As I walked through Wellington Square I noticed it was decisively louder and a lot more crowded than my usual Sunday strolls. I lined up to use a toilet and a passing group of oiled up, shirtless men were kind enough to inform me the reason for the crowds was the 2009 Parklife festival.
Lost in a sea of muddled sounds I found Busy P playing some new and interesting songs. Busy P talked in between and during tracks, which is a massive pet hate of mine, however I can always make an exception for Busy P and the girls flashing their bare breasts for his camera didn’t seem to mind much either.
As with any outdoor event the best sound for each act can require a bit of moving about. Anyone expecting the sound to be awesome wherever they decide to stand needs a reality check. I wandered through the crowd to find a better position and all hell started to break loose. Fences came crashing down, crushing the tired people who were sheltering from the surprising heat. Stampedes of men, old enough to know better, had just jumped the fence and were doing their best to avoid being grabbed by lumbering security guards. I’m ok with fence jumpers, when they’re kids, because they could be underage, too poor, just experimenting or don’t know any better. Adults should know better, and they definitely should not lash out and start punching female security guards once they are caught
Bored of the violence I turned my attention back to the stage, which had become inhabited by MSTRKFT. They played vigorous dance tracks with their trademark DAR NAR NAR NAR riff over the top. The crowd responded at first but when a set is played continuously, at the same level, for a long period of time it stops from being energetic and just becomes dull.
Luckily sets were being kept short and Crystal Castles came out before too much of the crowd was lost. Alice did her thing of screaming into the microphone, which was thoroughly entertaining until someone ran on stage kicking out some leads. The leads happened to be connected to some vital equipment, which killed the music for a few moments. Those moments turned out to be a few too many for the face chewing mob I happened to be surrounded by. In a manner of seconds it all turned weird. A smaller one was knocked to the ground and the larger, more dominant males bent down and started to tear the flesh from his body in a vein attempt to harvest the remainder of the drugs that were still pumping through his limp lifeless body. I felt disgusted by their cannibalistic behaviour but at the same time I respected them for their obviously strong belief in recycling. The music came back on and order was restored, but apparently the damage done was irreversible so we were treated to a 5-minute noise extravaganza as Alice smashed apart a drum kit and threw its pieces into the press photography area.
Erol Alkan was rolled onto the stage and Parklife was lifted to another level. The craziest, heaviest sounds you’ve never heard came tearing through the speakers. Erol kept playing with the crowd using massive build-ups and then dropping the music back with fat, speaker destroying bass. It was impossible not to dance. We were treated to the brand spanking new Boys Noize song Kontact Me (It’s the one that goes “come with me… do you remember?), as well as Waves and Death Suite, the songs co-created with Erol. Erol’s remix of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs Zero went down really well but the highlight of his set was a live reworking of his Justice Waters of Nazereth remix, and if you thought that song was heavy before, this new version sounded like a tank being driven at full speed into a munitions factory.
Tiga closed the Air stage and he opened with his brand new remix of Miike Snow Black & Blue (you can download that song legally here for free). It was always going to be difficult coming on after Erol, however Tiga was helped by being better known to the majority of the crowd. Tiga tore into a set full of acid house and banging techno, which would have fairly quickly scared off anyone who was expecting to hear a mix of the quirky electro pop that Tiga generally fills his albums with.
As the clock struck 10pm Fat Cat was released to tuck us all into bed. With Perth now regularly enforcing 12am lockouts on Sunday nights there was never any real hope for Parklife acts to make an appearance at the after-parties scattered across town. I would love someone to attempt to explain the logic behind trying to force thousands of people to exit the city at the same time from a city that has almost non-existent public transport. Maybe we should organise 10 000 people to try and enter Parliament House 5 minutes before closing time and see if that helps knock some reality into a government that is clearly out of touch with lives of the youth of today.