[Gig Review] Soaring High With Flight Facilities at the Enmore

On the second night of their opening week for their Australian tour, we caught Sydney electronic duo Flight Facilities at one of our favourite venues, Enmore Theatre.

The “All This Love” tour kicked off their Australian leg of the tour with three shows in Sydney (with two of the shows selling out) and an energetic and playful crowd to welcome the boys back to their hometown.

With an introduction to the main show, their famous in-flight announcements, the duo emerged through smoke and lights with their customised flight deck stage installation and their pilot attire and started with a bang with their February 2018 release ‘Need You ft. NÏKA,’ NÏKA’s vocals being sung by longtime Flight Facilities collaborator, Owl Eyes. Her vocals allowed her to easily transition into another one of their chilled out tunes, ‘Two Bodies’ from their debut album, the 2014 “Down to Earth.”

Continuing with the upbeat and energetic theme, she helped the duo with the Micky Green vocals in ‘Stand Still’ which excited the crowd, who happily bopped along to the carefree beats and matching light show to suit the mood at Enmore. It was heavenly to sway along to the rendition and sing softly with hundreds of others, everyone hanging on Owl Eyes’ hauntingly beautiful voice.

Owl Eyes’ disappeared off the stage and left the duo to jump into their next track ‘Merimbula.’ The lights on stage changing from the soft reflective blue, to a more eye-catching combination of earth tones, orange and red – matching the artwork of their previously mentioned debut album. The colour change would play an integral part of the show, as it introduced a Flight Facilities’ Daft Punk tribute. Remixing Daft Punk’s ‘Da Funk’ and ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger to their own accord. The lights were suddenly red and reminiscent of Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 tour. As a massive Daft Punk fan, this moment caused me to scream in the crowd and nearly cry erratically to my friends.

Sydney singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ric Rufio then joined the boys on stage, to provide the Reggie Watts vocals for their smooth and relaxing track ‘Sunshine,’ the backdrop suddenly changing themes to bright pastel palm trees, giving strong GTA: Vice City vibes. Suiting the cool, calm and collected feel – Owl Eyes’ joined the stage once again and danced happily along while singing their June 2017 release ‘Arty Boy’ to a backdrop of stars in the sky, floating along aimlessly.

Reappearing on stage, Ric Rufio amazed us with a flawless rendition of Jamiroquai’s 2001 hit ‘You Give Me Something.’ It was flawless to the crowd because it felt like Jay Kay was singing to us right here in Sydney. Such a great choice for a cover; the crowd joined in and cheered on during the performance. Owl Eyes’ re-emerged and gave a strong performance with their 2011 release ‘Foreign Language feat. Jess,’ but we did not anticipate what was to come.

Suddenly the stage went dark. The bright lights that have filled the Enmore Theatre during the first half of the performance are no longer shining. The stage is set, the backdrop playing a montage of a plane in flight – as Claude Debussy’s ‘Clair De Lune’ starts playing on the piano softly, mirroring the image of the backdrop. Everyone is excited, even with the calming sound of classical music, every Flight Facilities fan knows what’s going to happen next.

Then it begins: dropped gently so the crowd can absorb it, one of their famous tracks, the namesake to Debussy’s original – Flight Facilities‘Clair De Lune,’ a track so well known and used on multiple Australian advertisements.

There is something that’s hauntingly beautiful and remarkable about their version. It takes me back to a simple time in my life, the life that just involved driving aimlessly on Summer nights while having this track on repeat in the car. It’s a similar mood with everyone around me. You can feel this song in your heart. I come to the conclusion that Flight Facilities writes songs for the heart, their music reminding you of every boy/girl you’ve had a crush on. I’m emotionally captivated by hearing this live again.

As we continue on the theme of love, Ric Rufio performs Dustin Tebbutt’s vocals on Flight Facilities May 2018 release ‘All Your Love,’ an emotional ballad that tugs right at your heartstrings. With the theme of love still prominent even as the light show begins to reflect a green rave, Owl Eyes’ hops back on stage to sing her collaboration with Flight Facilities ‘Heart Attack,’ with everyone in the crowd singing along to her every word. As the show draws to a close she joins Ric Rufio on stage and they mesmerise the crowd by singing along to the November 2017 release ‘Stranded.’ 

But it’s not over yet! One of their most famous songs hasn’t been played yet – the song that introduced me to Flight Facilities eight years ago and was No. 19 on Triple Hottest 100 of 2010, ‘Crave You’ written by Giselle Rosselli (who also supplied the vocals) and Flight Facilities’ Hugo Gruzman and James Lyell. And so it begins, Owl Eyes’ soothingly and steadily singing the opening lyrics:

Why can’t you want me like the other boys do?
They stare at me while I stare at you

Why can’t I keep you safe as my own?
One moment I have you, the next, you are gone

Rehearsed steps on an empty stage

That boy’s got my heart in a silver cage

Why can’t you want me like the other boys do?
They stare at me while I crave you.

With a strong electronic drop into the song, the crowd went wild, celebrating one of the duo’s most well-known hits singing along to every word! Even original saxophonist (on the record), Nick Broadhurst makes an appearance on stage. And just when we thought the show came to an end with ‘Crave You,’ the duo announced a tribute – telling us to look at Nick’s shirt to see what it said. The shirt had the words ‘RESPECT’ and the crowd erupted as Aretha Franklin’s ‘Respect’ played in tribute to the late Detroit raised singer.

With great guest performances and a stage presence, Flight Facilities never misses the mark with their shows. I highly recommend catching their next show – make sure you don’t miss that flight!

Words by Talica Tamanitoakula 
Photography by Ishan Sharma

Flight Facilities
Thursday 23rd August 2018
Enmore Theatre