Mark Rae & Veba @ The Metro, Sydney (07/06/03)

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The possibility of seeing this duo in the flesh had me shaking like Ozzy Osbourne’s bottom lip, only with more drool if that’s possible. Rae is absolutely my favourite producer, so you’ll need to bear with me through the sections of divine worship.

Rae Road was a work of art in my opinion, and to hear Veba sing those songs live on stage was a dream come true. Brett Volker did a mad job in the main room, increasing the heat steadily with one or two Grand Central tracks. Sharif Galal’s favourite sons and daughters, Zephyr Timbre, were up next and they’ve written some top-shelf stuff for sure. They need to work on their image though – having six different styles on stage creates a visual sprawl that detracts from the overall performance.

Rae took the stage at midnight with little or no fanfare. He crept behind the decks that were off to one side of the stage and just went quietly and efficiently about throwing one of the fattest parties, ever. For the first hour it was all records. We heard Jungle Boogie, the Deadbeats’ remix of Aim-Cold Water Music, The Roots’ new version of The Seed, and he dropped a Dynamo Productions track, just to remind us all of the tough choice we had to make. Bet both of those promoters are kicking themselves. The second hour, enter Veba. Awesome. The soul sister with the velvet voice held us captive and went straight through Lavish, Fold or Flower, and Spellbound, all in a row. She’s got an awesome stage presence and the atmosphere during those three songs was phenomenal. The people down the front expressed the greater audience’s fondness for Veebes by constantly stretching out their hands, just for the chance to touch this amazing woman. And there was your fair share of clinging couples as well, joined at the hip, staring dreamily into each others eyes as Veba’s lyrics washed over us. The close bond between DJ and singer was evident in the quick, familiar grins that passed between the two. And to see that they were loving it just as much as we were really topped the whole experience off, ya know?.

Things only got better when Spikey Tee popped out of the woodwork to add his contribution. He jumped on the mic for a spot of MCing but stopped short of launching into Throne, however much I silently willed him. Rae brought his set to a close soon after and left the stage with hardly a ripple. A gentle nod to the crowd, a slight wave, and there you have it everybody, Mr Mark Rae. Superb; just a fat, party selection of the worlds best hip hop, breaks, and beats.

Spikey and Veba stuck around on set while Dave from the Resin Dogs saw the party out, the two passing the mic back and forth and sharing a quick spliff for ”’ol tines saeek”, as Spikey put it. Dave did a fine job until Spikey nudged him aside and threw on some records of his own. And so we ended the evening with four or five, hard and heavy, Spikey-style dnb choones. It was a fitting finish, to one of the wickedest nights I’ve had in yonks. Exquisite stuff. Anyone know what a plane ticket to Manchester’s worth? I could see myself getting quite used to Central Heating of a weekend.

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