Photography - Mark Francesca, Six Strings Photography
Heading to Downsyde’s 'The Call ‘Em Up' Perth leg of the tour, I was trying to think of any Hip Hop shows I’ve seen at The Indian Ocean Hotel. In all my years of catching shows at the Indi Bar I can honestly say a Hip Hop act has never been on that list. It seemed only fitting that ground-breaking group Downsyde tore down any preconceptions of the establishment and turned the Indi into its own gritty Hip Hop club for one night.
With a solid line up, MC Ambition was the first act on the bill and from the opening track she had the crowd engaged. Between an acapella performance and the crowd favourite 'Craving', she showed her range and was a great opening act.
Tye was on the decks dropping some bangers between sets. He was silenced by the booming voice of Skulka who did an amazing job hyping the crowd all night.
As the lights dimmed Smithy took to the stage with deeply personal tracks like 'From The Heart' taking the crowd with him on his lyrical journey. Dstrukt joined him on stage as he finished his set with the party anthem 'Rhonda Rowdy' that got the crowd, well rowdy!
Fly Trap Mafia showcased their crew with a great array of acts. Kicking it off was K Tha Sovereign whose showmanship included jumping off stage and spitting bars to his track 'Lions Den' with the crowd. Coerce upped the ante with his pure flow and clever lyrics on 'Gas Station', not to be outdone Penny Purr brought it with her track 'Creeping' that had the crowd moving. Penny Purr and Coerce joined forces for 'Tequila Floor' which was a nice way to finish off a solid set.
Seasta Chani & The Twilight Heist chilled the room and inflicted a party vibe. With a mid-set statement addressing misogynism in Hip Hop, they finished their set with 'Hip Hop Needs Us'. Rob Shaker then took over the decks and infused some absolute gems between sets.
Omac was joined by Mysc for a great version of 'Red Eye Fligh', Dekstah then hopped on stage as the trio perfomed their final song 'Shoulda Shoulda'.
After a stellar performance at this year’s RTR Fm’s In The Pines, Flewnt was joined on stage by Tani Walker for 'Black Boy', Yazza and Flewnt tore it up on 'Catch Me' and 'Kya Kyana' had the crowd in a frenzy celebrating indigenous culture through song.
With the little voice that Skulka had left, he introduced Downsyde to an eager crowd. Original members Optamus and Dazastah have recently been joined by Beni Bjah which gives this trio a great new sound. Dazastah who mcs and plays drum at the same time is world class. This live band sound really gives Downsyde an amazing feel in concert and with Optamus leading the charge, you can’t go wrong.
With an early surprise, Drapht joined the boys on stage going back to 2004 with 'To Tha Stumps' that had the whole venue jumping, followed by Beni Bjah’s mid set rendition of 'Survior' was a standout.
As the guitar riff to 'Call' started the crowd went nuts. It’s clear from this new single that Downsyde aren’t going to sit back and watch political issues unfold as they call out Scott Morrison on his handling of the recent bushfires.
And just like that the night was done. With so much talent on show it’s going to be hard for the Indi Bar not to have a regular Hip Hop act now. It was a diverse line up and every MC really brought a different element to the night.
Reviewer - Mark Francesca