Hilltop Hoods are as iconic to South Australians as Farmers Union Iced Coffee and the Coopers brewery. Looking around the Adelaide Entertainment Centre tonight, it’s amazing to see feel the love and good vibes that the crowd have for the trio; I’m stood next to people who claim to have been at Blackwood High with Suffa and Pressure, while just further down from me, there’s a couple who are here who haven’t seen the two MCs since they worked for their establishment when they were teenagers. There’s definitely a ‘hometown’ atmosphere in amongst the under-agers sculling vodkas and the families who’ve turned up with little kids in tow and from the onset, there’s great potential for tonight’s show to get rowdy.
One thing that’s always been admirable about the Hoods is their constant support of the local hip-hop scene and tonight’s line-up of support acts was testament to this. First up, performing to an already thousand-odd strong crowd is local MC Koolta. The performer is comfortable on such a big stage and instantly connects with the crowd who hung on to each note. Koolta reminds me of Illy in a way, his rhymes are fun and easy to catch on to and he’s got such an affable stage persona that it’s hard not to enjoy watching him. Following on from this successful opener is Briggs, member of the Golden Era family and crowd favourite. I’d never seen the rapper perform before tonight, but by the end of the set I definitely realised I’d seen a man who definitely one of the best we’ve got going at the moment. The power behind Briggs’ voice is undeniable and even if you’re not the biggest rap fan, you can’t fault the man on his performances. He bantered with the fans and performed an awesome rendition of his latest track “Rather Be Dead”; Briggs is definitely an artist you need to see live to fully appreciate.
Getting down to the business end of the night, the packed out Entertainment Centre was treated to the stylings of Sydney’s Horrorshow. Another act I hadn’t seen before tonight, the duo did well despite apparently still feeling the effects of jet lag (they’d been touring with the Hoods through Europe). Powering through their hits and some new material, Horrorshow lapped up the immense amounts of love being thrown their way by the crowd. Solo and Adit are a brilliant team, delivering the lyrics and beats without falling out of sync once; it’s clear to see why these guys are gaining such a good reputation for their live shows as they clearly know how to make shows as big as the one tonight feel intimate and personal, regardless. Both Solo and Adit seemed genuinely taken aback by the fact that so many of their fans are in attendance and invited them to come say hello at the merch desk following their performance – something you wouldn’t usually see at a venue such as this. I need to go educate myself on Horrorshow’s catalogue, I felt like I was missing out on a lot of the sing-alongs tonight!
In the short lead up to the headlining set, signs of crowd weariness were beginning to show. A woman who was accompanying her teenage daughters was now rocking back and forth on the ground next to me because she’d had one too many wines and there were teenagers all around me drunkenly and messily hooking up; considering this was the first time I was seeing the Hoods in this capacity and also the first time I was seeing them completely sober, I was wanting the trio to get onstage desperately by this point. It wasn’t long before a recorded intro was played out via the two screens on either side of the stage and Suffa’s first demand of the crowd, ‘If you like heavy metal music, put your hands in the air’, caused arms everywhere to be raised before an explosive rendition of “Good For Nothing” took over. I’ve seen the group perform a few times now and they’re always fun; with the addition of One Above on keys and Plutonic Lab on drums, Hilltop Hoods took their live show up another level and delivered a set which was relentless. “Chase That Feeling” and “The Nosebleed Section” were crowd favourites as always, and “The Hard Road” proved that the crowd didn’t need to be asked to participate, with the Hoods restarting the song purely because they lost where they were due to listening to everyone sing on their own!
Songs from their smash hit of a record, Drinking From The Sun, went down effortlessly well with the audience, whether it was “I Love It” or the more poignant performances of “Shredding The Balloon” and “Speaking in Tongues”. There’s no doubt that the amount of work these guys have been doing over the past however many years has been leading up to this point in their careers; the Hoods are now an internationally-loved act as well as one of our strongest touring hip-hop groups and going off the reception they received tonight, it’s a level of momentum that isn’t likely to recede any time soon.