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Live Review: Drapht, Complete, Bitter Belief, K21

6 August 2018 | 10:27 am | Gavin de Almeida

"A great hip hop show which while not particularly ground breaking in the context of Australian rap today, was very well received by Drapht's fans."

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Fat Controller played host to a slightly older and male-heavy crowd on Friday night as the Westralian rapper Drapht brought his live band to town. With a strong early turnout, it's notable how hip hop crowds always get behind support acts compared to more standoffish audiences at indie or electronic gigs. The humming, raucous vibe kicked in early with the reasonably sized crowd getting into local K21 from the start and maintaining a high energy level all through the night.

K21 has a classic, old school Australian hip hop sound that contrasts a lot with current styles. The sometimes hard-hitting rapper has a reasonable variation, but what seemed to work best was his slightly grittier style with dark backing tracks and a tougher vibe. Part of the Golden Era crew, handpicked by Hilltop Hoods, K21 has a lot of respect in the local Adelaide scene, although not necessarily known to casual listeners. With a more early 2000s Australian rap style, it wasn't surprising that the older crowd at the venue lapped it up.

Western Australian duo Complete and Bitter Belief, brought a slightly higher octane sound and live energy to the stage. The act's range varied from old school Australian to darker, slicker and grimier current West Coast US styles. The production was first class, matching the intensity while adding character. With a faster, more advanced style than K21, the tour supports showcased their talents, particularly Bitter Belief, who sounds like one of the best hip hop artists, albeit underpublicised, from the west. Towards the end, some of the tracks started sounding like Eminem outtakes, with early 2000s beats and vocal rhythms.

Drapht cuts an interesting figure on stage by virtue of the fact that he looks so unassuming and understated for an iconic Australian rapper. He has an easy and authentic humility that is both relatable and subtly charismatic and it is interesting to see the way his fans relate to him. The live band brought a fantastic, visceral energy to the set and the catchy, bouncy backing generated a positive high near the start. Live tom drums in one track helped create a bigger beat for the rap to lay on while adding another element to the momentum of the set and the energy in the room. Mexico was designed for singing along to and the summery vibe translated very well live.

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The live band was just enough for the set, with the guitarist, keyboardist and live drummer adding enough to the experience without detracting from the backing or the overall song. The keyboardist certainly had some impressive pipes on her and she sounded huge. His guitarist and backing vocalist also lifted the performance without pushing it too far. The cameo by local identity Trials came just at the right time and maintained the energy of the set.

Recent hit The Come Down Was Real and fan favourite Jimmy Recard capped off a great hip hop show, which while not particularly groundbreaking in the context of Australian rap today, was very well received by Drapht's fans.