Vivid Sydney 2012: The wrap-up
Tue 5th Jun, 2012 Newsin
After a jam-packed 10-night music schedule, the 2012 edition of Vivid Sydney has come to an end. It’d be fair to say that it’s been an impressive run for the festival: from Florence & The Machine’s collaboration with the Ceremonials Orchestra through Karen O’s psycho opera Stop the Virgens and, of course, Amon Tobin’s very-loud ISAM spectacular, Vivid’s played host to a number of Australian premieres and specially commissioned shows.
As our daily Vivid reports would suggest, inthemix has been on-ground at the Opera House every day of the festival to catch all the biggest performances, parties and important events. So to wrap-up our run of content from writers Jim Poe, Caitlin Welsh, Jack Tregoning and myself, we thought it fitting to have one final recap of all things Opera House. Until next year, Vivid – it’s been real.
Day 1: Florence + The Machine and PVT
KC: “Even at just one song in, it’s obvious why Florence has drawn such a devoted and diverse crowd: Welch is eminently likeable; she’s effortlessly graceful and holy fuck, that voice. As even the most casual of Florence & The Machine listeners could attest to, Welch has got some mighty vocals on her and lucky for us, they’re even more of a powerhouse live.”
Day 2: Efterklang, Modular Night and APRA Song Summit
CW: “This being a Modular party, the Studio was inevitably dotted with posses of identikit bros, gussied-up American Apparel types and escapees from the State Home For The Unintentionally Hilarious – the best examples of the latter had unfortunately found their way behind the decks between bands, tag teaming some really average semi-ironic funk and house and giggling into their glasses of bubbly when they fucked up a crossfade.”
Day 3: Seekae and Janelle Monae
JP: “Whereas at a club the crowd might be standing with folded arms and doing the white-boy head-nodding thing, or milling about and looking at their phones, tonight all attention is focused on the music (especially as the band don’t have much showmanship as such). Rather than being dull or restrained, there’s something cozy about it. The music envelopes the room completely – the acoustics are perfect, of course, and aren’t too loud. It’s like sitting in a comfy place with friends and listening to an entire album on some really awesome speakers.”
Day 4: Sufjan, Bryce Nico and the APRA Song Summit
CW: “It seems almost heretical to say so, and especially ungrateful considering that the songs themselves are so sweepingly, satisfying beautiful – but I actually could have done with slightly less Sufjan. He draws focus whatever he does, so it felt a little like a Sufjan show, and his repeated use of the vocal treatments felt unnecessary and even trite – OK, computer-voice man, we get it, it’s SPACE. Quite a lot of the lyrics were near unintelligible. Most were poignant, though, throwing the epic scale of the solar system against Stevens’ small, human emotions.”
Day 5: Imogen Heap
JP: “I’m soon taken in. Heap’s spacey rambling, which reminds me of Eddie Izzard’s, is funny and charming, at times highly emotional. Her stories about her creative processes are pretty cool; she based one song on a fan’s recording of an unborn child’s heartbeat; another was a sonic collaboration with the citizens of Hangzhou, China.”
Day 6: Karen O in ‘Stop the Virgens’
JP: “On its own terms, Stop the Virgens delivers the goods. It’s dynamic, it’s fabulous, it’s a feast for the senses. If you’re into spectacle, noise and fabric, this is your thing. Did I mention the costumes? But it’s lacking depth, to say the least. As theatre or opera it doesn’t work without narrative; the music kicks ass but keeps getting upstaged. The one real, undeniable thing is Karen O’s explosive voice.”
Day 7: Temper Trap, FBi Party
CW: “Dougy Mandagi is their not-so-secret weapon, and sounds wonderful, but from our point-blank seats he’s incredibly irritating to watch. He’s got what my better half calls “a case of the Wembleys” – dipping the mic stand, posturing and overacting like he’s lording it over a stadium. He also repeatedly engages in hacky boy band shit like the Lat Pulldown of Emotion (two fists, downward motion with the elbows, earnestness) and tapping his heart while singing about his heart. That’s some junior rock eisteddfod shit, dude.
Day 8: Future Classic Party, Cory Doctorow
JP: “The nice thing is the crowd is really into it – people say minimal or deep stuff is over, but get someone who knows how to rock it and see how it moves people. The interesting thing is, here on the dancefloor this stuff doesn’t actually sound very “minimal” or “micro” at all. It’s chock-a-block with gorgeous strings, playful synths and keys, tribal drums and haunting soulful vocals. It just sounds like really beautiful and well-done house with a tech edge.”
Day 9: Amon Tobin’s ISAM, GoodGod Danceteria!
JT: “This concert’s been a long time coming and there’s a palpable buzz. It’s hard to miss the alarming red signs around the foyer: ‘Amon Tobin Is Very Loud, Ear Plugs Are Available.’ Thankfully the ushers have whole boxes full, and all around the Concert Hall ears are plugged with multi-coloured foam buds.”
Day 10: ‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’
CW: “It’s hard to gauge what the appeal of SUAPTH would be to the casual pop listener, but for LCD fans, it serves as an apology, a farewell, an explanation, a poor fucking substitute, a raw love letter. It takes them that little bit closer to being truly iconic, and it’s hard not to come out loving them more.”