Henry Kissinger is only the second pure electronic act I’ve seen live since starting this blog (the first being Chunyin), and one of only a handful I’ve written about since, well, ever – as usual, my ability to write about this stuff is limited. Once again though I’m surprised at how much I enjoy watching one hairy – and he admits, deeply stoned – chap hunched over his machines, and manipulating beats and samples.
It turns out I rather like music that inspires vertical movement – while my normal habitat is bands that make you pogo, it appears that I’m not immune to stuff that makes the head nod up and down either, and there’s more than enough bouncy and playful electronics going on here to get both my bonce nodding and the rest of the crowds’ limbs flailing.
See a full photo set of Henry Kissinger here
Mathas ambles on stage at first to soundcheck, which is a huge deal more entertaining when it’s a rapper doing it than when the usual skinny-white-guitar-guy does. Instead of the tedious plucking of strings and slapping of snares, Mathas freestyles through his mic check, requesting both more reverb in the foldback and urging the crowd to look somewhere else and talk amongst themselves. It’s a mini-performance all on its own and gets him applause before his set’s even started.
When it does start, there’s still more warming up to do, literally. He unpacks an actual suitcase that contains music gear and a bar, mixes himself a drink, and does some actual stretching. Perhaps this is common knowledge to more regular visitors to the hip-hop scene, but I had no idea that rapping was a leading cause of hamstring pulls, so it’s good to see Mathas putting safety first.
All that warm-up quickly pays off, and his set is a series of tightly-constructed and verbally dense tracks, narrow and pointy beats propping up deft and rapid-fire delivery. Most of the tracks are telling stories – there’s one about “”your mate””, that involves him taking a telephone call on an actual old-school rotary-dial handset, or the one about (I think) advertising called “”Free Shit””. It’s funny, it’s sharp, it’s opinionated, and it’s delivered at a blistering pace – this might be a hip-hop show, but it’s punk rock enough for me to absolutely love it. Brilliant stuff.
See a full photo set of Mathas here
Koi Child are apparently the WA-based amalgam of a band and a hip-hop trio, but if these two acts ever had separate histories, you’d never be able to tell. The impeccably named Cruz Patterson leads the outfit, stalking the front of the stage and delivering some truly mind-bending linguistic trickery at speeds that make you wish you could pause and rewind him, while behind him a six-piece live band – including, brilliantly, a three-piece horn section – barrel around the worlds of funk and soul with indecent glee.
It’s impossible not to be reminded of the great era of 90s live hip-hop, and in particular The Roots, but occasional forays into rock-ish wigout territory also remind us of when Pharrel’s N*E*R*D went massive with ‘Rock Star’, and that crazy-talented rhyming takes the whole thing in next-stage, super-modern directions, and does it all with a massive grin on its face. By the end of it, after crowd favourites ‘Black Panda’ and ‘Slow One’, the room is pounding up and down and grinning into its drinks like goons – if there’s a party needing starting near you, then these folk are the ones to call.
See a full photo set of Koi Child here