The Oz Soul Collective launched its first Sydney showcase earlier this month which saw an array of Aussie talent. The night ranged from a versatility of soul music which included a hint of jazz, funk, hip hop and reggae infusions. The notion of competitive artists was absent as it was evident that they supported each other and the movement which is the essence of the Oz Soul Collective. People connected and the buzz continued long after that night - speaking for myself at least.
I arrived at Tone just before the clock struck 6 anticipating that the show may have already started. However, upon arrival I hadn’t seen a single soul except one lady standing outside. It happened to be SYRENEYISCREAMY who ensured that I was at the right place. They were just running a little overtime. Regardless still I was left in a state of euphoria throughout the entire night.
The show finally commenced as the venue started to fill. Here we saw a diversity of artists with an affluence of talent in one venue at the same time. It was evident that much more work and money has been put into it far beyond the ticket price. But you could see all the heart that was put into this to make this night happen. During the show, it was then that I realised that the more I dig deep the more gold actually exists. Thus, most importantly, a necessity for more support and nurturing of our Aussie artists – hence the very essence of the Oz Soul Collective.
The warm ambience at Tone set the mood for the rest of the evening where the audience was serenaded between two stages facing adjacently – bodies and heads shifted back and forth between sets. As much as it was like playing ping pong trying to reposition oneself at the front of each stage, it was quite a creative set-up which ensured that everyone had a fair share of the gold. The night entailed a fusion of ‘soul’ artists from Sydney and Melbourne and a heap of live funky tunes.
Billie McCarthy was first up on the bill. She astounded me throughout her set especially with the quite sassy song “Jealous”. The audience received her well as she warmed up the start of an epic night. Mirrah and Lotek maintained their professionalism interchanging between alter egos as co-hosts and emceeing some of their own material in between sets. Mirrah’s energy and enthusiasm was contagious. She is a highly articulated artist that has a strong boldness and a sense of selflessness in her lyricism. I am quite familiar and fond of Lotek’s music which has an infusion of reggae, hip-hop and dub. It was awesome to see “The Rudest Dude” perform live for the first time.
I thought I knew my hip hop but after hearing Cazeaux O.S.L.O. I realised I’ve been missing out on this my whole life and as they say “better late than never!”. He takes you into his world through his strong demeanor and deep lyricism. Milan from The Love Drug surprised me with her solo set as I’ve only ever seen her perform as part of the band with ALPHAMAMA. She’s eloquent and seemed to marry well with her guitar. Ella Thompson sang beautifully which created a serene vibe and oozed confidence throughout. The elegant Candice Monique was impressive as sang brilliantly with confidence. This was evident through her perfect poise, confident tone of voice and eloquence in her music.
ALPHAMAMA and The Love Drug continued to set the crowd off with their soulful slash reggae tunes and funky style. I saw them perform the previous week for the first time and I was looking forward to seeing them perform again as their music and energy is addictive. Ngaiire collaborated with ALPHAMAMA as they performed one of my recent favourites the catchy and funky “Bad Appel”. Ngaiire seems to be featured on various songs by various artists and it was evident that she is good at what she does. However, there was a sense of individualism as she performed some of her own music alongside the vivacious Marcello on keys.
Danny G Felix Project funked up the night with their set, I couldn’t contain myself as they had some magic about them. Radical Son swept me off my feet with his deep and soulful voice. I must admit initially he did appear a little eerie with those shades on, thus the serious facials, but all that changed as he started to sing and he had such a magnetic appeal. Darryl Beaton ensured that the audience didn’t sit still throughout his set. DJ MzRizk played some of the meanest old school, soul and funk tracks.
Finally for those that stuck around towards the end of the night, Jade MacRae had performed an impressive set. It was humbling for Jade to perform in the underground scene with her friends in the biz, dressed in casual attire, funky curls extended from all directions and a confidence in her voice. I have heard some good things about the final acts but unfortunately (and regretfully) I couldn’t be there to witness that.
It was like one big family where everyone involved had ensured that the audience were accomodated and felt at home. By the end of the night, the hairs on my skin have definitely been raised. Oz Soul Collective’s first Sydney launch would have to be the best homegrown gig I have ever been to this year and the diversity and the individualism of each artist was embraced and encouraged by all. They have definitely gone beyond boundaries and I forsee that this is only the alpha of a shift in the music industry which will be seen at national and international levels.
Definitely looking forward to the next one!
For more information on the Oz Soul Collective and the artists check out www.ozsoulcollective.com