original article HERE.
Criminally underrated local act Coalition Crew are the first of four obscenely impressive lists of performers representing three different continents this evening. They deliver a solid set of tight, clever rhymes over golden era-influenced beats and bass.
Bankrupt Billionaires, a recent addition to the local scene, are next up on stage. Their soulful hip hop-influenced sounds pack a hell of a punch. Lead singer Kel Timmons has enough sass and swagger to power a small island nation, and with a little help from Laneous and Hannah Macklin, tonight the Billionaires make a real impact. Recent Triple J unearthed single Daze Of The Dead is a highlight, but their whole show is pretty much start to finish flawless.
Lotek swaggers onto stage suited and booted and backed by Rudekat Sound. By this time the whole evening feels more like an Island Vibes sampler rather than an international headliner show with a few supports. The entire assembly of the Hi-Fi, from the front of the stage to the back of the bar, is dancing and shaking like the world is about to end. Lotek’s ska/funk/soul/reggae-influenced hip hop goes down a treat, with songs like The Rudest Dude and Paid working up plenty of crowd participation.
Chali 2na and his band take the stage a little after 11pm, greeted by a crowd that is soaked in sweat and booze and smiles. His set tonight is framed around the idea of ‘Chali 2na radio’, featuring selections from his solo work and Jurassic 5 interpolated with a bizarrely diverse selection of medley covers. Classic cuts like What’s Golden? and Freedom are satisfyingly brilliant, even without the rest of J5 in tow. The backing band tonight is phenomenal, the keyboardist/vocalist showcasing an impressive falsetto and the seven-string (yes, that’s right SEVEN) bassist really brings the house down. 2na certainly knows a thing or two about crowd participation and has the audience doing everything from clapping to introducing themselves to strangers to playing Simon Says (which turns out to be incredibly fun when played with several hundred people and a live hip hop band). The one problem with the two-hour-long ‘radio show’ format is that it leans a little towards the self-indulgent side, mixing in sections from Rock Lobster and playing a huge selection of little known songs detracts from what could otherwise be a near perfect shorter set. That said, however, when you see a guy crowd surfing in a wheelchair, you know something good is going on.