Live Review: Wu-Tang Clan, Ivan Ooze, Nico Ghost

25 February 2016 | 12:29 pm | Jeeven Singh

"Wu-Tang is for the children. Wu-Tang is also for everyone."

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You'd be hard-pressed to find fans as branded as those of the Wu-Tang Clan. Waiting in line, your field of vision is assaulted with the golden W — young and old, tall and short — every human conscripted into the legion of Wu. And for those that don't have a uniform, they join the throngs of people making a bee-line towards the merch stand.

The crowd demographic here presented an interesting contrast — bucket hat-clad, tube sock-wearing teenagers interspersed with the older hip hop heads, well into their 30s and 40s yet still donning their Wu-wear (albeit a more vintage, Vanilla-Icey iteration).

Make your way through the mass of Wu-fanatics to the inside of Hordern Pavilion, where Nico Ghost is opening the proceedings.

Undeterred by the relatively small crowd in front of him, Ghost delivered a spirited performance, with the trappy production from his tracks coming alive through the Hordern sound system.

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Following Ghost was Melbourne rapper Ivan Ooze. Air horns and gun reload sound effects were nestled among renditions of tracks off of his The Social Alien Mixtape. Ooze did well hyping the crowd with his livewire stage presence.

And then it was time. "Shaolin shadow boxing... and the Wu-Tang sword style". Upon hearing one of the more famed samples from their classic debut LP Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), the crowd was driven into a frenzy. Out burst RZA, spraying a bottle of champagne while rapping along to 36 Chambers opening track Bring Da Ruckus (and, most interestingly, sporting a South Sydney Rabbitohs baseball jersey). Following him were GZA, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and Masta Killa, with DJ Mathematics manning the decks.

This raucous entrance set the tone for the rest of the night. "The energy you give to us is the energy we're going to give back to you," stated RZA, and it was plain to see those on stage were feeding off the crowd as much as the crowd was feeding off of them. Although there were a few members missing, those present more than delivered, in what was an engaging and high-energy show from start to finish.

From seminal 36 Chambers tracks such as C.R.E.A.M., to well-known cuts from the rappers' solo catalogues, the Wu raced through a decent span of their work.

Some highlights of the show included DJ Mathematics schooling everyone on the art of turntablism, a cover of The Beatles' Come Together and a singalong to Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit.

This show was a nice reminder of the unifying effect of hip hop music. Coming up in completely different contexts as artists, Ghostface Killah and Nico Ghost echoed the same call to the crowd during their respective sets: "How many people here like real hip hop?!" with both met with rabid approval. Ghostface Killah put it succinctly in the closing moments of the show, addressing the age-diverse crowd: "The thing I love about hip hop music, it brings all of us together as one." Wu-Tang is for the children. Wu-Tang is also for everyone.