[REVIEW] Heads Down, Thumbs Up Quadruple Bill Showcases Aussie Hip Hop At Its Best

Proof that Australian music is on the rise and can duke it out with the likes of any American artist, the Heads Down Thumb Up quadruple bill last Thursday night at the Northcote Social club showcased some of the best up and coming artists in the country.

Opening was Soliloquy, a young rapper from Melbourne. Straddling the line between hipster and his own unique hip hop style, the 17 year-old crossed the stage in his high top Nikes with an ownership and confidence belying his age. Known on Triple J for his collaboration with Mantra, Jeremedy and Julez on ‘Set It off’, Soliloquy performed with bravado and enthusiasm, his honest and raw lyrics hinting at greater things to come. While the audience was sparse due to the headliners later time slots, the teenager showed his professionalism by taking his performance to the audience and setting them up for a night of quality grooves.

Soliloquy was followed by Dylan Joel. Stepping out with his trademark swag- the kind you wished you walked with at school; the Triple J Feature Artist  broke down popular renditions of Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ and Wicked's ‘Popular’ to present some of his infectious beats. With  quality lyrics pouring from his mouth, there is no question that this kid from Melbourne is one of Australia’s best up and coming Hip Hop artists. Leading the audience in ‘The Cool Kids’ and dancing to finish off the set, Dylan Joel’s excitement and love of music was contagious and overflowed onto the audience until nearly everybody in the venue was on their feet. Proof that a tight camaraderie with your band helps a performance, the snare and bass were on point through the set; and despite the sheer enjoyment of the band’s faces, they never once lost their professionalism and only added to the charisma that Dylan Joel brought to the stage.

Following Dyl, anticipation for the next headliner was paramount and true to his reputation, Bam Bam took everyone straight to the club scene of down town Melbourne. With a dance/electronica vibe to his hip hop genre, Bam Bam was sleek and smooth, his lyrics and performance matching every ounce the drivers cap he wore as he treated the audience to his own acrobatics. If Dylan Joel built the anticipation in the room, Bam Bam had it climax and soon many people were dancing to his latest tune ‘Feel Like I’m Alive’ and forgetting it was a week night.

Without a doubt the top of the bill was five piece Jakubi. Establishing themselves as a much coveted band on the Melbourne club scene, it was clear that many had come just to see what these boys had to offer- and they did not disappoint. The soaring, soulful vocals of Jerome took the night to a new level as the quirky riffs and reggae like beats consumed the room. Highlights of the set included their break through hit ‘Can’t Afford it All’ and the catchy and melodic sound of their latest single ‘Holiday’ with the trademark talk box fans have come to love. The boys may have broken a drum with the intensity of their playing half way through their set, but it is clear that Jakubi have indeed created their own niche in an already competitive market and they are owning it in every way.

Thursday nights have never been more alive with the quadruple bill of Soliloquy, Dylan Joel, Bam Bam and Jakubi. The Heads Down, Thumbs Up crew showed some of their best and most promising artists in Northcote on Thursday night, establishing that 2014 is the year Aussie Hip Hop will take the music scene by storm.