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A.B. ORIGINAL @ Chevron Gardens gets 9/10

A.B. Original @ Chevron Gardens
w/ Downsyde, DJ Total Eclipse
Saturday, February 24, 2018


The passion in the audience was so fervent you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the throes of Beatlemania. In reality, the passion stemmed from the profound and powerful music of A.B. Original and their support Downsyde, who played Chevron Gardens last Saturday.

Upon arrival it was clear what sort of night we’d be in for. Punters from all walks of life donned Black Lives Matter and Midnight Oil tees and chatted politics on their bar stools. This wasn’t going to be just any gig.

As Downsyde hit the stage, the mood was immediately energetic. New recruit Beni Bjah slotted in seamlessly with Optamus and Dazastah; you’d have thought he’d been a member since day one. The trio had boundless energy as they belted out both the new and old. Classic favourites such as Fortune and Fame and Master MC went down a treat, while new tracks like Back In The Game got everyone just as hyped. Shout outs to the Syllabolix crew were frequent and always met with applause; a testament to the family-like nature of the Perth hip hop scene. Further proof of that was demonstrated as local friends were invited up to contribute on multiple songs. To summarise, the promoters were spot on in choosing them to open; if the crowd weren’t amped before, they sure were after Downsyde walked off stage.

A.B. Original

A short intermission saw a projection of A.B. Original’s take on the Aboriginal flag fill the backdrop, as red light lit up the water tank decor on either side of the stage. DJ Total Eclipse preceded the set with a brief spin of the decks. Rather than sulking through the longer wait for the main act, the audience jumped and fist-pumped along.

Briggs and Trials were in fine form. The passion and pride shone through in every song, from Dead In A Minute to 2 Black 2 Strong to the crowd favourite January 26. Briggs triggered many a laugh when he spoke to a nine-year-old boy in the front row, telling him “You’re gonna learn a lot of new words tonight, you’re gonna be the coolest kid in the playground.” More friends including Caiti Baker and Georgia Maq from Camp Cope joined the party to provide the chorus for A.B.’s cover of Dumb Things, cementing the fact that an A.B. gig is never really just A.B.

A.B. Original

Amongst the fun and games there were messages to be heard, with the pair declaring “We’re gonna give every one of you something to talk about in the car tonight,” before launching into tracks discussing the likes of police brutality, cultural pride and racially-motivated fear. Chants such as “no justice, no peace” and of course, “too black, too strong” spawned raised fists and a bellowing crowd, full of people who recognised the power and strength of Indigenous Australians.

The energy was unlike anything I’d felt; this was more than just a musical show but a demonstration of resistance to a society which has discriminated by race for far too long. An audience of over one thousand people all shared in their passion for equality and change through artistic expression, and it was overwhelmingly beautiful. It left me hoping that events such as this were only the beginning of a wider upheaval.


Photos by Matsu Photography

A.B. Original
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