LISTEN OUT @ HBF Arena gets 8/10

Listen Out @ HBF Arena

Sunday, September 29, 2019


If the rows of collapsed teens littered near the entry-way was anything to go by, Listen Out Perth at HBF Arena, Joondalup, was another successful sold out festival. Brimming with colourful clothes, bright personalities and sunny weather, Listen Out managed to create a safe and comfortable festival experience. At no point did we bump into the dickhead in a singlet who wants to fight. In fact we saw not a single moment of aggression during the whole festival and instead some lindy-hop esque dancing around the food vans at the end of the night. Have the crowds matured or did the acts bring a sense of PG-rated fun?


Onto the acts. Wafia looked as if she’d be better suited at a school talent show. The stage felt introverted, the drums over processed, and in terms of performance, the pianist, drummer and vocalist were quite stagnate. However, as the show progressed, doubts were gone as we found ourselves bopping along to the lyrics “would you talk me down” before finishing with the favourable I’m Good.

Doja Cat

In a high contrast Doja Cat is an energetic fire starter with a loud personality and sure got the neon memo. By the second song she has the crowd pumping in her palm. Her pants showed a bit of extra booty and she struts the stage as if she were born there. She’s one rap/ RnB artist to catch next time around.


Sticking around at the 909 Stage saw the duo Set Mo in the conundrum where two people are forced to perform the un-performable. It’s no mystery that dance music and DJ decks require little influence to achieve the sweet spot. These two energetic aviator wearers are forced into that odd grey zone where they still throw hands after twisting an inconspicuous knob and still exaggerate movements that are suspiciously unnecessary. That aside, the tunes were flowing and the music was rich. People were happy. This was the perfect set for anyone looking to have a wholesome, upbeat time and not face any musical challenges. 


Back to the main stage at a fairly different pace, 6lack’s hype man was a force to be reckoned with. We got a solid 10 minutes of this man running around like a whirlwind. By the time 6lack came out, we were ready, there was a stack of energy and it felt like the classic hip-hop set we all could get around.

Smooth tropical house vibes from Cosmo’s Midnight saw us cool down and dance away the remaining sunlight – what more could you ask for. Electronic drums, cymbals, guitars and keyboards kept the two artists busy on stage. It’s noticeable how much of a popular repertoire they’ve collected over the years with History, Talk to Me, Get to Know and the most recent Have It All. They have a very warm and endearing sound and its impact on the crowd is noticeable as smiles and kindness seem to envelop the audience. 

Dom Dolla

Night time achieved. Engage party music. Dom Dolla was one of the better producers and DJs on the day. His set was powerfully curated and the song changes evocative. If you were hanging out for the four to the floor bangers, Dom Dolla had you covered. The only reservation was the cheap visual content playing on the screens behind him. I feel shoving the dollar sign everywhere is about as a cliche as it gets. 


The original party boy Diplo had the second to last slot of the main stage and as expected his budget on Co2 and pyro was ridiculous and visuals were killer. As always, these things always bring a special element to the show. Overall his set was a bit generic and geared towards a typical club set. No Major Lazer or Latin American inspirations tonight, but he took up his allocated position on top of the DJ desk and perform the classic Diplo countdowns before slamming a bass heavy drop. “Ooonne, twwooo, threee, lesssspkgobrtjb.” 

We didn’t figure we’d be seeing any construction work during Flume’s set, so when he pulled out the angle grinder and put it to his DJ desk, we knew we had to adjust expectations. Flume does what Flume does. It’s one of the joys of viewing his show, he doesn’t pander to the crowd and he doesn’t give a [email protected]#$ what you think. Part of this can be articulated by viewing him drive a sledge hammer into electronic equipment on stage. He looked like a well kept private school kid making a mess of things at times, but the good music didn’t let up. He provided provocative new tunes while also giving us our favourite classics. Vera Blue made her guest appearance and smashed her silky vocals in their new hit song, Rushing Back. His show was something anyone who was there won’t forget anytime soon. 


Photos by Mia Campbell-Foulkes

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