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Live Review: Ecca Vandal, Rara

8 August 2016 | 10:50 am | Joey Davy

"Song after song gets louder, faster and heavier before the show climaxes in a scream."

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The four guys of Rara have a squad-rap bounce to their own beat that is rarely this inspired in our home-grown hip hop world. On the criterion of vibe, this progressive rap group has serious talent. For a dozen early birds, Rara go full Odd Future. This wholesome hip hop production, no-bullshit rap and engaging, dynamic performance is deserving of a headline show.

After a full intermission of hip hop and rap tunes, we're blasted with a dose of tinny synth pop before Ecca Vandal dawdles on stage, seemingly without a care in the world, in a collage tunic made of recycled branded T-shirts.

A sassy introductory verse is relatively low-key before they launch into smashing drums and bouncing, rambunctious punk. Vandal's badass persona is broken only when she meets the guy in the front row who knows every word to every song. On her single,
Father Hu$$la
, she locks eyes with him, offers him the microphone and he loyally belts out every word.

Radio favourite White Flag gets the crowd's feet moving and Vandal points out those not quite there yet, performing directly at them. She prowls, grinds and acts all over the space like a seasoned performer: immune to exhaustion, she lets go for few raw moments only to pull back immediately to the character of her music - rebellious, ferocious and yet also beautiful. "I want to see you dance," she demands, demonstrating her favourite gesture: the finger gun.

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Vandal's biggest song to date, End Of Time, is belted out by all in the space. Electronic influences come out of the woodwork on this track and Vandal's more traditional vocal performance makes it feel like a Paramore/Santigold lovechild.

We get the occasional taste of the hip hop we met earlier thanks to drum pads, with Vandal taking care of both the male rap and female sweetener roles. The show is dominated however, by the head-banging theme of the set, Vandal all the while feeding off long, blonde, thrashing locks in the front row. Song after song gets louder, faster and heavier before the show climaxes in a scream.

"Are you ready to get wild? No I mean, really wild?!" Closing with Battle Royal, Vandal jumps down in to the crowd to be with her biggest fans, and it's hard to tell who is more stoked.