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DIZZEE RASCAL @ Chevron Gardens gets 8/10

Dizzee Rascal @ Chevron Gardens
Saturday, February 17, 2018


Bangers: That’s what Perth Festival promised for the 2018 season of Chevron Gardens program. Without a doubt, bangers is what we got.


The dancefloor filled early, with DJ NDORSE (aka Nic Owen of The Brow) bringing the party vibes to an already excited crowd. Blending old skool and contemporary soul, funk, hip hop and urban favourites into a mashup set accompanied by some clever VJ visuals, while it got overly cheesy and commercial at times, ranging Eminem to Estelle, the crowd lapped it up, singing along and clearly enjoying the nostalgia.

Having sold out months earlier, the Gardens amphitheatre stage filled shoulder-to-shoulder for the main event. Opening with Space, Dizzee Rascal (born Dylan Kwabena Mills) and MC Big Man Scope jumped onto the stage in a burst of energy and hype.

Dizzee Rascal

New album, Raskit (2017), dominated the set with Ghost, Make It Last, Jezebel and The Other Side all leaving their mark early. Deep cuts going back to 2002 for I LUV U and Stop Dat, from debut album Boy In Da Corner, showed that the first half of the set was for serious fans.

It wasn’t until about 10 tracks in that the big hits appeared with signature tune Jus’ A Rascal welcomed by a thousand cheers. Keen to keep the momentum going, Dizzee and Scope engaged the audience in a bit of friendly left-to-right competition screaming “fuck that side!”, laughing all the while that it was “worth the 28 hours it took to get here”. Clearly appreciative of the audience’s enthusiasm, they rewarded them with Fix Up, Look Sharp and had people singing along to the hook sample from The Big Beat (by Billy Squier), and ending with DJ MK showing off his scratching skills.

The mood changed with a return to Raskit. The Rascal urged the crowd to stay with him for Business Man and Bop N Keep It Dippin, but unfortunately, the crowd didn’t take heed and there was a noticeable thinning out as people used the unfamiliar tunes for a break. Confusingly, there was a prompt to check out the “crazy video” for the latter, but whether there was a technical glitch or an intentional omission, the screen remained vacant.

Dizzee Rascal

But all wasn’t lost. Admitting that it needed to “get a bit heavy”, the stage was lit up by red beams thrown from the huge lighting rigs either side of the stage and jets of smoke blasted the front for Chase & Status collaboration Heavy, turning things up to a ten.

From here on, it was a home run of hits. The middle of the dancefloor was cleared to make room for “the bass” and when Bassline Junkie dropped, the whole venue bounced. A shout out to the ladies of the room for Dance Wiv Me, followed with the finale waving “hey ho” for Holiday, ended the main set on a big finish.

Not yet satisfied, the crowd chanted for one more song: Bonkers. They soon returned to the stage only to announce that they had gone over time and thanked everyone for coming out. The disappointment only lasted a few seconds before Dizzee admitted “ah, I’m just fucking with ya”. Certainly the biggest track of the night, the excess of smoke jets, a Whoomp! (There It Is) mashup and a huge throbbing crowd gave the camera-happy Dizzee Rascal “something for Insta” as he captured the moment on his phone, while the crowd threw their hands up in a peace sign as a salute and united farewell.

Dizzee Rascal

It was a happy and sweaty throng that spilled back out to the Garden Stage, where the night continued late at the after party with garage and dubby tunes courtesy of RTRFM veterans Rok Riley & Wil Bixler.

For a festival that year-after-year hosts a suite of Gen-X flashbacks, world music icons and indie darlings, the booking of grime pioneer Dizzee Rascal saw them taking a chance. But it worked. The crowds came, the bass was loud and, most importantly, the bangers were epic.


Photos by Matsu Photography

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