The inaugural Listen Out shines; Azealia Banks does not

Image for The inaugural Listen Out shines; Azealia Banks does not

Fuzzy’s new festival Listen Out launched in Sydney on Saturday to great success, bringing 9000 punters to the green surrounds of Centennial Park for storming sets by Disclosure, TNGHT, Miguel Campbell and Duke Dumont – but one performer wasn’t feeling the love.

Famously temperamental rapper Azealia Banks hit the stage wearing an amazing turquoise blue bodysuit by Australian brand Kahlo and flanked by vogueing androgynous dancers, but the trouble started four songs in after several cans had been thrown on the stage. Banks warned the audience that she’d stop the set and leave if another can was thrown; sure enough, someone soon threw a can and the set came to an abrupt halt. After a short break, during which festival organiser John Wall implored the crowd to be a “lovely Sydney audience” and welcome Banks back, the rapper reappeared to tear through her biggest hit 212 before leaving the stage for good.

Banks has prior form with cutting festival sets short – she ended an hour-long slot at last year’s Splendour in the Grass after only 25 minutes, citing problems with the festival’s sound gear, and spent a large portion of the 2012 Future Music Festival tour engaged in Twitter beef with fellow tourers The Stone Roses, Rita Ora and Feed Me.

Happily, Listen Out’s other draw cards proved less volatile – London brothers Disclosure played a brilliant live set to close the festival with guest vocals from Aluna Francis, while Just Blaze and TNGHT dropped some heavy trap at the second stage despite being hampered by extremely low volume. TNGHT member Lunice complained about the volume issues on Twitter, laying the blame at the feet of the local council, although his production partner Hudson Mohawke seemed more interested in faux-proposing to Nina Las Vegas.


In the mid-afternoon local heroes RÜFÜS played a strong mainstage live set to an appreciative audience, while Spanish duo John Talabot took things deep and tropical. The Red Bull stage also suffered from low volume and sound bleed from the two main stages, but that didn’t stop Beni from closing things with a ripping set of early ‘00s electro, complete with his Riot in Belgium tune La Musique and a tribute to Ajax.

Despite a heavy police presence at the event and 94 charges for drug offences, police praised the festival attendees and organisers, saying, “The overwhelming majority of those attending were music lovers who wanted to have a fun and trouble-free afternoon. They behaved responsibly and helped ensure a great atmosphere for the event.”

Listen Out continues in Melbourne this Saturday October 5, before wrapping up at Brisbane’s Southbank on Sunday October 6.

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