When we spoke to MC Pressure of the Hilltop Hoods before their current European tour (HERE) and asked him about playing a smaller venue like Bitterzoet, he explained to us “whether it’s 50 people or a few hundred, it doesn’t matter, we’ll still put in the same energy, heart and soul into the show and we’ll rock it out. It’ll be good.”
The only part of this prediction that wasn’t on the money was that ‘it’ll be good’. This wasn’t just good, this was unbelievably good!
Energy, heart and soul are probably 3 of the best words that you could use to describe this show by the Aussie hip hop legends and they brought all three in equal measure. Pressure was joined by his ‘partner in rhyme’ MC Suffa (their pun, not mine) and DJ Debris. As well as guest drummer Plutonic Lab of another Aussie hip hop act - Muph & Plutonic.
Before we even got to this most delectable of mains, we were treated to a great opening performance from Horrorshow. A pretty young MC/DJ combo (Solo and Adit) out of Sydney’s Inner West, there’s no doubting their talents behind the mic or the turn tables. Solo’s rapping about Sydney was enough to make even the most long-term expat a little homesick.
As good as Horrorshow were in the opening set, there was no doubting who remain the undisputed kings of Aussie hip hop. The ‘hoods hit the stage like men possessed and the energy they brought was infectious. Within seconds they had the whole crowd jumping and nothing changed for the rest of the night. The crowd favorites of The Hard Road and The Nose Bleed Section probably had the crowd at its most crazy, but the material off the new album, ‘Drinking from the Sun’ stood up really well live.
Pressure joked with us in the interview about how long they had been doing this together. But when you see them on stage, all of these years (whatever the actual number might be) of honing their craft become obvious. The performance they put on really is amazing, the tightness of the band and the way they feed off each other could compete with any of the top jazz or blues bands. And just like any of those bands you know this isn’t just talent. This is also the result of thousands of hours of practice and hundreds of live shows.
I think one of the highlights of the night for me was the group of friends, and friends of friends that we had with us. Just as we had promised in the interview with Pressure, VP Music (ala JV) had done our (his) best to draw a crowd and invited everyone we knew to come alone. And what better way is there to enjoy a Hilltop Hoods live show than with mates? This is really what their music is all about – getting caught up in their energy (and their talent), jumping around, singing along and just having fun.
And the best part was, none of this was lost on the people who came into the show blind about who and what the Hilltop Hoods are. Even though there was a big Aussie contingent in the crowd, we had Dutchies, Americans, Canadians, a Swede, a Croatian and a Greek with us and everyone walked away with a smile on their face.
I will put it out there that if you have any kind of musical interest, it is impossible not to have a good time at a Hilltop Hoods show!
The Hard Road