Larger than Life
Melbourne's Now or Never Festival
Now or Never is the latest large-scale festival to grace the sites and streets of Melbourne. Taking over the Royal Exhibition Centre in Carlton, Now or Never introduced a fresh feat of scale and spectacle for Australia's arts community. The historical halls were fitted with spectacular lighting visuals and a festival-grade sound system, transforming the event into an innovative hub for artists to show their colours in full force.
Facing the grand entrance, Britain’s George Fitzgerald gathered the crowds through his electronic mixture of emotive tropes, slow-motion grooves, and ambient song-like arrangements. The atmosphere in the room was dreamy, even wistful. Over the next two hours, CC-Disco took over with a euphoric blend of disco, house and new-age dance. Her setlist delivered an energy that was playful, bouncy, and at times jungle-like. With a fast tempo and consistent rhythm, the Melbournian artist saturated the colourful dancefloor, imbuing the time-honoured halls with new life.
Then, at the final hour, Âme took the stage. The lights dimmed, colours faded out, and a burst of lightning flashed onto the screen. ‘Pink Elephant’ started to play. The German artist’s signature quirky bass synths and quick snap-percussion shifted the mood with a deep, visceral, and focused sound. It was a fine note to end on for the evening, one that unsurprisingly left over two thousand people wanting more.
Overall, the event pushed for a diversity of sound and atmosphere in unprecedented ways, weaving together the light with the heavy: ambient melody with quick percussion, playful disco with dark bass. Now or Never utilised the historical-turned-eclectic space to capture a burst of the innovative musical energy festering within Melbourne, a city of evolving nightlife and sold-out summer festivals. More than that, it recognised the range of sounds, talent, and cultural vivacity that the southern hemisphere has to offer, provoking in Australians a deeper yearning for new scales and higher feats in the music and dance scene.
When will this longing be met? In this shifting cultural epoch, Melbourne’s answer has never been clearer: now or never.
Now or Never continues until September 2 2023.
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