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Clayton Lin: Weighing In

Downsyde + A/B Original @ Chevron Festival Gardens - 24/02

Andrew Ryan

 A.B Original. Matsu Photography

A.B Original. Matsu Photography

I was down for another night at the Chevron Festival Gardens, its intimate yet spacious (enough) to see both Downsyde + A.B Original starting a huge party all on their own. It was the perfect way to

For those who came down early wanting to wind down, kick back and relax after a long week of work, they were serenaded by an Afro-inspired blend of soul and R & B, brought to you by Maia (from Kenya) and the Big Sky, who sang in both English and Swahili. Her songs reminded me of the Afro-Kreol musician Grace Barbe.

Warming up the audience's mood for rhymes- was Downsyde- a collective force made up of some of the best hip hop talent that WA has ever assembled- including stalwarts like Beni Bjah and Drapht and Optimus (Optimist?), and laid down some real bangers and it didn't take to long for the night to get heavy with the political barbs- to be fair Australian Hip Hop has always been rooted in the language of resistance, solidarity and the fight for recognition and justice for Indigenous Australians- with a song dedicated to Elijah Doughty, who died last year, and whose deaths sparked protests in the town of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. A few more beats later, and they departed the stage.

A.B Original then came on to the stage, to the cheers of big fans of both white and indigenous, and mild approval from the rest of the punters who came down to see what the fuss was all about. Whether you're a big fan of our hip hop or not, there's no denying that Briggs & Trials, both Indigenous Australians themselves, though from two different nations (the exact details I can't remember at time of writing). A.B Original's wordplay is unsurprisingly pokes at the  Though there was one moment when they asked the audience to hold up smartphones and other sources of lighting, which invariably meant some cigarette lighters that were one drop away from being a firestorm- this was nonetheless quite a picturesque image. As the show closed, A.B Original brought in some friends- Georgina from Camp Cope and the previously aforementioned Drapht.

It was a great night, that finished pretty early too.