GOLDLINK @ Villa gets 6.5/10

GOLDLINK @ Villa Nightclub
w/ Swell
Thursday, March 29, 2018


I remember my first gig at Villa in a seemingly underground music scene on the Easter weekend of 2013. Fast forward five years and although the layout felt familiar, that’s about all that was familiar. There was a new breed of people, a new herd interested in a different type of scene. It seems more and more recently that it’s out with the EDM (all encompassing) and in with this new hip-hop/ rap/ funk-soul bounce scene. It’s Kaytranada, it’s Anderson .Paak, it’s Vince Staples and Smino – artists who aren’t particularly on high rotation on commercial radio but they’re still selling out venues across Australia. Goldlink therefore, was easily sold out two and half months prior so purely for journalistic purposes we had to get in on that jazzy action.

Opening up the night and as the only support, Swell was on vinyls spinning some real elusive caramel smooth tracks. He was striking the perfect temperament between background music and piquing the attention of punters. It was more dance and eclectic than what was to follow but by 11 the place was rammed in classic Villa style. Sweaty, people overhanging balconies like animals, and the feeling of being constantly surrounded.

Stepping out in a orange turtle neck the first thing that came to mind was how much Goldlink would be sweating, if he wasn’t already. But it’s almost about the look as much as it is about the music with artists like this. Starting out like we were in a 90s breakdance battle Hands On Your Knees gave the whole crowd enough energy to begin a riot. In corners of the club kids were crumping their little hearts out in hot circles attempting ‘Milly Rock’ maneuvers whilst girls were screaming the lyrics “… And oh baby/ Don’t call me, don’t call me no more” to Rough Soul.

He had such a presence, he moved well, he looked good, he attended to the audience but there was nothing exceptionally earth shattering. He sang and rapped about women and black women and sex with women and looking for women and loving women and I guess the people knew what they were coming for but it’s like the wise words of Dr. Kanye West: “Do anybody make real shit anymore?” I guess this feeling of authenticity was further compacted by the fact that we relied solely on those backing tracks. A little soul band or even a brass instrument or two would’ve separated this gig from a rapper on the mic and into something real special. Maybe that’s what we can hope he’s aiming towards next.

This nasty, sexy lounge vibe continued on through Spectrum and Kokomoe which brought it up a few notches and finished almost exactly an hour in with Crew going down like a treat moist and spent. Then the room flooded out as soon as that last note signalled.

Words and photos by