Words by Fergus Sweetland
Before we get into the nuts and bolts of this review, I want to make note of a few things for you, the reader. I’m a big electronic music fan. I’ve been producing house and techno as well as DJ’ing for around 7 years, so I like to think I’ve built a good repertoire for critical listening at music festivals and events. More so, I’ve attended a few of the Let Them Eat Cake (LTEC) festivals in the past (amongst many others).
When the 1st of January rolls around, I’m always giddy with excitement for LTEC. I truly can’t think of a better way to spend New Year’s Day than dancing to quality music in the beautiful surrounds of the Werribee Mansion through a premium Funktion-One Vero sound system with a whole bunch of wonderful mates. Sounds like a good recipe for fun, right?
My overall impression of LTEC was that it was once again a proper fun day. Great food and a very impressive setup. It was lovely to walk around the festival grounds and check out all the smaller stages while chomping down on a tasty meal. Some stages are tucked away between trees and others are nestled in the shade.
But on the day I spent the majority of my time checking out the main stage. You want to be there to experience the might of the sound system. I wish I could have been in two places at once to expose myself to the other music that the day had to offer, but I was focused on what the main stage had on offer. The rest of the review is focused around that.
The past two years line up’s have been spot on. 2015 saw KiNK and Carl Craig (Carl’s set still remains one of the better sets I’ve ever seen) and 2016 hosted Âme and Daniel Avery amongst others. The progression across the day last year was sublime, with Four Tet and Ben UFO in the afternoon to warm us up in the summer sun.
The day then progressed into some heavier and faster beats from Âme and Daniel Avery. When I saw the lineup for LTEC 2017, I felt like it lacked one big techno name like Avery or Craig to really raise the energy up. However, I was excited to see Mano Le Tough on there.
Sadly, I feel that the element of progression wasn’t as prominent for the 2017 edition of LTEC. To me, it seemed like the set times for the main stage was a little backwards. Oliver Huntermann and Mano Le Tough played their afternoon sets perfectly. This was the best part of the day as the vibe and energy were really good.
The mood was set for the following acts: Marek Hemmann, Alex Niggemann and Dusky. They all played good sets, there’s no denying that, but this is when the progression of the music started to plateau. Both Hemmann and Niggemann sounded a little too similar and blurred into one long set. It’s unfortunate that music cut out when Hemmann was playing his track ‘Genesis’ as it was really starting to build some proper energy. These things happen in live performances though so you can’t blame him for that. I feel as if Oliver Huntermann and Mano Le Tough could have played the closing sets better than what was programmed.
To take a break from the main stage, I went and checked out an experimental stage called The Spiral which was set up in close proximity to the main stage and mansion. Visitors could come up and play with the looping vinyl tracks and record their session into wax with a vinyl cutting machine. The idea is to make the visitor the main attraction. People could look on from the spiral shaped seating. Sadly, the two blokes who I saw playing with the loops would struggle mixing milk with instant coffee, so I didn't hear what the The Spiral was truly capable of, but I very much enjoyed the loops themselves. The PA system was spread around the spiral, so that sounds would zip and fizz around you. It was oddly a very enjoyable experience.
Back to the main stage. Dusky presented a new and updated sound, from their DJ set which was refreshing to hear compared to what I had experienced from them in the past. In terms of their track selection, they presented a clear understanding of the sound they wanted to show off, but in doing so, didn't concentrate so much on reading the crowd. Their predecessors for the job (Carl Craig and Daniel Avery) took the closing duties in their stride, as both acts brought up the pace and energy of the music. Dusky missed the mark in this regard as the energy level was kept at constant from the afternoon.
With all that being said, people were still enjoying the music all throughout the day. I certainly was having fun and so were my mates. The production value of the festival was second to none, with clear attention focused on sound quality, music and decor/stage design. LTEC is a one day festival that offers up a whole host of different things for their crowd. You could relax by the lake and listen to music, boogie under the shade to some experimental or house music, or pump it out to some hip-hop or techno. All these teamed with the festival setting adds up to one hell of a day, and you can be certain that I’ll return to the gardens of the Werribee Mansion again.
Photos courtesy of Pagad (Patrick Rebakis). Click here for full photo album.