The last time I properly remember Spit Syndicate coming through Adelaide was maybe in 2012. Playing to a handful of people on a Thursday night at then-metal bar Enigma, the fans who had deigned to leave their houses on a weeknight to see the Sydney rappers (plus Joyride on decks) do their thing got a great show. The poor attendance though, had me thinking they’d probably not venture back; at the very least, not until fans had proved their worth.
It’s a fair point, really. Touring is expensive and Adelaide has long had a stigma hanging over its head as being a hard city to sell. It’s a real shame, but one we’ve dealt with nonetheless. Anyway, fast forward over the next few years and with the emergence of the One Day crew as being one of the most popular party starting hip hop crews in the country, Nick Lupi and Jimmy Nice definitely found themselves more fans as a result. Deservedly so, too.
Supported by Adelaide duo NVSTY MILITIA, it was clear that the sold-out Rocket Bar crowd was going to be turning out early for this one and they were ready to get around it. The hometown love was strong for NVSTY MILITIA from the beginning to end of their set and it was fascinating to watch. I’d only heard the name thrown around in conversation before tonight (they debuted on stage supporting Allday earlier this year), but to watch them onstage here, you’d be mistaken for thinking they’ve been doing the rounds for much longer.
Heavy on the ‘turn up’ jams, the crew had the audience jumping and hooked on each spat rhyme. It’ll be an interesting 2016 for these guys – their style of performance is incredibly marketable and no doubt will hit different pockets of the genre’s fans around the country in all the right places over time.
As the stage was reset for Spit Syndicate’s set, the first thing to notice was the addition of a keyboard and guitar. The concept of seeing how the SS live show could be fleshed out was an exciting one, particularly knowing how long they’ve been working on their new album for. Since 2013’s Sunday Gentlemen we haven’t had a full-length Spit Syndicate studio release (not counting One Day’s Mainline record or the recent Best Intentions Part 2 mixtape), so fair to say, expectations were high surrounding the duo’s return to the stage in a headline capacity.
From the onset, you could tell that the love in the room was definitely mutual and the appreciation for not only the artists up on stage, but for the packed out dance floor below, was reciprocal. As Spit Syndicate wound their way through a set of material that included favourites and new material, the crowd remained relentless in their response; this wasn’t just a standard ‘call and response’ set, the crowd was hungry for some hip hop out of Sydney’s inner west and Spit Syndicate delivered.
Joints were blazed up and passed round, shots were being thrown back and people were just having a good time. On stage, the group looked mildly bewildered as weed smoke filled the air, favourably commenting on Adelaide’s ability to drink in venues until the early hours and evidently, have more fun than those in Sydney at present.
The onstage dynamic between Lupi and Jimmy Nice remains as electric as ever; they back each other up and support as much as they let one another step up and take the spotlight. The banter is kept to a relative minimum, the focus steadily centred on not dropping the flow. Jono and Vinny on guitar and keys respectively, threw in an extra dimension during the show as well and while the show as a live unit definitely still has room to fully flourish and explode, this new set up works incredibly well for Spit Syndicate.
New tunes “Inhibitions” and of course, their latest single “Know Better”, drew strong reactions from the crowd, throwing middle fingers up in the air during the latter and singing the lyrics back passionately. Cutting through the usual stage departure-encore-return bullshit, the boys remained on stage and instead brought things home with a rendition of “Love Me Less”.
During the headline set, Lupi told the crowd that Adelaide would definitely be getting a One Day Sunday event of its own in the near future, which brought resounding applause. Fingers crossed the love continues to extend to other local hip hop artists out there on their grind – the support that’s generated for the One Day crew hasn’t been an overnight spark; Spit Syndicate are a perfect example of hard work paying off.
Keep an eye out.