Live Review: Chiseko, Grievous Bodily Calm, Winston Surfshirt

7 December 2017 | 10:38 am | Joseph Wilson

"Watching Winston rap out old hits was a blessing for fans into the craze, but a curse for those already tired of the gimmick."

Jack Rabbit Slim's was transformed into a breezy hip hop, jazz club for just one night as a part of Winston Surfshirt's Spongecake national tour. Whether it was Chiseko laying down crisp rhymes or Grievous Bodily Calm ripping out impressive trumpet solos - it was a night filled with sharp rap lyrics and polished brass.

Chiseko kicked off the night with impressive raps; he was backed up by a live band that persuaded some of the early bird punters to 'get down'. With an infectious rhythm in tow, Chiseko's faux-American accent gave an old school feel to his live set, rather than a performance that felt eponymously Australian. A set highlight was when Chiseko played Manipulate by Phocal, their lead singer Phoebe Gunson emerging onto the stage. The vocal intonations of Gunson entwined with Chiseko's lyrics and gave way to a smooth finisher to the rapper's set.

Grievous Bodily Calm was a group that lay between the crossroads of a smooth jazz band and an orchestra that purely made hip hop soundtracks. Purely instrumental in scope, it was a neat change of pace to the bouncy intensity of Chiseko. Appreciative nods had to be given to the band members, wherein between the long, arduous trumpet solos the punters were thrown into a crazed frenzy of keyboard solos. Unrelenting and unstoppable, the only crime Grievous Bodily Calm was guilty of was assault by ambience.

When the time swung around to Winston Surfshirt's set, two opposing signs were lit up either stage stating the group's name. Emerging onto the stage across a dimly lit venue, aside from a brightly lit microphone stick and the glowing embers of a sneaky durry, the sight of lead vocalist Winston, whose face was concealed behind John Lennon-esque shades, gave off an aura of mystery.

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Tearing into their signature lo-fi hip hop sound straight away, the addictive beats, punctuated and complemented by trombone and overlayed by Winston's vocals, set up a chill vibe for the crowd. Playing well-known hits Same Same and Be About You, Winston jumped into the crowd and rapped in a messianic act where the punters were desperate to grind and dance with him.

Heading out with a lengthy encore, the bridge of the final song turned into a lengthy R&B '90s set. Watching Winston rap out old hits was a blessing for fans into the craze, but a curse for those already tired of the gimmick.