EP, Dreamers Disease, ‘Not That Deep’ and a healthy dosage of freestyling.
Being a niche, boutique festival, the prevalent balance of soothing electronica, upbeat dance music, rambunctious rap and spirited hip hop allows a dynamic to form in the standard. In this case, OutsideIn maintains a spring in its step through the breakdown of these sub-genres, in turn accounting for a jubilant day out for a keen Sydney crowd; perpetually offering something new to each subsequent years lineup.
5. Atmosphere is everything
To reiterate the main component of OutsideIn, the music on offer certainly did kick off the tantalising banquet that the festival gaged. Being only a sonic measurement of entertainment, the physicality of OutsideIn was adorned with quirky art installations and lighting packs to cake the face of Manning House.
Where the courtyard was treated a simple thoroughfare at times, it still managed acknowledgement due to its stage positioning and the rainbow of fishing line baiting the crowd with suspended, reflective prisms.
With bouts of other art pieces colouring the venue, energy also came as a result of the type of person that OutsideIn attracts. Incredibly respectful of fellow punters, yet wildly willing to get down and dance, those in attendance undoubtedly caused half the fun. A reminder to the organisers and performers that the event was a two-way street of enjoyment, it will hopefully motivate the construction of future OutsideIn festival instalments to occur.
Words by Hannah Galvin