Flight Facilities with Cleopold
October 10th, 2016 at Paradise Rock Club
By: Lauren Kim
The Paradise Rock Club opened up on Monday night for the Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities. Their debut album, Down To Earth, makes you feel as if you have actually taken flight, leaving this planet and departing into a dreamlike soundscape. The 2014 album features prominent artists like Reggie Watts and Kylie Minogue – the hodge-podge of vocalists and very surreal sounds of Down To Earth, gave me the impression that Flight Facilities might not be able to do the album justice live. I was wonderfully proven wrong.
Cleopold opened the show with his 2016 album Altitude & Oxygen. He sat humbly in a chair with his laptop computer on a nearby stool, a midi keyboard serving as his only instrument. His songs were well made, balancing various elements of electronic percussion and synth. His most popular song, “Down in Flames”, had a solid synth melody with memorable lyrics. The track stuck out to me the most within a set of minimalistic material.
The wait for Flight Facilities was understandably long – the vast range of equipment necessary to recreate the album required careful testing by the sound team, particularly the drum pads that Hugo Gruzmann would play throughout the night. The lights, which were also an elaborate establishment, consisted of two light racks on either side, LED string lights lining the DJ shed, and a backdrop screen. This lengthy equipment setup could only hold a visually and aurally stunning show in store. After everything was armed and tested, the opening four tone aviation-esque beeps of “Intro” came over the speakers. Gruzman and James Lyell appeared on stage in their pilot outfits, sticking with the airline theme of Down To Earth. After the crowd simmered down, they dove into “Sunshine” with vocalist Surahn Sidhu singing Reggie Watt’s vocals. Sidhu didn’t disappoint the crowd and had the audience hyped with his genuine energy.
“Two Bodies,” my personal favorite, surpassed my expectations by a landslide. The vocalist Michaela Baranov, who filled in respectively for Emma Louise, Kylie Minogue, and Christine Hoberg throughout the show, was absolutely captivating. She sang with her entire soul, dancing smoothly across the stage with a genuine, heart-warming smile across her face. Incredibly talented at her craft, she hit every note that the renowned vocalists on Down To Earth had hit to perfection. I could tell I was not the only one under her spell when I looked out into the audience and saw other faces of awe. When she told us all to raise our phone flashlights during “Clair De Lune” we all did as she commanded while she performed as if the experience was cathartic for her.
The best surprise came at the very end, when Hugo and James announced that they had a special piece that they wanted to perform for the first time. Gruzmann banged out the opening drum line of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. Hugo, James, Baranov, and Sidhu exploded into a perfectly imperfect cover of the beloved Fleetwood song that evoked the biggest sing along of the night. After that final song the audience reluctantly filed out, crashing back down to earth after a brief trip in the air with Flight Facilities.