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FLIGHT FACILITIES @ Red Hill Auditorium gets 8.5/10


Flight Facilities @ Red Hill Auditorium

Saturday, April 30, 2022

8.5/10 

After their original Perth date was postponed earlier this year, Sydney electronic duo Flight Facilities finally touched down in Western Australia to close out their national Forever Tour. The excitement about the show was buoyed by the lifting of much that characterised the past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic: the last of the lockdowns, opened borders, no more numbered restrictions on concerts and just a day earlier, the end of the mask mandate. It was fitting then that the Forever Tour at the stunning Red Hill Auditorium was the show to signal and celebrate our new freedom here in the West.

merci, mercy

Opening the evening was merci, mercy aka Mercedes Thorne, who initially seemed awed by the occasion as though she was still getting used to playing on stages of this size. However, a few songs in she appeared to shake off her nerves, moving away from the mic stand and launching into to the painfully evocative breakup song, Something You Like. Gradually the pit filled up with punters who knew the songs, calling out encouragement and singing along – particularly to her closer Fucked Myself Up. Thorne can be forgiven her shyness on stage – her confessional style leaves her open, bare and vulnerable but her fans rewarded her courage in the way she tackles mental health issues.

Wafia

Next up, Wafia bounded onstage – warmly engaging with the ever-increasing numbers of punters flooding the area in front of the stage. Introducing Hurricane she asked the crowd to “picture the person you miss the most when you’re away from each other” – the words resonating with many. Wafia appears to have a strong fan base here – the opening chords of most songs greeted with cries of recognition. Particular highlights were Bodies and the final song I’m Good. Accompanied by musicians on drums and keyboards, Wafia’s sound was strong, confident and joyous – a great bridge between the more stripped back performance by merci, mercy and the spectacular main set.

Flight Facilities

Spectacular it was, with Flight Facilities taking no hostages right from the beginning. The fabulous play of light, shadow and colour built the anticipation which grew stronger through the night. Elevated above the stage in their flight deck, wearing their now familiar aviator helmet, goggles and captain’s hat, Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell were just glimpsed through the smoke and lights, working their magic. They were joined by Owl Eyes whose stunning vocals and stage presence had everyone’s attention. Ric Rufio, the other equally powerful and engaging vocalist for the touring group, leapfrogged with Owl Eyes – with either vocalist prominent prominent throughout the set, apart from a few tunes when it was only Gruzman and Lyell.

Flight Facilities

Forever, the title of the duo’s heavily anticipated second album (and of the tour) was appropriately featured, however their 2014 debut album Down to Earth was also well represented. Together since 2009, Flight Facilities have perfected their craft in the recording studio and the live experience only builds on that. There is no doubt the crowd loved them, with hardly anyone left in the stands, most dancing as close as they could get to the stage, throughout the almost two hour set.

Flight Facilities

Particular highlights included What I Want, Stand Still, All Your Love and from the main set, Crave You – when Owl Eyes encouraged people “if it’s safe… climb on each others’ shoulders,” followed closely by a “let’s hear it for security” for their handling of the night. The encores were Sunshine and fittingly a stunning version of Heavy off Forever sending everyone home on a high. Here’s hoping it won’t be too long before Flight Facilities return to the West!

Words and photos by

LINDA DUNJEY

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