Monday, June 18, 2012

Come Together Festival

Come Together Festival

The Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney
9th June 2012      

Of all the acts on the line up this year, it was pretty much all about two for me: Thundamentals and Horrorshow.  The plan of course was to watch them all, unfortunately at a festival, nothing ever really goes exactly to plan.

The day started out normal enough for a festival day: 830am message from someone in the same hotel room, “almost drink time?” And so it was. I believe the first shots were cheers’ed by about 9am and the first drinking game had started by 11.  Just personally I don’t recommend or take part in these activities, Go Slow is a pretty good motto, especially when the first part of the day includes amusement park rides.

touristy photo
It was a beautiful day for my first time in North Sydney.  It was like the city was showing off just for one day in between dumping buckets of rain on us. We arrived at Luna Park at about 2pm and no one seemed particularly pukey yet so the roller coaster was our first destination. As we waited my friend Cathy began to tell the story about how scared she was last year on the ride, not because it’s a particularly good roller coaster, but because it’s so old and rickety that it literally feels like it’s about to fly off the track.  She continued to tell us that she thinks someone DID die from this very thing.  So for the next 3 minutes I was sure the car was about to dislodge from the track at every turn.  Pure terror.  But turns out we lived to see the concert after all. 

After that ordeal, some of us had enough of the rides and so as per Aussie tradition, we went to the pub. After 3-4 drinks (and showing our IDs about 6 times, no we REALLY are over 18) we were ready to go into the venue.  However, on closer inspection, the venue wasn't quite ready to let us in. Although it was time for the first act to start, there was a line snaking back seemingly to infinity with no signs of movement.  And so it was back to the pub for us, with no hope of catching the first couple of acts. Bam Bam and Purpose at least were not happening and we ended up missing Skryptcha as well, so we aimed at getting in at 545 at the latest to see Thundamentals.
me and Cathy waiting out the line in the pub

As it turns out Purpose would have been a killer set to see, he was joined on stage by Jimmy Nice, Illy, and Joyride for their “Comin Home” collaboration that would have been worth lining up early for. I’m annoyed to have missed out on this, although at the time I had no idea.

When the line had finally died down we got in quite quickly as the police dogs were already busy with several unfortunate younger kids. We could hear that the Thundamentals had just started so we rushed into the venue, only to lose everyone in our group within the first 5 minutes.  As you do.  So for the first part of the set I was just with Cathy’s sister, Sally.  It was special because Sally is a new fan of hip hop and it was great to see her singing along to what is one of the best Australian hip hop groups in my opinion.

I fell in love with the Thundamentals after the first time I heard the single off their latest album Foreverlution, "How You Been?"  I became obsessed with them when I was researching their music before going to see them open for The Herd earlier this year.  I heard "Check My Fresh" and "Easy" and and I was completely hooked on their funky vibe. I bought all their music off iTunes in one day and didn't stop listening for at least 2 months. I'm thinking, how did I not get onto this so much earlier? But I've certainly made up for lost time.

Thundamentals rockin' it, with horn section!
Cathy ended up in the front mosh pit area by herself for most of the set. Even that early on in the night she said it was quite rough and ended up bailing.  There tends to be a bit of violence at hip hop shows, but it’s more so with the younger generation.  Considering the age of the crowd that turned out that night I would imagine the front row had a fair bit of elbows flying.  I tend to stick to the back anyway, the plus is:  there’s more room to dance.  Tuka and Jeswon have so much energy on stage it translates all the way to the back row anyway.  They actually played with a horn section this time which is always adds a whole other dimension to the show.  “My Favourite Song” and “How You Been?” of course are crowd favourites.  We eventually met up with my other friend Kathy and we were able to “Paint the Town Red” together.  The vibe where we were back at the bar was pretty chill but everyone around us seemed really into the music and knew a lot of the words. 

As far as venues go, the set up within the Big Top is pretty great.  It holds about 3000 and was at full capacity. The whole front area of course is the mosh pit area, there are no drinks allowed as this is mixed ages.  In the under 18s area at the back is the merch table, and in the over 18s area there is one of the bars. One the second level is seating so it’s a good place to chill and still see the show.  There are another 2 bars both upstairs and downstairs in rooms which are separate to the main concert area, so great places to chill if you need a break or have to find people. 

cool kids wear sunglasses at night like Cathy and Aaron
It was in one of these rooms that we finally caught up with the rest of our group after Thundamentals.  And so the whole next set ended up turning into a big catch up session for us, which unfortunately means that we missed most of Koolism.  I was pretty keen to see them as they are one of the only good things to ever come out of Canberra.  I exaggerate.  I did see them at the University of Canberra once years ago and I remember they rocked it pretty hard.  I’m sure most of the young fans there had not heard their music though, so the performance might not have had quite the same effect on that crowd, although hopefully they would recognise the voice from the Hip Hop Show on Triple J.  Unfortunately missing this performance means I missed another epic moment of the night where Hau brought his 6 month old son out for his first time in the spot light.  I saw it later on Instagram and it was certainly a beautiful and touching moment.  He got to show his son for the first time what it's like to get love on stage and although he won't actually remember it, i feel like it will be something that's imprinted in his memory.

Up next was Seth Sentry who I saw perform for the first time that night. I think he gets so much love because he brings the whole lazy, stoner, video game player vibe to life.  Unfortunately that also means 6 years of performing without releasing a full length album.  He showed us his fun side running around on stage with his Nerf gun which he had proudly displayed through his instagrams before this.  His song about a waitress got everyone going, but also his newer track “My Scene” which was released this year. I felt like during his set was when the show really got started and by this time no one could resist getting involved.  The real surprise and highlight of his set was when he whipped out, in an unprecedented move, his Rappertag for everyone, one of the best to date.

The next two acts had Elefant Traks out in full force.  After using all that energy I decided to chill back with a couple people during Hermitude.  The crowd was going nuts dancing at this point and we opted to watch from the seats above.  I saw Hermitude rock it a few weeks back at the Groovin the Moo festival in Canberra and they really brought it.  We kicked off GTM right as theirs was an early set but even so the tent was packed to see them and they had the crowd jumping like they didn't know it was only 130 in the afternoon.  They have an insane light show which I was able to enjoy a lot more this time around.

Made up solely of two beat producers, they aren’t your typical hip hop group.  With no lyricist, they incorporate vocal cuts of their friends into some of their songs. My favourite being “Your Call” off the album Threads, which includes rapping by Urthboy and the sweet singing of Elana Stone.  That was a highlight for me.  Other than that their set is comprised mostly of beats which you would think isn’t for everyone but when they’re on stage they really command attention.  The songs are very intricate, with influences from jazz, latin, and classical music as well as hip hop.  They ended off their set with their most popular song to date, "Speak of the Devil" which included a live performance by the spunky, energetic, and bouncy Chaos Emerald. The crowd was going nuts at this point and it was time to go back down and get amongst it for Horrorshow.

Horrorshow was by far the best act of the night for me.  It was their first performance in quite some time, minus the set they did opening for Atmosphere a few weeks back, during which they were quite nervous.  I had seen Solo jump on stage to perform a few songs with Spit Syndicate recently, and they have also done some workshops, including one in Alice Springs.  But other than that they have had a bit of time off since the massive Bliss n Eso tour last year. Not for long though, in a couple weeks time their tour with Hilltop Hoods will kick off which includes shows across Australia as well as in Europe.

sneaky KnoHow Music promos..
The duo had obviously been preparing for tonight, and they hit the stage to this massive hometown crowd showing none of the nervousness that they couldn’t quite shake during the Atmosphere performance.  They had a few surprise guests incorporated into their set, a couple of which I was expecting and then one truly big surprise. First up Seth Sentry came back out to perform their hit, “Our Song.” This song is an excellent concept as it puts forth the idea that the music doesn’t just belong to the artist, cause it doesn’t come together and really mean something until they’re performing it in front of an audience who’s singing it right back at them.  Hence it’s “our song,” meaning all of ours.

good times
The biggest surprise and truly the climax of the night in so many ways, was when “In My Haze” began to play. As the first couple notes started rang out I felt like a hush came over the crowd as if everyone was holding their breath. And then Jane Tyrell came out on stage to a roar of approval. I think if we weren't already standing it may have called for a standing ovation.  I had not yet had the pleasure of hearing this song live and with good reason, because it’s pretty rare, and it couldn’t be done without Jane.  I actually didn’t think of it at the time but if she had stayed on to do the "Cigarettes Will Kill You" cover then it would have made for a perfect night. Not to diminish that they did because it was incredible. 

I was certainly lost in my haze during this song.  I wasn't even watching the stage during most of the performance I was simply dancing around, singing to my friends, and absolutely loving life.  That’s the beauty of a live performance for me, if you can make me forget absolutely everything and just be in that moment indefinitely- not thinking of tomorrow, not thinking about how to move your body, or the crowd around you, or where you are, or what the day is, or what you’re doing later.  If you can make me live exclusively in that moment then that’s what makes a top performance.  

Other than In My Haze, Horrorshow has a few other romantic songs.  Must be why these heartthrobs are picking up all the chicks. (jokes, jokes!!!!) The other two really standout songs for me on the night were All Summer Long and Walk You Home.  My friends and I really got into singing them together and it was some very cute moments indeed.  I think this group brings out a much needed softer side to the hip hop scene.  They aren’t all about cutesy, romantic songs though.  The last special guests where their good friends- the rest of the One Day Crew: Nick Lupi, Jimmy Nice, & Joyride or aka Spit Syndicate performing “Neighbourhood Hit,” a song about boys being boys and growing up together in the city.

It was a terrific performance that left me wanting more, and definitely keen to see them open for Hilltop Hoods next month, and I’m also keen to see them on their own tour, hoping that new album they've been working on drops this year.

60 doin' his thing
Although I felt like the night was already over, next was the act that everyone was obviously waiting for 360.  I’m just going to be honest and say that 360 is not really my cup of tea.  I’m going to keep it short though cause I’m not hating on him.  You have to respect that he has a huge following and he has gotten a lot of those people into hip hop that may not have listened to it before.  He’s out there doing his thing and respect to making whatever music that you want to make and doing what makes you happy.  I saw him perform at Groovin the Moo as well and I did really enjoy the performance, even though I don’t listen to much of his music.

I really enjoy the songs that he does with Pez (together they are called Forthwright) and I look forward to hearing more of those songs in the future.  I think my favourite is probably “The Club Song” which you can find on Mphazes – Good Gracious album.  I think he’s good at writing joke raps and making people laugh, but I don’t find a lot of his rhymes to be that intricate or insightful.

me and Kathy after Luna Park spat us out
I don’t have much to say about this performance in particular because we didn’t stay through it, but I will be giving him another chance in two weeks time at his show with Spit Syndicate, so hopefully he will be able to impress me again.

All in all I think it was a great showcase of Australian hip hop.  I think having 360 on the lineup was a great idea as it brought in a crowd who may not have been exposed to a lot of other hip hop artists, although it did make for a very young crowd.  Hopefully some of those younger people came out of the night with a greater understanding and appreciation of the scene as a whole. I’m all about getting this music that I love exposed to as many people as possible so I think the night was a great success. 

If you managed to get all the way through this article then you’ll probably notice that I wrote the whole thing without falling back on any jokes about anyone “coming together.”  You can thank me later.

Interview with Thundamentals at Come Together: 

Interview with Horrorshow at Come Together:

Websites to check:

Come Together official website
Music Feeds for the rest of the Come Together interviews and music news.
"Comin Home" performed by Purpose with Illy, Jimmy Nice, and Joyride 
ElefantTraks - Hermitude and Horrorshow

Check out the line up for SPRUNG FEST, another big hip hop festival to hit Brisbane on November 10th: 

Tweet Me

@thundamentals@Hauiebeast@hermitude@horrorshowcrew@sethsentry@3ree6ixty/ @spitsyndicate/ @donjoyride / @jenallende

Go cop the new Hermitude remix by the Tongue- Hyper Paradise Chillin' which dropped today.  Free download.

Go with the Flow & Peace Out
Jen <3

1 comment:

  1. Awww, love you Jen! We must reunite and see a show together in the future. Come to a summer festie with me here!