Live Review: Flight Facilities bring the party of the year to Melbourne with Haiku Hands, Owl Eyes & Ric Rufio

Flight Facilities’ Wednesday night set in Melbourne was a mammoth accomplishment of lighting and sound. The duo, Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell, adorned in their now famous flight outfits, encouraged the crowd to join in on one of the biggest parties a mid-week show the city has ever seen. Accompanying them on the opening night of their Melbourne run of shows were Sydney’s Haiku Hands and their touring artists Owl Eyes and Ric Rufio. These artists provided some of the more tender moments of the evening, placing a lyrical and vocal face to the frenetic, beat-laden sounds produced by the electronic duo.

Haiku Hands were an electrifying choice to build the thunder in the crowd up before the Flight Facilities mega-set. The multi-genre group combine rap, electronic, dance and pop to easily work their ways into the hearts of the crowd. Their hook driven tracks caused the masses to dance to the point that one may have thought the floor was going to fall away.

Their fierce lyrical work, synchronised dance moves and the potential they displayed as a live unit harmonised perfectly with the lively nature of the evening’s combined performances. Strutting out adorned in beaded masks and clearly ready to amp up the crowd, Haiku Hands danced their way through a punchy set, starting the dance party off at full steam.

Their most recently released single, “Not About You” came as a major part of their fun packed show, but it was filled to the teeth with newer tracks that kept the “no holds barred” attitudes of the group in the forefront of the mind. “Jupiter”, the group’s debut single was a standout, with the bouncey nature of the track displaying the talent behind the foursome, both musically and as a live performance group.

Flight Facilities hour forty long set started straight to the point after the power electronic duo entered their ‘flight deck’. Their long time collaborator and touring front woman, Owl Eyes, joined them on stage and bolstered the duo’s opening performance of “Need You”. The track picked the energy up right where Haiku Hands left off, with Owl Eye’s honeyed vocals coupled to great effect with the duo’s thrilling, beat defying production.

The upbeat “Arty Boy”, Ric’s stunning rendition of “All Your Love” and Flight Facilities’ pumping cover of “You Give Me Something” by British Jazz-Funk unit Jamiroquai, were all riveting additions to a set that was full of vocal magic. But the highlight was Owl Eyes’ heavenly singing when her and Flight Facilities combined for the magic of “Clair De Lune”. The starry, high spirited track slowed down the set for a moment and allowed the revelrous crowd a brief time to focus on the sound away from the dancing. The splendour of the moment was complete with Owl Eyes’ request to have the crowd light the stage up with their phone torches saying that no matter how many times she’s seen it, “it never gets old”. Ric’s fluid vocals put a point to the tour’s feature single, “All Your Love” keeping the slow loving atmosphere alive in the room, before Ric and the Flight Facilities boys ran through “With You” pumping the spirit back to the maximum.

Apart from its massive crowd sizes, the Forum may have seemed like an odd choice for the electronic duo and their guests, but dancing under the Forum’s star lit roof was a perfect setting for the party going down on the floors below, creating a wonderful treat to go along with the lighting and music performed on stage.

The duo pumped up another dance mix before Owl Eyes appeared again to lead the crowd through the encore. The pleasant vocal duet between Ric and Owl Eyes in “Stranded” powered through the beginning of the encore; the bewitching vocal combination standing strongly alongside Flight Facilities’ mix, raising the quality of the performance to a higher level one last time. “Crave You”, with Owl Eyes fronting the duo for a final track, came as a timely close to the majority of the Flight Facilities’ set, leaving their works on a high note, with only one song left, a cover; to close out the night.  

A remix of “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon concluded the performance, with Hugo and James inviting Ric Rufio, Owl Eyes and Haiku Hands back to the stage to have a full scale dance, and a bit of fun before they officially closed down their first night Forum. And what a night it was. 

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Flight Facilities are currently touring Australia. They play Perth’s Fremantle Arts Centre tonight (1/9), ahead of shows in Brisbane, Gold Coast and an encore season in Melbourne over the next two weeks. For all the details head to flightfacilities.com

The reviewer attended the show at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne on 29th August. 

Photo Source: Flight Facilities Facebook.

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