“I’m surprised Canadians know about Flight Facilities,” said an Australian expat at Fortune Thursday night, right before the sold out show was about to begin. He raised an interesting point. Who were the fans of the enigmatic electronic duo? Looking around, there were yuppie femmes put together in expensive clothes, every nail and lash painted and perfected; there was a random tank bro; and many men in vaguely alternative dress. It was a mixed demographic held together by the fact that sold out shows are an implicit promise of a night that is about dancing and drinking to an act everyone will lose their bananas over.
Flight Facilities was this act. The Sydney-based DJ duo from down under is often lumped under the nu-disco label (one that’s an understandable and easy categorization to make, given their body of released singles), but what most defines Hugo Stuart Gruzman and James Nathan Lyell is their love of a good pop song. Hugo and Jimmy understand the importance of a good time, and they’re known for their playful nature, from claiming they’re from Trinidad and Tobago to wearing pilot costumes onstage, dress-up as cute as it is silly.
Starting close to midnight Flight Facilities came out accompanied by Owl Eyes, the artist name of Brooke Addamo, a finalist on the sixth season of Australian Idol. Addamo commanded the vocal front on this tour, letting the music serve her, beginning with “Foreign Language”, an unabashed disco tribute. Jess Higgs, the vocalist on the recorded track, had a soulful take on it while Addamo’s voice rang bright and clear. The deep house groove was unmistakable, and it energized the crowd. While it’s never a sure thing in Vancouver whether the audience’s idea of a good time is standing around or moving their bodies, within one song into the set, everyone was on board and ready to go.
It speaks volumes about the strength of the pop formula behind a Flight Facilities track – Hugo and Jimmy are quite vocal on social media as well as in interviews about their desire to make the kind of pop music they want to hear out there, and their criticism of those who prefer to focus on empty provocation rather than on the music itself (no, they’re definitely not talking about Miley). But the duo is also well-versed in their music history, highlighted in their Decade mix-tapes, and this was shown with the brief disappearance of Addamo and when bass tracks were played, continuing the flow of adrenaline in a darker, German style. While Flight Facilities adore a bouncy single, the switch in gears made sense because without a debut LP and only a handful of released singles to their name, the tracks are going to be spread out throughout the set. “Stand Still” was one of those tracks, and it was great they played a remix of it by another talented Aussie producer, Wave Racer. Elevating the atmosphere with its shiny whistling, and glistening chipmunk vocals, “Stand Still” is the sound of sun-kissed positivity.
Saved best for last, “Crave You”, the single that put Flight Facilities on the map, was worth waiting for, a song of poignant lust and cool frustration, with a sax solo that had everyone flying high among the clouds.