Thursday, July 5, 2012

Best Intentions

360 & Spit Syndicate
Metro Theatre, Sydney
29th June 2012

I have to admit it, I don't love 360. So how appropriate that my blog expressing my love of hip hop should reach exactly 360 page views today, when I sit down to write about him. It's not that I have anything against him. I've always thought his music, falls more into the pop category than hip hop. As he explained today on his twitter, “...I don't even label my music hip hop, cause it ain't. I make (in my opinion) GOOD pop music, and I rap on [it]... I give a fuck about genre.” This could explain the very different vibe we felt entering the gig this weekend. One of the first things that I noticed was the lack of hip hop clothing on display. Usually at a gig all the merch comes out and people display their love for all hip hop artists, not just the group that is playing. Generally there is heaps of Funkoars, Bliss n Eso, Hilltop Hoods, and Drapht tshirts and jumpers floating around the crowd. However, I don't think I saw much besides Shoosh Cunt shirts, and 360 hats. Fair enough if he just has very loyal fans, but it's more like they only listen to him.  

me and Cathy, that's how we roll...
From the start, it felt like a hip hop gig with something essential missing from it. It even had more of a punk rock sort of vibe. It was missing the soul, the nitty gritty, the collective feeling of the whole history of the genre backing us up. It's like these fans have missed out on the basics and are just jumping in on the bandwagon. Again, I'm not against it. I think it's great to get new people involved. I'm not the kind of person that only likes a band because no one else knows about them. I'm more of a pusher, if I like something I will try and get as many people to listen to it as possible. Not only do I want the artists to get exposure so they can share their art with as many people as possible, but I want the average person to understand what good music is. Rather than just singing along to whatever overplayed, overproduced, bullshit is played 1000 times a day on every radio station.

Once you start getting into it, the world of hip hop is like an enormous puzzle, only you don't see the size or scope of it at the onset. You start by picking up one or two pieces and as you fit each piece into the next, you being to see a bigger and bigger picture with more and more pieces to fit into place. Suddenly you realise the view is so wide you may never find the time to examine each piece individually, that and more and more pieces are being added all the time, so it's hard to keep up. Not only does this culture involve groups, crews, individual artists, djs, producers, beat makers, singers, dancers, graffiti, and street art, but almost every other genre of music is also sampled within the beats themselves. It's a culture, that although is young compared with other genres of music has extensive depth, and history, and with a long way to go from here, because there are infinite directions to branch out into. Hip hop isn't just one thing; that's why there's room for all types of people to express and enjoy themselves through this music. And as many as want to jump on the bandwagon, I saw hop on up. Just respect the culture, the history of the culture, and the blood and sweat and soul that so many have put into it so that you can enjoy it as it is today.

(Ok bottomline: yeah the atmosphere felt a bit different, but there's room for all types of people in this world.) Enough of that rant and onto the show....

I really tried to get into 360's show. And I did for a while. Although I don't know many of his songs, I believe he opened with Child. I really dig the song “Just Got Started” with Pez which he played that night sans Pez. (And it's the ring tone on my phone, guilty.) The video clip to that song is very funny, if you haven't seen it, check it out. This sort of epitomises the type of songs that 360 is famous for. Catchy tunes, with a singable chorus that make you laugh. Again nothing wrong with that, it's just that the lyrics are missing a lot of the depth and intricacy that a lot of other artists have.

360 doing his thing
As we worked our way into the crowd, I started to enjoy myself a bit more. As we were way to the side of the venue I could see the whole crowd and I was mesmorised as I watched everyone swaying to the beat. One thing is for sure, the crowd was really into it. There was one song that I really enjoyed, although I can't remember which one it was at the moment. Just as I was about to let it all go, and really get into the performance, everything quickly fell to pieces. A fight started somewhere in front of us and two guys kept coming further and further towards the back of the room. I almost thought we weren't going to get out of the way fast enough, they were coming at us so fast. I have spoken about fights at gigs before and I don't understand it. It's like people get all hyped up and then suddenly decide to use that energy to punch someone instead of directing it into something positive like dancing, or jumping, or waving your hands in the air like you just don't care. Usually a fight only lasts a few seconds before someone jumps in and pulls the aggressor away, be it a bouncer or a few mates, or guys that happen to witness. This fight just kept going. One guy was on the floor and the other guy just kept going for him. We had to fight our way out of the crowd and into the back to get out of the way. Then just as the two boys hit the back of the crowd the aggressor gave the guy on the ground a kick to the face and blood sprayed everywhere. I was feeling sick to my stomach, and extremely annoyed that they weren't stopped before it got to that point. The bouncers were still no where to be seen although a couple minutes later they were dragging a totally different guy out of the room. The fight pretty much ruined the rest of the show for me. I couldn't get over the fact that not only someone would use this venue, and this time, when we are supposed to be getting together to share our mutual enjoyment of music and the artist on the stage, to let out all their anger and frustration at someone, but also that no one stepped in to help the guy that was on the ground getting hurt. I couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the night.

me looking naturally evil
I'm trying to think of some good things to write about the show so you don't think I'm hating on 360. Another pet peeve of mine is all the crap that people give him on facebook. If you look at the comments on any status that he writes, there are hundreds or thousands of comments and it's a good fifty fifty split of which ones will be positive and which ones will be negative. This doesn't happen with any other artist as far as I know. If you don't like an artist, then why would you “like” them on facebook just so you can throw insults at them? I guess these people really have nothing better to do with their time.

To be fair, did have a really good light show, and the energy was there, despite the fact that he didn't seem to be providing much of it himself. In fact, although most hip hop artists normally bounce all over the stage dancing, and bobbing, and waving their arms to get people involved. 360 tends to stay in one place with one arm raised over his head for the majority of the time. I also see a lot of photos where he likes to do a Jesus pose with both arms outstretched. In fact most of the energy seems to come from the crowd itself rather than a dialogue between the crowd and the artist.

The song that it seemed everyone was waiting for came on “Boys Like You.” Gossling came out and performed with him. I have to admit, if the fight hadn't happened I probably would have had a much better opinion of the show. It was quite a performance, with the lighting effects instilling an almost dream-like quality to the night that lay blanketed over the crowd and the stage. Unfortunately I didn't quite feel like I was under that blanket. And then came the final blow. The set seemed very short. 360 only played for maybe an hour. It just didn't feel like he really made the effort for a show that he was headlining, but maybe that was just me being distracted.

Listen with your heart baby, close both eyes, can you see me now?”

The SS boys
Spit Syndicate, who came out just before 360, in my opinion, stole the show. Also in my opinion, one of the most underrated hip hop acts in Australia. They hail from Sydney's inner west and they are real people, no acting here. They keep it low key. They are down to earth guys that really are doing this music thing for themselves and their friends, and their fans, because they honestly enjoy it rather than for the money or the fame. No one said they don't enjoy themselves immensely along the ride though.

Again, we didn't make it in in time to see Bam Bam, the first opening act. Or maybe we did but we were too interested in the bar. So Spit Sydnicate started off the evening right for us. They kicked things off, as they did last time I saw them with “See Me Now” off their Best Intentions Part 1 mixtape. A chillingly beautiful song that uses the beat from the XX song “Intro.” In this song Nick and Jimmy set up their rapport with the audience that lasts throughout the show. They welcome us and they introduce themselves. The lyrics invite us to close our eyes and get lost in the music.

I don't know what's going on here but I kind of like it.
From there we bounce into a more upbeat Crooks and Crime scenes, trying to get the crowd hyped. They kept looking to their friends at the side of the stage for support which was cute as the crowd obviously didn't know them and wasn't sure what to do at first. But it only took a couple of songs before they started getting comfortable and the crowd started getting really comfortable. Their show is very interactive, talking to the crowd, playing with the crowd, and getting the crowd to yell back to them. Of course they played “Starry Eyed” and “Pretty Girls Make Graves” two of their signature songs. Although they don't have the romantic songs, like the other group in the crew, Horrorshow, these songs do show a softer side of hip hop. I think they also sneakily played a song from their new mix tape without actually drawing attention to it. But I believe it was during the song “Stumbling,” which features the amazing sing song styles of the man, the myth, the giant himself, Joyride, that the crowd really started to go insane.

Opening for 360 was really good exposure both for the Spit Sydnicate boys to get more fans and for the 360 fans to get exposure to a different type of aussie hip hop that they might like. For sure they gained quite a few new fans that night, definitely including the guy that was standing behind us. I think our dancing may have had an influence on him too, but I'm sure it was mostly the music.

Nick Lupi - Also Known As: the guy in the red plaid shirt
As you know if you're a Spit Syndicate fan, that they have been in the lab cooking up their new album and it's almost ready to share with us. This was the night they decided to throw a couple never before seen songs in our direction. When I heard both of them, I was instantly hooked. The first one is possibly called Also Known As. Very catchy, it's certainly going to be a hit. If you need proof that these boys have taken it up to the next level then check the video. You can tell the crowd was in love with it too, from the random shouting and screaming with glee that continues through the whole song, even in a crowd that for the most part didn't know them at the start of the show. The other new song has no working title as of yet but it will be their new single. It has a very catchy chorus that tells us, “there's beauty in the bricks of the city that I'm from...” I really can't get that line out of my head. All I remember from the show is that I was singing right along even though it was the first time that I heard it, it was so familiar already. By this time in the show, I'm pretty sure that everyone in the crowd was hooked on what SS was showing us.

With a new single dropping next month, a new mix tape not long after that, and a new album by the end of the year, with a tour possibly linked to it, we certainly have a lot to look forward to from these boys. So stay tuned.

Spit Syndicate performing "Also Known As":

SpitSyndicate – download their free Mix Tape Best Intentions Part 1. Part 2 dropping soon.
Elemont - up and coming artist to check out. Mix tape coming out in early September!

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 Peace out my people. 
Take care of yourselves and each other, 
<3 xoxox

1 comment:

  1. ahhh.. I love how you write. I love the written journeys you take me on every week, even though I shared the reality with ya :) more! more!