Live Review: Drapht, Trials, Dylan Joel, Dex, Marksman Lloyd

17 October 2016 | 4:04 pm | Antony Attridge

"He's an MC so clever in his lyrical appeal."

"We have a huge night of rap going down tonight Melbourne, tonight's gonna be one hell of a party" boomed Trials' (Funkoars, A.B. Original), as the audience shuffles to the barrier of 170 Russell. Dex appears on stage already with an audience no stranger to his vibrant voice on the mic. Dex works the crowd from his first track while his performance of recent single Rooftops promises this opening act has set the bar to a quality standard.

When Marksman Lloyd walks out on stage in his leather jacket, the crowd seems a little unsure what to expect from the Perth-based MC. Lloyd however, has a confidence that dominates the stage as his witty dialogue captures an audience now at full attention. Renditions of tracks Rewrite The Ending and Seven Laps demonstrate why this rapper has shared a stage with so many international stars. His freestyle constructed off random objects held up by audience members portrays this is no home-written rhyme — "...Got your contraception right, but homie why you bring it you ain't needing it tonight!" Lloyd finished his final song joining the crowd as raucous audience members jump around him support.

Trials, in the role of DJ tonight, spins the best in hip hop from Cypress Hill to Melbourne's own Remi Kolawole. Trials' charisma is evident as he playfully invites us to sing along. He's not here to fill in - his set may as well be an act itself.

Dylan Joel's support has grown exponentially since his last appearance in his hometown. Authentic Lemonade merch peppered through the front row, Joel stays true to opening track Always Fresh. His captivating style has us singing, rapping, clapping; hell, he just busted out choreographed dance with his mates. We are hanging on every word. Joel spits quickfire lyrics to elegant guitar riffs he plays himself, while his execution of Like A Version cover You Got A Friend In Me is flawless. Singles Blank and Swing have the crowd louder than ever, so much so it's disappointing he's not the headline himself.

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Drapht bounds on stage as if oblivious to his six-year hiatus. Whistling and "do do do's" echo through the jostling dance floor as Sing It unites us in excitement. Drapht has so much energy, taking us on holiday as Mexico resonates through the room. Avalanches cover Frankie Sinatra is a completely different spin on the famous track, perhaps lost on an audience now more interested in throwing their hands up. This doesn't deter Drapht, however, as he leaps into Bali Party. He's an MC so clever in his lyrical appeal, the crowd is in his palms. Don Quixote sees homage to pioneers Hilltop Hoods while renowned track Jimmy Recard again has the crowd on the brink of meltdown. Drapht is well across what this party wants as he climbs on speakers, the drum kit, anything he can to be on top of us. Final delivery of Dancin' Jon Doe reminds us that Perth is still very much a part of this island's voice in hip hop.