Fred again.. Perth review: Boiler Room vibes hit the big stage for 35,000 ecstatic fans

Fred Again
Home >Lifestyle >Fred again.. Perth review: Boiler Room vibes hit the big stage for 35,000 ecstatic fans

After weeks of excitement British producer Fred again.. brought energy, euphoria and emotion to thousands of adoring fans at Langley Park last weekend.

Words by Alex Kohlen.

It actually wouldn’t have been hard to miss that Fred again.. was in town, in fact his whole PR strategy is to make you think that you might. From announcing the show at 6pm on Thursday, to selling it out barely an hour later, to the descent and exodus of 30,000 giddy opportunists onto Perth’s Langley park on Saturday night, it was all said and done in barely 50 hours – people have been in labour longer.

In case you did miss it, Fred again.. (real name: Fred Gibson) has been touring Australia and New Zealand for the last month, selling out last minute shows at everything from dirty dive bars, to Sydney’s Opera House, and after weeks of speculation and days of teasing, on Saturday night, it was finally the sunset city’s turn.

The Perth show was basically a six-hour back-to-back DJ set, with the advertised set-times thrown to the wind. Fred again.. and friends were all on stage for almost the whole show. Special guests Joy Anonymous, Messie, and local legend Rok Riley were up and about early in proceedings, with Gibson drifting in and out of proceedings as he pleased, hype man for his own support artists.

Manning the decks at an impressive set-up that could rival the last supper (on brand for the Easter long weekend), it was the fun-loving producer’s viral Boiler Room set writ large for an adoring crowd that spanned people of all ages and music tastes.

At $130 a pop for a ticket, a DJ-set might seem like an expensive consolation prize for Fred’s usual multi-instrumentalist wizardry, but a disappointment it was not. Back-to-back-to-front-to-back, it was hard to tell one set apart from the next. Jazz-like in the way each performer had their moment, it was a joyous blend of forward-thinking club music, old school dubstep, emotional house and trance numbers, jump up drum’n’bass and more.

Famous for his features, the Perth show was treated to a cameo by Flowdan, in town for Touch Bass Festival just across the way in Wellington Square. Despite the improv of it all, the classics were not missed, and a half-an-hour diversion into a few un-released tracks quickly segued into extended versions of his many fan favourites to round out the night, leaving most fans arm in arms, many in tears.

Committing to a Fred again.. gig kind of feels like going to see your mate’s brother’s show at the local pub. There’s a sense of invitation, there’s community, and he even shares information to help people going alone tee up with other fans who couldn’t rally a crew at the last minute. Rewarding punters who arrived early with special passes to enjoy the show from the bleachers behind the stage another nice touch – creating an equal playing field and providing an exciting backdrop of smiling faces and dancing bodies behind the main event, as opposed to the usual sea of influencers or industry heads looking bored.

Online, Gibson talks to his 2.5 million instagram followers like he’s in a group chat with them, often replying to fans, sharing banal logistical instructions, and asking and responding to questions you’d normally expect to be handled by some sort of well-oiled events team, and this warmth is reflected back to him in spades.

For a performer who has plenty of reason to be arrogant, there’s a notable lack of ego. No better demonstrated than by his non-stop goofy smile, it’s like every show is his first and he still can’t believe what’s happening. As a fan this feels good, as though you’re a participant in his success somehow, riding shotgun along a wild journey with someone who has inarguably become one of the world’s most hyped, and important, artists.

At a time when legacy music festivals are being cancelled en masse, this show, its marketing, and the hype around it, one couldn’t help but feel like they were watching the music industry shift in real time. Obviously the Fred again.. model isn’t easily replicable, but there’s lessons to be learnt here, from fan connection, to event organisation and everything in between.

Header Image Credit: Sam Wolters

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