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Live Review: Come Together

13 June 2013 | 9:58 pm | Lucia Osborne Crowley

The entire audience danced and sang along to an explosive rendition of his hit, Jimmy Recard, and as his set came to a close an overwhelmed crowd of hip hop fans spilled reluctantly out of the venue and Come Together closed its doors for another year.

A wave of excited, dedicated Australian hip hop fans descended on Luna Park's Big Top arena on Saturday for this year's Come Together festival. The only Australian hip hop festival of its kind, the event drew crowds from all corners of Sydney and far further. Alarmingly, it appeared as though all ticket holders showed up right on time, and the long line winding all the way through Luna Park had formed long before doors to the venue were opened. 

The day began with Inner West hip hop duo Crochet Crooks, who were given the hard task of opening the festival and establishing its energy, and who rose to the occasion confidently. The two rappers took to the stage with an impressive combination of comfort and excited energy, and managed to engage the already large crowd with alarming ease. The duo played an upbeat, exciting set that was complemented by their combined enigmatic stage presence. The highlight of the performance appeared at the tail end of the set, which saw the rappers joined on stage by charming songtress Macnaught for a rendition of the group's most recent single, Letters, which was engaging and technically impressive in equal measure. The two then performed the very upbeat Lights Out, which proved to be both a wildly exciting performance and an excellent way to close the set. 

The excited crowd continued to expand as fellow Inner West duo Jackie Onassis took to the stage. The energy in the room lifted in a matter of moments. The pair provided heavy beats, impressive verses and plenty of charisma, all of which made for a very good time. The set also proved to be skilfully varied in terms of tone and energy, with one of the highlights being the duo's performance of the slower, more heartfelt I Got You. Obviously very comfortable with the stage and with each other, the two drew the audience right into each song and there were a remarkable number of voices singing along each time. The pair were then joined on stage by Nick Lupi and Jimmy Nice of Spit Syndicate and the four performed a very upbeat rendition of Holiday. The duo then closed the set with Crystal Balling, which the crowd particularly enjoyed.

The Come Together torch was then passed to Melbourne rapper Allday. The set brought a very different tone to the room, displaying the important variety offered by the Australian hip hop of our day. While it certainly was not as tight or precise as many of the other performances of the day, the rapper's upbeat verses and matching attitude had everyone dancing throughout the set.

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As night fell on Luna Park, Spit Syndicate performed one of the most exciting, confident and technically accomplished sets of the day. By the time the pair took to the stage, the room was truly packed and the energy was palpable. Coming very early in the set, one of the highlights was the pair's performance of Amazing, an uplifting track from their recent record, Sunday Gentlemen. Harking back to earlier Spit Syndicate releases, the two rappers then performed an explosive rendition of Crooks And Crimescenes. Another standout was the incredibly catchy See Me Now, which was also one of the most technically impressive moments of the day. In a familiar pairing, the two were then joined on stage by Jackie Onassis, and together the groups performed Sip It Slow with confidence and musical prowess. In a very exciting closing performance, the two rappers then performed the widely popular single from their most recent release, Beauty In The Bricks. The two disappeared from view, leaving a tired but very excited audience in their wake.        

Next up, in another highlight of the day, foundational Australian hip hop collective The Herd took to the stage and immediately entranced the audience with their incredibly complex, varied musical talents. One of the standouts was the group's classic, The King Is Dead, which encouraged a huge amount of enthusiasm both from the stage and from the audience. Another favourite moment was the group's powerful performance of I Was Only 19, its emphatic political messages heard and felt by all. The group then performed their hit, 77%, during which the vocal talents of Jane Tyrell were particularly captivating, to wild applause.

Next to grace the stage was hip hop heavyweight Illy. The room was well and truly packed by this stage of the evening and the crowd was very excited as the Melbourne rapper introduced himself. One of the crowd favourites was the rapper's hit, Cigarettes, to which almost every audience member sang along enthusiastically. Another big hit was Illy's most recent single, On And On, which was probably the set's standout in terms of the rapper's lyrical prowess and enigmatic stage presence. The rapper then performed the incredibly catchy tune It Can Wait, which drew to a close a very accomplished performance and perhaps the most exciting of the day.

Far from running out of steam, the crowd at Come Together 2013 then prepared for the final performance of the day, which was to be delivered by Perth rapper Drapht. Certainly the most confidant performance of the festival, the MC engaged the audience with his charisma and charm as well as his clear, strong vocal phrasing and commanding stage presence. Drapht was joined on stage by DJ Joyride as well as fellow hip hop star Mantra. Standout tracks of this closing performance were the rapper's hits Where Yah From and The Paul The Dan. The entire audience danced and sang along to an explosive rendition of his hit, Jimmy Recard, and as his set came to a close an overwhelmed crowd of hip hop fans spilled reluctantly out of the venue and Come Together closed its doors for another year.