Breakfest @ Belvoir Amphitheatre, Perth (26/12/2004)

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Many people call this time of year the ‘festive season’ for a number of reasons – most celebrate Christmas Day with family and friends – but some of us (around 3000) celebrate Breakfest Eve for the day that follows – boxing day to most – is the day of the year when all the breaks-heads around Perth and regional areas converge to Belvoir Amphitheatre for a day of beats, breaks, hip hop and live electronica. Breakfest 2004 has been and gone. Winning the “Best Event” for Perth Dance Music Awards for the second year in a row is testament to the fact that this is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Being the 4th time this event has been run, it had a lot to live up to from previous years. How did it fare? Lez See.

I arrived at Belvoir midway through local live drum and bass act “Resonance” getting things going. Unfortunately I missed the first act of the day known as Beat Suite – headed by Triple J’s Groove Train host Sharif Galal and Ambar resident Micah from reports from those that were present , it was a very “Beat Suite” introduction being funky, chilled and laid back – very similar to the sounds you would be hearing from the Velvet Lounge on Beaufort Street Mount Lawley every Friday night from 9pm to 2am. So if, like me, you missed out on the Beat Suite duo at Breaksfest because you were still sleeping off that hangover from the day before, or you were playing Halo 2 on X-Box you got for Christmas the day before, you can catch Micah and Sharif (+ guests) every Friday.

Surprisingly, compared to previous years, there was quite a healthy crowd for so early in the day. Maybe due to the weather being a little cooler somewhat. Comments from some punters bemoaning how hot it was had seasoned breakfesterz offering the question “you obviously weren’t here last year”. A pleasant breeze that would soon turn into a gale force wind was sweeping across the ground during the day which offered relief from the hot weather as Resonance were belting out some smooth vocals and live drum and bass. Sections of the crowd fighting for shade were getting well down and dirty to the tunes as the obligatory hacky sack crew were front and center kicking the bean ball around.

Bliss N’Esso brought a new presence to the stage with their music and antics really getting the crowd going with lots of interaction and plenty of jumping around. Freebies and Christmas presents were the order of the day with beer handouts and free CDs thrown into the crowd. Waxing together rhythmical lyrics and bouncing off each others enthusiasm, Bliss and Eso (Recently released Flowers in the Pavement) guided the punters through an energetic set often involving the crowd in the show as well as running amok in the actual crowd going up and down the stairs of Belvoir while still belting out the rhymes.

Germany’s Mo’ Horizons was up next and after some technical difficulties, Ken L was on the mic to introduce the duo. For the next 2 hours, Mo Horizons were very diverse in their selections from Hip Hop, to retro funk , to drum and bass, to breaks. For me personally it was a bit of hit or miss set. Some highlights were Ed Rush and Opticals “The Message” and a remix of Rennie Pilgrem’s “Celeb”. I felt though in some parts of their set it felt as though things were getting going , then all of a sudden its like the breaks were put on. Nonetheless the set was very appropriate for the timeslot and on the whole everyone seemed to enjoy the beats that were being played, even if at times it felt like a stop start roller coaster.

Local lad Lo Key-Fu was up next and was given 30 min to demonstrate why he will be Perth’s next big producer. Earlier this year Mr Fu (as he likes being called) launched his CD “Itchy Techno Finger” to a packed Ambar Club, and again showed his technical wizardry behind the Laptop and Korg at Breakfest. Teamed up with b Skatta, Fu brought the pace of the tunes up and belted out a storming Nu Skool live set. By now Belvoir was filling up quite nicely and Lo-key Fu had the punters in the palm of his hand. MC Skatta didn’t over do the MC’ing either, coming in at the right times to add to the music. Half an hour was not enough for this lad to show his stuff and I know there were many people who were eager to hear more.

Black Grass was next on the bill and again bought the enthusiasm of the crowd up a notch. AKA Carl and the man on the mic, Mex – started with a Roots Manuva booty and mash up of ACDC’s Back in Black and took the now packed Amphitheatre on a musical journey going from Rock to Hip-Hop , to breaks to funk, all with a  bit of nostalgia in there too (to come later on). A remix of Krafty Kuts “These are the Breaks” with a very latino feel was a highlight of the set, along with their own “Bang Feat. TC Izlam” – which, for the name sake truly did ‘Rock da Ouse’ and boy did they turn it up.

Up next was fingerlickin stalwart , Lee Coombs. By now the party was well in full swing with Coombs taking the crowd on a tribal , dark and rolling journey. Bringing lots of fresh tunes to the plate was welcomed as well as some of his signature tracks. His remix of Crystal Methods “New Order” was well and truly well received along with his bootleg of Leftfields “Open Out”. The sun was well below the horizon and the atomosphere within the arena was well and truly electric. A howling wind was blowing the tarp all over the place and some points threatening to dislodge the needles (although this did happen to Black Grass at one point).   I missed the second part of his set as apparently my mum was outside but from what I could hear, his new single “Lick the Frog” was well received as well as Dj Nitro’s Abstract game with its dark rolling bassline thundering with the winds howling over head. Plump Dj’s new acid tinged single Bullet Train also brought the house down.

Mark “Meat Katie” Pember followed on from Coombs and somehow brought the pace up further with more deep rollers and tribal excursions. Christan J’s remix of Party People was well received along with his own Fabulous Mint 400. The big highlight for his set was his Leftfield remix “Left of Life” a track that was released a little over a year ago and was the first time that I had heard it played on a big system. The long breakdown in the middle of the tune along with the gale force wind blowing the illuminated trees in the background followed by Ken L hyping up the crowd really had everyone going absolutely nuts.

Meat and Coombs then combined to play back to back for the last hour or so of the night before the traditional “Mash up” section of the night. Again the two had the breakfest massive well and truly amped for the remainder of the night going through deep roller after deep roller. Black Grass then teamed up with the duo for the mash up section of the night playing a remix of “Skippy the Bush Kangaroo” – a nostalgic way to end the day.

Once again , the party kicked on at Ambar afterwards with the usual drop in guest Dj’s but if ya missed out on going to the Ambar afterwards, you will have to leave it to your imagination as to who played there ;) .

Breakfest 04 had a bit of a low key build up due to the absolutely storming party that was put on last year with many people already comparing it to the 02 & 03 gig’s before a needle had even been dropped. As they say , its often the unknown or unexpected things that can make something so special. Blackgrass, relatively unknown in Perth had won some new fans with a rockin party set. Bliss N Esso showed us why they are one of Australia’s most popular hip hop acts, Lo Key Fu , Resonance& the Beat Suite did the Perth Local scene proud, Meat Katie & Mr Coombs showed again why they are leading the way internationally but most importantly the organisers “Boom Tick” showed why not only have they won best event for 2 years running but also took out this years inaugural award for “Outstanding Contribution”. The amount of sacrifice and effort that goes into organising an event of this scale is unimaginable. From the finer details such as lighting and water for the acts to organising the acts themselves, props must be given for the programming of the acts this year. The day was perfectly set with the chilled and funky beats played and then truly rocked it with the tribal beats at night. Once again Boomtick have delivered with another quality breakfest and to those that said “Oh its not going to be as good as last year”, well you know what they say about assumptions. I dare you to miss out on it for the 5 year anniversary in 2005.

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