Saturday, August 25, 2012

What's been happening?

Me and my girl doing how we do...
I know I've been majorly lagging in the updates department lately.  Where are all the gig reviews?? I thought you loved hip hop Jen?!  Well the thing is this month has been absolutely crazy for me.  Not only in relation to six months ago when I was just a small town Townsville girl, but compare this schedule to anyone you know and you'll see that hip hop has become my full time job.  Not only that but all this is juggled in between working at my actual full time job.  I originally meant to update this blog every Wednesday and I would like to go back to that, but lately it's like Friday, Saturday, sometimes Sunday is a gig, Sunday is a totally written off hungover day, Monday I'm too tired to think, Tuesday I need to catch up on some much needed sleep, Wednesday and Thursday I have some time to write, if I don't have other things going on, and then before I know it it's Friday and time to do it all over again.

So here's a quick overview of the gigs that I attended in the last month, some definitely deserve longer entries and I am working on it, patience people. Please stay with me.

27th July - Daily Meds & Rainman @ Fbi Social
My first gig in King's Cross and it certainly could have been sleazier, it was definitely lacking on the sleeze factor.  But it was made up for by actually being a classy venue with a good hip hop vibe to it.  My girl and I had a few too many drinks at home and we were delayed from showing up on time due to a shaken Coke bottle incident in the kitchen.  We went for the Daily Meds but stayed to see the incredible Rainman.  From what we got to see the Daily Meds were hard hitting as usual, everyone in the place was up and dancing when we burst through the door.  I'm so glad we got introduced to Rainman this night, he blew me away.  He has been described as "Queensland's best kept secret" if so he won't be a secret for long.  His song "The Valley" just won in the Urban category in Queensland's music awards.  I just got his album two days before this show and I was already hooked by the time I saw his performance.  His lyrics are direct and honest.  His voice is soulful.  He sounds destinctly Australian without the bogan factor.  He has fun easy songs mixed with deep and thought provoking songs.  He's got that something extra.  He's basically everything I look for in Australian hip hop at the moment, I can't believe I have only just heard of him.  He has quickly become a new favourite of mine for sure. My especially favourite song of his is called "Darling" and it's a tribute to his relationship with hip hop. Check out my video below, really quality footage.  

28th July -Kade & The Karneez @ The Annandale Hotel
Kade was gearing up for his official album release by throwing a big party at the Annandale with free beer.  Even  after an epic hangover there was no way I was missing this one.  It turned out to be a bit quiet though, for a night which included the promise of free beer.  Kade wasn't a disappointment, just the crowd.  A normal part of the act is when an emcee from the crowd will jump onstage for a freestyle battle with him, but no one was feeling it that night.  Good thing Kade has plenty more gigs to come, including a headline show at FBi social on the 4th October and the Sando in Newton on the 11th of October.

3rd August True Vibenation & Jackie Onassis & Skryptcha @ The Standard
There was a lot of competition on for gigs this night.  It was a big night for Australian hip hop for sure.  That I settled for Skryptcha was a last minute decision, although I wasn't disappointed.  What I missed out on was Def Wish Cast at the Annandale (absolute dopeness when I saw them with Funkoars earlier this year) and Mantra with Mphazes at the casino.  It's funny cause I normally would have chosen one of the others, but it turns out that I met a couple of new friends here so it was meant to be.  
me & Rochelle, new gig buddies
Honestly, the group I most remember was True Vibenation.  They had a funky, reggae hip hop vibe that I was really feeling.  From what I remember Jackie Onassis was good too.  The whole night was a bit of blur though.  I had a conversation with Kai where I told him that my blog was really in depth and I don't do one or two sentence reviews.  And here I am doing just that, damn hypocrites.  Luckily I get to see them perform again when they open for Illy so can give them a bit more time and attention for that one. Skryptcha honestly let me down a little bit.  The only thing that really stands out in my memory was that he sounded a bit too much like 360 for my liking. But again he is opening for Illy as well so I'm willing to give him a closer listen.  The stand out song of the night was when he got the Spit Sydnicate boys on stage.  Nick was rocking the gold chain bling, and Jimmy seemed a bit sketchy, hanging out around the shadows on the side of the stage except for his verse.  Strange things from those two.. 
It was a good night over all, good atmosphere in the room, a lot of familiar faces, a lot of love for hip hop.  But the music that night seemed to take a backseat for me, to the company I was with. 

4th August -Briggs & Horrorshow & Hilltop Hoods @ The Hordern Pavillion
I will be writing an extended article about both of the Hilltop shows that I went to this tour. Just briefly, Horrorshow really ruled the night for me, they burst onto stage like they owned it, feeling very comfortable with their hometown after just returning from a brief stint in Europe.  These boys have much improved in the last year that I have been following them. I can't wait to share this new video with you.  Their new song "Dead Star Shine" is hauntingly beautiful and right in tune with their style. You can tell people where getting into it, just on this first listen. Check it out for real... 

10th August -Thundamentals & Mantra & Dialectrix @ Canberra University-
Mantra, rapper and comedian
I think never has a more talented group been brought together.  Thundamentals are top of the list for me in Oz hip hop right now (Bliss n Eso excluded). Mantra is certainly a good story teller and a tight rhymer.  And Dialectrix I haven't heard much from but what I have is top quality, especially the song "Inner Heart Beat" off the album Audio Projectile.  He has quick rapping and good lyrics. This gig was more like a private sesh with friends than an actual concert.  We thought at first it really would be a private concert as there was only about 12 people there when we got there.  More people trickled in during the night, but no where near the crowds that these groups are used to playing to, which was good for us.  But despite it's small size, Canberra has a decent sized group of hip hop fanatics, it's a shame that this city gets missed out on on most tours.  Actually, wait when did I start praising Canberra? This is not like me at all.
So what do I remember most about this concert? That maybe I get to drunk to remember most concerts. But if you haven't done it yet get in to see a live Thundamentals show cause these guys know how to bring a room to life with just a DJ and two mics, no gimmicks.  But they usually bring a live horn section with them, so it's definitely worth a trip out. I think their facial expressions bring a lot of emotion into the songs as well and they are very energetic, not just bobbing around, but dancing and doing hand gestures that coincide with the rhymes.  They draw you in right away and you can't help but feel a connection with them when they're on the stage. 

11th August  -Hip Hop Odyseys @ Spaceport One, Marrickville-
Broken Thought Theory
I'm just letting you know right now, this is your new favourite venue.  Hands down, no argument.  Whether it's hip hop, rock, punk, or an all out rave this is the place to do it.  Amazing warehouse used as a creative space for a variety of art forms.  I attended the first ever hip hop night here, and despite not having a huge turn out, I think it was a raging success.  Everyone there was very respectful and relaxed.  The artists all felt very comfortable, like they were just performing for friends.  Great performers.  Saw what I reckon is the best beatboxing I've ever seen that night by, Ettoman.  (Check out his youtube page, this guy does insane things with his mouth and lips.) This is going to be a monthly event so I'd love to see a few more people head on down next time.  Awesome people, awesome place.  Beyond amazing music and atmosphere. 

16th August -Briggs & Horrorshow & Hilltop Hoods (again) @ Canberra Uni
I thought this would end up being a very different show to the last one, considering the much smaller venue.  But hip hop acts these days don't seem to change their set list much (if at all) night to night which is a disappointment as I think it would be fun to play around with song arrangement and make a unique show every night.  But that's a rant for another day.  The main difference here was that we got a lot closer to the stage for Horrorshow, but then got out and to the back again for Hilltop.  We must have got stuck in  the middle of some parent chaperon group during Hilltop's set because all the people around us were older and they didn't seem to know any of the songs.  What a disappointment.  My main problem with Hilltops though is that for the level that they are at, and the money that they have coming in, I think they could do a lot more with their show.  I have a lot of respect for what they have done for Australian hip hop, but I don't think they are utilizing their fame to the extent that they could be, to get a real message out there.  I can't help but compare them to Bliss n Eso who have risen to about their level of popularity and influence, and they have brought so much more to the table, lyrically and for entertainment value at their shows.  It's like Hilltop waved their arms around and got everyone's attention, but then as soon as we thought they were going to say something profound, they just made a fart joke instead. (I'm probably going to get crap for this.) 

17th August -Rapaport "Patterns" mix tape launch @ Good God Smallclub, Sydney
Killer beats, mad rapping, dope freestyle, and too many patterns.....  grimy as fuck.
Raport is comfortable on stage, always on point, has a sick flow with a unique voice and is the head of an amazingly talented crew- he couldn't be happier. Look out for Big Village cause they are doing BiG Things.  If you haven't already (and I don't see why you wouldn't have) check out the album Big Things Vol. 2 which is a collaborative effort by the whole label. A whole lot of talented people banding together to do what they love and get it to us by the simplest means possible. Tour coming soon, can't wait to see the whole crew on stage.

19th August -Broken Thought Theory (and friends) @ Brighton Up Bar - I went to a charity event at Brighton Up Bar on a Sunday.  I basically went to see Broken Thought Theory but had the treat of seeing Madam Wu and Elise Graham perform before them and I was inspired.  It's pretty rare to see all girl hip hop acts.  Broken Thought Theory put on an excellent show as usual.  This was only my second time seeing them perform but there is something very comfortable about their performance for me.  When I hear the songs, I feel like I already know them, even when I haven't heard them before.  And not because they sound like everyone else, but more like a sense of déjà vu, remembering something that hasn't happened yet.  Which is probably how you'll feel when you hear these emcees: State Advanced, Ear-Relevant, and Skase Ak.  They are three of the dopest emcees you haven't heard of yet.  And they are so happy and look like they are having so much fun on the stage together, it makes me literally want to join them.

Now I'd like to take you back in time a bit further to....

7th July -Last Kinection & Daily Meds @ The Annandale Hotel
Kathy and I: rockin' the spot..
I have to go back and mention the Daily Meds and Last Kinection gig on the 7th of July- This one sticks out in my mind above all the others lately.  And not just because someone was giving away free money, although the irony was not lost on band members and crowd members alike when Mikoen sang the lyrics, "hey you in the suit and tie acting like you're the man/ we're not impressed by your money sonny/ none of us care/ so put your wallet back in your pocket..." from the song "Hey You" just as a random that had jumped on stage pulled out his wallet and showered the front row with a cloud of fifties, twenties, and ten dollar notes.  Mik stumbled his lyrics and crowd members started at red, yellow, and blue pieces of paper for a moment not sure if they were real.  The timing, if planned was dead strange.  If unplanned, turns out it was just as strange.   A lot of people simply missed it as they were so caught up in the music, which is right where you want to be anyway.  And that alone says a lot about how great the Daily Meds performance is, if it can distract people from cash being waved around in front of them. 

This was the first time I got the pleasure of experiencing either of these groups lives. They are respectful enough of each other to call the show a "double headliner."  They both brought mass amounts of energy to the stage and the crowd was right there animated and pumped up to the max.  This gig was everything a hip hop show should be.  There was a lot of love in the crowd, both for the music, and for the other fans.  Everyone just knew, if you were here, you know what's up, and you definitely know what good music is.  Last Kinection are unique and soulful.  Their lyrics are powerfully political and something that every one of us needs to listen up to.  We need more indiginous Australians a part of this culture. They are a piece to the puzzle that we could all learn from.  Daily Meds just burst onto the stage with insane amounts of energy, commanding your attention .  Their quality beats make it almost impossible not to dance, and their lyrics are ones that command your attention, no soft pop songs here. 

And this weekend is Illy with support from Jackie Onassis, Skryptcha, and my good buddy Elemont.  Check him out below, kid's got killer flow.

Spaceport One - facebook page 
Thundamentals - get tickets to their upcoming "Get Busy" tour and other news
Broken Thought Theory FREE EP download - check out the merch too, good stuff
State Advanced- check this out, top hip hop artist on Triple J Unearthed, you will get hooked.

Broken Thought Theory- Hand to Hand Motion

Tweet me @rainmaintics / @dailymeds / @jackieonassis / @skryptcha / @briggs / @horrorshowcrew / @hilltophoods / @thundamentals / @mantra / @dialectrix / @illyal / @lastkinection / @elemontofficial

Always on the grind.
Love, Jen

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