Live Review: Tornts - Laundry Bar

9 July 2012 | 7:35 pm | Aleksia Barron

It’s a brilliant gig from some of the Melbourne underground’s finest.

Pirate Mafia get the evening's proceedings underway in style. They set the tone for what is to come: tough, uncompromising hip hop with plenty of attack on the mic. The excellent young MC P-Link, who delivers his second brilliant set at this venue within a three-week period, follows. He opens with Tell 'Em It's P, the first track off his In My Element EP. His delivery is positively drum-skin tight, his stage presence energetic and exciting. Closing with his EP's title track, he stamps his name on the memory of the increasingly excitable audience.

It's time for the first of the co-headliners to step up to the plate. Maggot Mouf and Sammy Scissors hit the stage flanked by Gutz and DJ Buick on decks. It's fun to see Sammy Scissors relinquish his traditional producer's post to spit alongside his collaborator Maggot Mouf, and young Gutz has plenty of energy as the supporting hypeman. Being a launch, the setlist is drawn from recent release Running With Scissors and kicks off with an energetic rendition of Raw. Maggot Mouf is particularly impressive behind the mic, showcasing both passion and technique over hard-hitting tracks such as F The W and Crave. The crowd love it: these difficult, intricate rhymes are exactly what they came out to see.

There's plenty more where that came from, too. Tornts is up to perform tracks off his album Concrete Slang, many of which get their live debut tonight. It's strange to see the man, who's been hanging out amongst the audience, chatting with friends and fans, transform himself so utterly. He prowls across the stage as if possessed by a demon of fury, channelling every injustice ever inflicted on the world and spitting out his rebuttal in lyrical form. It's all too appropriate that the track opening his set is titled Venom.

With the talented Bigfoot on hype duties, the set gets underway beautifully, with the numbers from Tornts' most sophisticated release to date packing plenty of punch. The crowd clearly adore this album – plenty of people know all the words to Wandering Blocks and The Rain, while the brilliant Traumatic Cinema is an early highlight. There are some technical difficulties mid-set, which Bigfoot covers with a spot of a cappella to keep things moving along. Fortunately, the beat is soon resurrected for Undercover Maggot. Plenty of guests step up, including Ciecmate on Keep That Mouth Shut and Diem on Danger, and Tornts finishes up with Hit Never Miss, sending his dedicated fans into overdrive. It's a brilliant gig from some of the Melbourne underground's finest.

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