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ARISTOPHANES, L-FRESH THE LION, KUČKA @ Chevron Festival Gardens

170225-Aristophanes_CR-Matsu-Photography-(3)

Aristophanes, L-Fresh the Lion, Kučka @ Chevron Festival Gardens
Friday, February 24, 2017

6/10

That Perth summer heat was making itself known last Friday night at Chevron Festival Gardens arena during the Perth International Arts Festival. Entering the oasis surrounding the pop-up amphitheatre, it was shaping up to be a good night for electronic and hip hop vibes with a lineup of both local and international acts.

Flying in from Sydney and boasting an enviably tight crew, L-Fresh the Lion opened the night with a dedicated level of contagious energy and heartfelt commentary. Leaping into Pray For Me, L-Fresh and MC Mirrah wasted no time in taking the huge stage into their strides, warmly inviting the minimal crowd to join in on the gentle harmonies while L-Fresh effortlessly wound out each verse.  Throwing between the One and Become albums, the set flowed smoothly between reposeful and provoking tunes like Survive and Faithful before switching gears and upping the audio assault with bass heavy tracks 1 in 100,000 and Takeover.

Aristophanes
Aristophanes

Mirrah as ever earned the title of pocket rocket a thousand times over, cavorting animatedly while L-fresh rapped with a purposeful, confident ease. The majority of the straggling crowd present had gathered to the front of stage floor as the trio temporarily inducted everyone into the fold for the always spirited Punjabi Party remix, the practice call of “Balle, Balle Balle” a mark of how much the limited number of punters present had opened up to the charismatic act as L-Fresh commented, “That was alright for Perth, but you’re all Punjab now!”.

Perth electronica songstress Kučka, who in an awkward turn for a support act appeared between the two headliners, lent a mellow blend of ambient samples and near celestial vocals to the night, engaging the amphitheatre from her solitary position at centre stage (her usual band mates Jake Steele and Catlips were inexplicably absent). Picked for her quirky sound and originality, the city location added its own layer to the outro of top single Divinity as emergency sirens echoed along the streets.  Following up with Honey Kučka teetered on platform shoes as she bounced alongside the synth board set up, the shaggy vest from her Unconditional album cover quickly voiced as a “terrible idea” as the heat refused to yield.

Flux 98 reignited recognition with its chiming overtones before a new track titled On My Mind was introduced to the crowd sharing the same fluidly irregular backing beats. Concerns that the self-described “chill” set list may be a bit of a dampener after the explosive energies of the opening act were surprisingly dismissed, instead it was a welcome breather and suitable transition into the experimental genre of the headline act.

Aristophanes
Aristophanes

In time for the release of her Humans Become Machines mixtape, Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes’ set was synonymous with the unconventional. DJ Shortee Blitz kept us entertained from the decks for the first half hour while the headliner herself appeared to linger side of stage causing some confusion amongst punters over the planned set times.  The fans in the crowd were obvious when she did appear, one immediately breaking out into dance while the unacquainted struggled to do anything but spectate the rapid fire mandarin doused in industrial beats as she worked through her No Rush To Leave Dreams EP.

While the flow of the breathy vocals building into urgent verse was undeniable, an inclination toward slam poetry stylings was also clearly apparent as she paused only for a break of sampled chorus line or eclectic shrieks. Her collaboration Scream with Canadian all-star Grimes held the most notoriety before performing the title track Humans Become Machines produced by the same.  It was definitely an interesting set, despite some of crowd opting for an early exit, and although there was an appreciation for the skill levels involved, overall it lacked the extra layer of engagement that had been so present earlier in the night.

STEPH PAYTON

Pics by Matsu Photography

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