Wednesday 8th April 2015 @ Shed 6, Wellington
The crowd milled about in the awkward venue, chatting in anticipation. The room lights went off and the stage lights came crashing on with the flick of a beat from the two DJs and one by one the emcees lurched onto stage; lyrics spitting flawlessly. From the moment the first beat dropped, the energy was high, fast and fun. The audience, a mix of old fans and a new generation of hip hop lovers, were happy and eager to dance, laugh and “partake” throughout.
After almost half an hour of fast paced, back to back tracks, Charlie 2na took on the role of host for the evening; guiding the audience through hits, eras of discography and gimmicky interactions. He had us fist pumping to tracks and climbing on imaginary motorbikes; hilarious and a little awkward, but fun nonetheless.
Hit after hit was performed with live finesse; this is a crew who have performed together for years and obviously have fun getting together and spitting rhymes. It was exciting to see four emcees perform in near perfect sync, bounce lyrics and moments off each other and then regroup. Both DJs were not only included, but glorified. A DJ battle got the DJs out from behind their desks to the front of stage with makeshift instruments – a portable midi pad, a vinyl spinning guitar and a huge DJ deck complete with giant record. Ridiculous.
Favourite moments included the aforementioned DJ battle, a silly and co-ordinated dance with all six members, getting to hear classic album tracks that could have been left unplayed, speculating as to whether Nelly Furtado would join the band on stage for “Thin Line”, “Red Hot” performed with suitable energy and blinding red stage lights and of course, the night ending with “What’s Golden”. At one point the audience were cheering and clapping with such fervour that the band paused and absorbed the energy with big, hearty grins. It was incredible to see a huge band be so humbled by their fan base.
Watching one of hip hops greatest groups perform in humble, little Wellington was a privilege. The band were on form and the crowd took in every moment with joyful ease. I was smiling and dancing throughout, grinning as I watched both the show and those around me; Wellington itself put on a show, and the band lapped it up. Live to Mic was full, fun and a little bit silly. Definitely the best, most enjoyable and most flawless hip hop gig I have been to.
Thank you J5!