16 June, ANU Bar
In what has been a live music institution for Canberra, ANU Bar is sadly into its final days before being demolished and it closes out with three big gigs. The previous night saw Bliss N Eso sell out the venue and tonight, Horrorshow did the same.
The local lad that has been making waves in the hip hop scene lately is Turquoise Prince (formerly LTC, also known as Teon Lolesio). His live presence is full of bravado and charisma and he delivers vocals with a mix of melody and rap. It’s a sweet combo. There’s an air of confidence with this young MC. Lolesio takes the time to address the growing crowd between each song, giving us a chance to connect and appreciate his vibe. Singles Worlds Apart and Next In Line are recognisable favourites, but Bangers ‘N’ Mash lives up to its name and final track LTC is a killer tune that we hope will be released. Turquoise Prince leaves the stage to his now familiar catch cry of “LTC, get it in ya!” Make sure you do.
Hailing from New Zealand, David Dallas is no stranger to the stage. Formally part of hip hop duo Frontline, he ditched to moniker Con Psy and went solo over eight years ago, going on to win Best Male Solo Artist and Best Urban/Hip Hop Album in 2014 at the NZ Music Awards.
His inclusion on this tour is a breath of fresh air, as he throws his smooth raps over downbeat jams, plus delivering his cheeky Kiwi wit to a welcoming crowd. It may be the first time a lot of us have seen Dallas, but we’re hoping it won’t be the last. We are treated to a Friday anthem, which we all needed before Made A Name, the last track from his new album, Hood Country Club and, of course, the obligatory verse from Scribe’s Not Many, who gave him a big push when featured as a remix in 2004. Get onto that NZ vibe.
To the keyboard refrain of Dead Star Shine, MC Solo takes to the stage. He is joined on this tour by Freddy Crabs (Sticky Fingers) on keys, Dane Connor on drums and of course Adit (Gauchan), standing over them all on the decks like the grand conductor he is.
A Horrorshow set is a journey; each one takes us on a path through their catalogue, now boasting four amazing albums. Tonight we would be treated to a swathe of tracks from their latest, Bardo State. It’s an album that features a mix of dance, retrospect and politics, all elements that significantly identify the duo.
But the old stuff gets a go too; from their debut album, The Grey Space, we are treated to No Rides Left; from Inside Story ,we get Walk You Home, but the new songs are really bouncing tonight. How We Get Down gives us a glimpse into the life of being in the One Day troupe and damn, it sounds fun.
Wasteland goes huge with Turquoise Prince returning to the stage and looking equally as comfortable in front of a sold-out room as earlier. The guests don’t stop there, however. Canberra is the perfect location to play Ceiling Fan, a deeply political track inspired by the Trumpist era we find ourselves in. He may hail from just over the border in Queanbeyan, but Omar Musa receives a huge pop from the crowd as he delivers his scathing verse.
It always comes back to Solo, though. His control of the audience is masterful. He knows when to bring us up, calm us down, make us bounce, make us cry, make us smile and make us sing. His vocal is perfect tonight and we are treated to both Like A Versions the group have created. Can I Kick It / Walk On The Wild Side gives us the ultimate chance to reply whilst the most recent cover of The Whitlams’ No Aphrodisiac is a set favourite.
Latest single, Eat The Cake makes us dance hungrily but Cherry Blossom is surely the next one off the rack. The album highlight has the crowd reciting the chorus loudly.
We demand one more song and are treated to The Rain, the song that exemplifies what makes Horrorshow so great. With Crabs on keys, layered over Adit’s beats backed up by the live drums, this track sounds better live than it ever has. We bounce like crazy at the drop and scream out the lyrics, “… it’ll all wash away in the rain…” If any of us were having a shitty day, we no longer were.
On the eve of their huge hometown Enmore Theatre show, Horrorshow are at the peak of their game and are not to be missed live.