Reviewed Sunday September 8

Some time a little over ten years ago, FBi Radio was borne out of an idea conceived in an inner city bedroom. Much of its audience can probably say the same. This festival is a mutual celebration of the anniversary, and because everyone present is here for the right reasons, it works perfectly.

Carriageworks is a snug fit for the day’s and night’s events: here is a venue with the arts in its DNA, and the live painters and interactive installations dotted around the festival site make it a delightful Sunday oasis just off the edge of central Sydney. The bands? Yeah, they’re great too. Oliver Tank and Deep Sea Arcade are the early highlights, but it’s The Preatures who draw the first big crowd of the day to the outdoor stage. The attention around these guys is swarming, and their performance abilities are keeping up. Isabella Manfredi offers an opportune “Fuck Abbott!” – and this time it can’t be Photoshopped away.

Seekae follow them, delivering some glitchy but often directionless indulgences, so it’s over to a dimly lit Thundamentals, who are spitting fast and fair in one of the three indoor set-ups. Tuka, Jeswon and Morgs are joined by Ev Jones, and close with ‘Paint The Town Red’. We’re on it, fellas.

Midnight Juggernauts construct a cacophony of noise before a willing crowd; their live display unpredictable in the best possible manner – there’s more than one (male) nip slip during their set, and instructions are barked from stage with a megaphone. Hermitude carry on in much the same manner. Far less garish is Sarah Blasko, who by eight o’clock is probably playing to a crowd lubricated beyond the ideal, and because she’s accompanied only by piano her songs feel under-energised. Still, Blasko pays a touching tribute to the station that “played my music from the start” by performing her set in chronological order, which means it’s a generous mix of old and new.

Cloud Control, billed as a secret guest, close proceedings on the Bay 25 stage with new material of their own – another strong performance from yet another local favourite. Outside it’s The Presets, but the real boilover atmosphere is steaming up indoors with Urthboy. Tim Levinson and his crew, featuring the ever-present and impressive Jane Tyrrell, are high on energy to extremes. ‘Knee Length Socks’ includes a fitting slice of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and Levinson dedicates ‘No Other’ to our gracious hosts. Here’s hoping FBi return to the festival landscape someday soon – because as birthday celebrations go, this one gets ten out of ten.

Chris Martin

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