Urthboy and Chasm @ Hopetoun, Fri 12th Nov 2004

Posted by walking rek on Nov 12, 2004 in dancing rek, my ears are expensive |

Australian Hip Hop. It seems to be all about the lyrics. The message is clearly one of a disillusioned youth grumpy with our nations political agenda. These word beat artists are clever enough to weave a coherent and logical argument, but is the social consciousness of Australian MC’s forgetting the other vital elements of hip-hop music…bounce and groove?

Tonight we gathered round at the Hopetoun to support some familiar faces and give props to the new. I was disappointed that Hermitude did not appear on the set-list and then suffered another devastating blow with the announcement that the beer taps were offline all night. This wasn’t on the flyer! The acoustics at the Hoey are notorious for being tricky but on this occasion the room sounded just right despite some boorish mic technique early on in the evening.

We caught the tail end of the Living Dead Dudes who didn’t really do much besides bellow along to some gloomy loops. I sincerely hope their earlier numbers were more polished because there is not much worse then an MC who bumbles loudly and incoherently through lyrics. The assembly of punters seemed stunned into silence and paralysis throughout this display and a few snuck out to escape the din.

The Awakenings Crew out of Melbourne delivered some enthusiastic stage antics and a handful of witticisms in what turned out to be a two part set spread out over the night. MC’s Hykoo and Mantra managed their mics with practiced ease and played around with some call and response vocal arrangements that worked well. DJ El Gasto accompanied the duo with some crafty scratching but it took the audience a while to warm up, and even then we had to be bribed with the promise of free merchandise. The high light of this set was the Ode to the Middy, an (almost) improvised ditty backed up by the bounciest ragga groove all night.

The host of the night Scott Burns dropped in to say hi and had a burst on the mic with “Hip Hop Slash R and B” a light hearted exploration of a serious issue. He introduced Chasm, DJ and producer, who provided the back beats for the rest of the night. The musical colours varied between dark and brooding, heavy orchestral tones that seemed a little too melodramatic to me: there were a few moments of rubber groove that demanded attention, but for the most part the lyricists had the lime light.

Urthboy was the act most people were waiting for. This MC earned his stripes with The Herd and delivered more of his signature catalystic verse tonite. Urthboy’s mission seems to be to educate his audience through themes of politics: his eloquent attacks on the status quo touched on many burning issues of Australian society today. His audience lapped it up, nodding in agreement: there could be no doubt that these kids are the well informed minority of hip-hop culture in this country – I bet every one of them voiced their vote on Election Day. This was a heartening sight, and gives me hope for our future. The set was intellectual and opinionated with plenty of food for thought, but lacked any real interesting musical elements. I wonder if the music had been as well thought through as the message then perhaps the important voice of Urthboy and his contemporaries would reach a wider audience.


Copyright © 2024 walking rek All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.