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From shoeys to SZA: FOMO Festival makes an unforgettable Melbourne debut

When news dropped last year that FOMO was finally expanding into our city for a very special ‘FOMO by Night’, punters knew they were in for one hell of an evening. 

With headlining performances from 2017’s stand out hip hop artist SZA, SoundCloud-rapper turned viral sensation Post Malone and critically-acclaimed producer Kaytranada, FOMO kept their promise that this year’s acts would be bigger and better than ever.

Kicking the night off was triple j Unearthed winner Sophiegrophy, boasting a blend of hip hop and electronica that is reminiscent of Australia’s own Tkay Maidza. Her charisma and performance was nothing short of captivating, while her lyrical content was filled with assertion. Following were two DJ sets from MIMI and Dena Amy. MIMI was a stand out, putting her own twist on classic hip hop tunes (from old school Snoop to Kanye and Kendrick) and modern-day club bangers. Dena Amy joined MIMI on stage before taking over for her full set. Despite her undoubtable charisma, her beats were rather repetitive. Brisbane’s Danny Harley, AKA The Kite String Tangle brought his solo project alive with an accompanying drummer that served to enhance the dynamics of his music. His performance was both sombre and energised in a way that forced the crowd to move while still ensuring all eyes were glued to the stage.

It’s local knowledge that SZA has been absolutely killing it since the release of her debut album Ctrl. Melbourne loves her, and have been dying to see her live. Proudly donning an ‘AUSTRALIA’ t-shirt, SZA opened her set with ‘Supermodel’. The song’s bare-bones instrumentation draws focus to her gorgeous voice, and those who weren’t familiar with SZA were quickly swept up in her talent and charm. She powered through her set with tracks like ‘Go Gina’ and ‘Drew Barrymore’ before asking “Did anybody know me before Ctrl?” to which the audience were quick to offer reassurance. They were put to the test during ‘HiiiJack’ – a Toro y Moi produced track off her 2014 EP Z.

‘Normal Girl’, a track that showcases her ability to unapologetically embrace insecurity and transform it into an R&B anthem hit home for a lot of her devotees. Things were turned up a notch when the unmistakable kick and snare introduction of ‘Doves in the Wind’ sent the mosh into a frenzy. SZA started to wind up her set with ‘Love Galore’. Given its success, it was no surprise when the audience volunteered to take over Scott’s feature verse, turning the spotlight onto the crowd and leaving SZA to be the onlooker. She wrapped up her performance with a mesmerising performance of ‘The Weekend.’

Post Malone was up next, and anticipation was palpable. Walking onstage with a red cup in one hand and cigarette in the other, Malone truly lived up to his self-proclaimed ‘rockstar’ image. After a confident performance of ‘Go Flex’, he displayed his more vulnerable side in ‘I Fall Apart.’ Malone took time to give a spiel about his observations of the industry, criticizing fellow contemporaries and their tendency to show off materialistic items on social media that don’t even belong to them. The sentiment is one expressed in ‘Big Lie.’ Following another monologue about critics turning into congratulators, ‘Congratulations’ arrived as a farewell song, and a reminder to his fans to “live your fucking life and do what the fuck you wanna do.”

After Malone’s set people began to clear out, revealing that he was undoubtedly the most popular act of the night. With only the truest of fans left and more space to breathe and boogie, the atmosphere relaxed for Kaytranada’s set. ‘TOGETHER’ was the perfect introduction to Kay’s distinct genre-defying style. His 2016 debut album 99.9% is abundant with features, but he proved to be more than capable at holding his own steam. His set was both sonically colourful as well as extremely visually appealing, with credible graphic work and fluorescent lights. Kay’s extensive body of work was put on full display, he performed a reworked version of Solange’s ‘Cranes in the Sky’ as well as Chance the Rapper’s ‘All Night’ – a track he had a hand in producing. Songs like ‘DESPITE THE WEATHER’ and ‘One Too Many’ from 99.9% went down a storm, as well as his well-known remixes of tracks like ‘Get to Know You’ by NAO and Rihanna’s ‘Kiss It Better’. His set came to a close in the early hours of Friday morning and despite the long evening there couldn’t have been a better way to start the New Year.

Highlight: The entirety of SZA’s set.

Lowlight: Seeing way too many people pass out.

Crowd Favourite: Post Malone downing a shoey.