2019 saw Brisbane receiving an influx of new music festivals and events that were created to highlight the growing culture of the city and the passion of music lovers alike. And to close out the year the Brisbane Showgrounds received a brand new festival that kicked off your New Years festivities with a bang.
Wildlands was all about celebrating music and the art we create, while also embracing the party vibes we love to dive into. With a diverse line up featuring Rufus Du Sol, RL Grime, Tyler The Creator, Skepta, What So Not, Ella Mai and Mallrat, there was truly something for everyone.
With the gates to the festival opening at 11am, the crowd started to trickle through as acts like Lastlings, Lionbabe and Jacob Lee graced the stage. But as soon as Mallrat took to the Halo Stage, the crowds started to pour through the gates and the tent immediately filled up with everyone ready to sing and dance with the homegrown favourite.
Opening with recent Basenji collaboration ‘Nobody’s Home’ and the rare Oh Boy collaboration ‘Bunny Island’, she had those singalong’s immediately in full momentum. “Brisbane, how are you? It’s so nice to be home” she exclaimed to the very excited crowd as she took a moment to look out to the packed tent. Treating them to some songs from her recent EP ‘Driving Music’, she crooned through favourites like ‘When I Get My Braces Off’, ‘Circles’ and ‘Drive Me Round’.
Bringing out her friend Tyne James Organ to play guitar with her ,she stripped down ‘UFO’ before her DJ, Denim dropped the hip-hop influenced beats. Rolling into the dreamy indie-pop tracks ‘Better’, ‘Charlie’ and ‘Groceries’, she had the euphoric vibes radiating throughout the crowd.
Closing her set with the bouncy ‘Uninvited’, a small circle pit formed at the front of the mosh for the first chorus which was a definite first for a Mallrat set.
While the setlist was rehashed, this is still the same show that she has been delivering for the past couple of years, so it’s time for something a little different and enhanced to take over her live show. Maybe it’s time for that full live band to appear, like they did on her James Corden appearance?
Over on the Summit stage Hobo Johnson was ready to bring his unique sound and energy to Brisbane for the first time. With Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’ blasting through the speaker, him and his band ran out onto the stage and joined the crowd for the big piss-take singalong.
Segueing into ‘Mover Awayer’, ‘Romeo & Juliet’, ‘Sex In The City’ and ‘Uglykid’, he immediately had the majority of the crowd on his side from the initial get go. With them singing and swaying along with him, I was quite surprised with how many people actually knew him. And I was also quite surprised with how much energy his live show embodied as a lot of his material can be quite singular. His live set on the other hand was not.
With a cheeky ‘A Thousand Miles’ cover from Vanessa Carlton thrown into the mix, he wrapped it all up with ‘I Want A Dog’ and ‘Typical Story’. His sound is somewhere in between Post Malone and Twenty One pilots and while it may not be for everyone, you can appreciate the uniqueness of it all.
Ella Mai is a queen and I don’t care what anyone else thinks because I swear this statement is true. The British R&B goddess has touched down in Australia for her first ever tour down under and she didn’t disappoint in delivering a set full of soul, sass and fire.
“Brisbane how we feeling out here?” she asked as she looked out to the growing crowd that transcended in front of the Summit stage. With ‘Dangerous’, ‘She Don’t’, ‘Put It All On Me’ and ’10,000 Hours’ gracing her set, she had the crowd warming up and ready to unleash their inner soulfulness.
“Can we play the best R&B song of 2018?” she confidently asked the crowd before rolling into the infectious ‘Boo’d Up’. She had everyone eyes in the area transfixed on her as she crooned through the set and sassily played out her last song ‘Trip’. And something tells me we will be seeing her again on our shores soon because everyone left that set and the festival absolutely raving about how unmissable her set was.
With the sound starting to intermittently play up towards the end of Ella’s set, it was down hill for the sound at the Summit stage for the rest of the night. As Tyler The Creator and Rufus Du Sol’s sets were plagued with sound issues and put a real damper on the euphoric vibe the festival was trying so hard to create.
Over at the Halo stage, What So Not was ready to turn the sweaty tent into an underground club. Coming out on stage on a lime scooter, he ignited his set with bright visuals, a hectic lighting show, confetti, as well as a live band featuring a vocalist, guitarist and drummer.
Lifting his sound to a higher level, he has truly perfected what his live show needs to consistently be. The energy through his set was unmatchable and set standards high for RL Grime who was following him. But while they are both EDM producers their live shows are respectively quite different. And RL delivered a just as energetic live show without a band and with a enhanced LED screen set up instead. It was a serious vibe.
One of the big draw cards of Wildlands 2019 was a exclusive QLD set by Tyler The Creator. This coveted announcement really drove the anticipation for the festival and he didn’t disappoint with an odd and wildly entertaining set.
With just him on stage for the full set donning a blonde wig and a blue suit, he mixed art with hip-hop and delivered a very moody aesthetic. Thanks to sound issues, the hyped opening with ‘Igors Theme’ felt underwhelming as people confusingly looked around at each other and asked “is he on stage yet?”.
With the sound issues continually plaguing the set, there were moments that would’ve been stronger if it was done in a different venue and that’s a shame. But he powered through and delivered fan favourites like ‘I Think’, ’New magic Wand’, ‘Puppet’ and ‘Earfquake’.
“This stage is really small but it’s okay, can we still dance” he commented early into the show and he grooved across the stage and rapped, but when it came to singing hooks he wasn’t even afraid of putting no effort in as he didn’t even bother.
With pulsating fire erupting during ‘Who Dat Boy’ and a beautiful piano instrumental half way through the show, there wasn’t really any other gimmicks to his set. The production was dark and moody and at time it needed to be elevated to give a bigger energy. But this is Tyler The Creator we are talking about and he will always do things his way.
Closing out the inaugural festival were Australian favourites Rufus Du Sol who have had a massive 2019 full of touring in support of their recent album ‘Solace’.
Returning down under for a run of New Years festival shows, the dynamic three piece slightly switched up their live show to deliver something a little different compared to their massive headlining tour they did in March. But at the roots of the show, it was still moody, pulsating and emotionally fuelled.
With an instrumental opening setting the mood they dived into ‘Eyes’, ‘You Were Right’, ‘Like An Animal’ and ‘Brighter’ which were met with big singalong’s.
“Hello Brisbane, it’s good to be home” lead singer Tyrone Lindqvist screamed before adding “we’ve been looking forward to these shows so badly. We actually started this band a few hours away in Byron Bay, so let’s dance tonight!”.
Their live show was very moody and in typical Rufus fashion was complimented by dark and brooding lighting. Their interaction was tight with Lindqvist jumping into the crowd and encouraging them to sing loud.
Sadly the previous sound issues that the Summit Stage were experiencing plagued Rufus Du Sol’s set too. The volume levels never felt right and it was hard to get lost in the energy like it is at their headlining shows.
With ‘Sundream’, ‘Lost In my Mind’, ‘Underwater’, ‘Innerbloom’, ‘Treat You Better’ and ‘No Place’ wrapping up their set, the hits were there, the production was there but it was the sound mixing that really let them down from delivering that flawless euphoric closing set.
Check out the full gallery captured by Lyndon James Photography BELOW;
Photos By Lyndon James