Photo Credit: Prudence Upton
You wouldn’t think of the Sydney Opera House as a venue for an underground hip-hop party on a Sunday night, but that’s what Elefant Traks brought to the Studio as part of Vivid Festival this weekend. The Sydney-based record label presented a mix of live performances and DJ sets from old school to original hip-hop, which gave the night a sort of festival feel… crowd members holding GoPros and wearing felt hats contributing to that.
DJ MK-1 was on the DJ decks in between live acts and his set ranged from hip-hop (“Rapper’s Delight”) to salsa beats (yes, there were some people trying to salsa) and plenty of tunes direct from your secret Spotify playlist (‘Work It,’ ‘In Da Club,’ ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’) The crowd was of mixed ages so he seemed to keep everyone happy. And the fully decked out lighting of the Opera House Studio only added to the atmosphere.
Then we got a taste of original hip-hop from L-Fresh The LION, the Sydney-based rapper with unbounded energy who made it feel like we were at some basement party in the US. Shouting “bounce, bounce,” he got fellow Aussie hip-hopper Mirrah on stage and everyone put their hands up (again, remember this is about 9pm on a Sunday.) He rapped, “I created a world where I’m in my element” and it isn’t hard to believe.
Then big Sydney personality (with a big Vivid Live outfit to match – gold tights and fairy lights wrapped around his face) Joyride took to the stage with his strong vocals. And all throughout he was holding a tiny white wine glass, “I’m a thirsty boy, cheers!” And he had the crowd laughing from the start, “DJs take note, Kelly Clarkson “Since You’ve Been Gone” is a banger. It’s the only track I’ve had such a huge reponse to in years.” Later Joyride took on a more serious note, saying “f*** you” to anyone who is anti-gay marriage or anti-immigration. His set was the same, it started off humorous with One Day track ‘I Eat Pills and F**k Your Girlfriend,’ and then slowed it down for more romantic ballads like ‘Leave Your Windows Open.’
And finally the main event of the night, Jayteehazard (JT) came on with a strong bass-driven mix that changed the Studio into some type of Boiler Room. He was doing a lot of manual work on the decks, I’m not exactly sure what, but he looked focused and it sounded great. His set was mostly instrumental and percussion-driven (reminding me of fellow Elefant Trakers Hermitude) but with samples that got the crowd excited, like Kendrick Lamar’s ‘King Kunta’ into an old school funk track. JT showed us his scratching skills and didn’t touch the mic too much, letting his music speak for itself.
What a fun night… I say we make this a weekly installment!