Left – Ladi6. Cover – Home Brew
It was “homie” night out for Kiwis at the Chevron Festival Gardens.
Home Brew took the stage bang on 8.00pm. With classic rapper gear (baggy shorts, baggy shirts, t shirts and caps) they looked and sounded like L.A. dudes.
Initially they performed to a small but enthusiastic, youthful crowd who stood clustered by the stage. However as the show moved on the audience grew sizeably. Perhaps rap fans have an elastic attitude to punctuality. Some of the backing music had at reggae rhythm to it, so that may account for a “drift in” audience phenomenon. Contrasting this was the work of the three lead artists who spoke/ sang their lyrics with verve and intensity. The band was two guitars, keyboard and drums and the volume was big.
Kicking off with crowd favourite Alcoholic, they made business with the Hennessy bottle and plastic cups of liquid fortification. This drew approval and one-armed salutes from the mosh pit.
I was reminded of an article in today’s West Australian newspaper lauding the inclusion of hip-hop dance in the curriculum of a high school plagued by absenteeism. It has boosted school attendance by thirty per cent and lead to a huge improvement in student morale. This comfortable sense of belonging was exactly what pervaded the, by now, dancing crowd.
The three rapping provocateurs Haz, Tom and Lui. worked the stage keeping up a wild word flow. Money, a cautionary tale about the dangers of filthy lucre splitting up friends, was well received. Other storylines featured were urban despair, the loss of love to casual sex and marijuana smoking, accompanied by spliff passing onstage (with a lot of smoke blowing effects). The technicolour lighting effects were good. The well pleased fans delivered cheers and huge applause, which drew an encore from the crew.
It is easy to see how Ladi6 has drawn a massive following. Alluringly clad in sculpted folds of black jersey and initially sporting what appeared to be Maori inspired feather cape she was a mesmerizing presence. Heralded by an electronic beat and sirens she commandeered the stage. People Talking. was, as with all her numbers, underlined with bold theatrical explanatory arm gestures The raven haired beauty growled encouragement into the microphone.”Love is in the house. Say yes!” and they did!
Ladi was accompanied by a tight musical unit. DJ Parks who produced fabulously varied sounds on keyboard/synthesizer, and Julian Dunne, slick on drums. Together they created a driving beat and displayed clever solo riffs.
Her song themes of trusting yourself and your instincts hold huge appeal. Automatic explored this self-empowerment. Bang Bang had crowd clapping. Like Water was another highlight.
Parks charmed and flattered the crowd with the efforts the band had made to get to the festival; fourteen hours on the plane!
We were treated to a “special” encore, the enormously popular Diamond. Once invited, the punters joined in with alacrity making diamond shapes with their hands in the air.
Ladi6 cannot easily be labelled. There are hip-hop, soul and R&B influences at work here. A meld creating providing excellent entertainment.
Perth Festival 2014
Ladi6 + Home Brew
Venue: Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth
Date: 13 February, 2014
Tickets: $35 – $40