OutsideIn 2013 – Factory Theatre, Sydney 21/09/13

Marrickville’s Factory Theatre transformed into a hipster’s paradise on Saturday afternoon when the second iteration of OutsideIn, a music festival organised by boutique labels Yes Please and Astral People, took over the space. With a flawless reputation, killer line-up and a SMAC Award for Best Music Event 2012 under its belt, the sold-out event promised great things despite a few recent logistical hiccups and headliner dropouts.

Casually walking into the Factory Theatre mid afternoon, the outdoor Courtyard stage could be easily mistaken for the backyard house party you wished you hosted, with no bar lines, no bullshit, chilled beats and low-flying planes cruising above.

The second of the three stages, The Factory Floor, tucked away to the side of the Courtyard, was an intimate, dark theatre with heavy black drapes, lit only with kaleidoscopic laser lights and a warm glow from the small stage. Unlike many other festivals, performers also put their fan caps on and could be found mingling amongst the crowd during the day, enjoying the performances on offer from their OutsideIn comrades.

Talented local Sydney artist Rainbow Chan charmed the growing crowd with her xylophonic beats and nostalgic melodies. From the keys to the sax, and everything in between, Chan playfully swapped and looped her instruments constantly throughout her performance, resulting in a fun and unique sound.

Promising Adelaide producer, Anth Wendt aka Oisima followed, and captivated a jam-packed Factory Floor with his beautiful Bonobo-esque electronic beats. His chilled melodies and soulful samples, including Everything About Her, had everyone shuffling while his thumping, more energetic beats got the crowd up and moving. An impressive beard and memorable mixes made Oisima hard to forget – he’s definitely one to add to the summer playlist.

Outside, the Courtyard was constantly pumping, making it hard to bypass the stage without getting swept up in the buzzing sea of caps, tats and beards. Local Sydney boy Frames teed up with Felix Lloyd and lured listeners with what Frames called “handclap disco, hipthrust house and let-your-hair-down techno”. His hypnotic remix of Kylie Minogue’s sexy 2003 song Slow had the crowd swaying euphorically as the sun snuck behind the Factory Theatre’s rooftop.

Shortly after Frames stepped down from the stage, recently signed local producer and triple j favourite Tom Purcell aka Wave Racer took to the decks to spin some of his solid dance anthems. As elated punters danced their way to the front, the crowd swelled with many watching from the balcony entrance to the Main Stage above. His popular party tracks Rock U Tonight and Stoopid, which catapulted him into the hype machine earlier this year, were unsurprising crowd favourites along with his remix of The Dofflin by fellow OutsideIn performers Cosmo’s Midnight.

As night fell, the string of impressive international headliners took to the Main Stage with the elusive UK electro duo Snakehips kicking things off. The ‘Snakehips’ moniker was projected onto a sheer screen in front of their decks, along with black-and-white jazzy hip hop visuals, which slightly shielded their true identities from the audience. It was easy to see why Aussie favourite Flume has taken a liking to the London-based duo, with their contemporary beats and slick performance.

Canadian trio BadBadNotGood (BBNG) followed, starting their set at around 10pm, well behind their initial scheduled time of 8.30pm. It’s safe to say, though, that BBNG were worth the wait, with a number of chatty crowd members proclaiming they were the must-see act of the day. Their fast-paced percussive set was an eclectic mix of hip hop, electronic, jazz and was at times reminiscent of local experimental trio PVT.

Before closing, drummer Alex Sowinski pumped the crowd up, shouting, “Are you mother-fucking ready?! Let’s go fucking wild!” And wild it went. As their frenetic favourite You Made Me Realise reached its climax, bright lights beamed over the crowd revealing that the conservative dance floor had swiftly transformed into a schizophrenic flurry of dudes bouncing and knocking each other to the floor unapologetically.

Many punters decided to leave on a high and finish their OutsideIn experience with BBNG but the majority kicked on, still buzzing and wanting more. American rapper Freddie Gibbs was given a warm welcome for his first-ever Australian performance. Gibbs addressed the crowd: “I flew a long fucking way! Do you know how much dope I had to smoke?”

The casually clad emcee owned the stage in his red tracksuit, later zipping his jacket off to reveal a ripped physique and a gold ‘G’ draped round his neck. Gibbs rolled out impressive and seamless rhymes, coming up for air only to spark up. Gibbs undoubtedly lived up to his ‘Gangsta Gibbs’ reputation and had everyone raising the hands chanting, “Fuck the po-lice!”

After a long day of satisfying music, by 12:30am the majority of OutsideIn patrons had scattered leaving Aussie headliners Hermitude with a disappointing turn out, but the remaining dedicated fans gave the boys the reception they deserved. “You still with us?” Luke Dubs shouted before launching into All Of You.

Despite shortening their set to half an hour, they moved about the stage in true Hermitude style, stepping out from behind the decks to play the beat pads that hung from their necks. The boys gave a ripper performance filled with all the Hermitude favourites including Speak Of The Devil, Get In My Life and Hyperparadise.

As Hermitude farewelled the audience, the crowd slowly emerged from the Main Stage to find an empty courtyard with only the remnants of the epic day strewn across the ground as evidence of the festival that had taken place. This year’s OutsideIn successfully lived up to the massive reputation it earned in its inaugural year and proved that, unlike some of its floundering counterparts, it deserves to remain on the Australian festival circuit for years to come.

Gallery: OutsideIn 2013

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