Katalyst @ The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, Adelaide (22/11/2007)
Fri 23rd Nov, 2007 Event Reviewsin
Katalyst has dropped one of the year’s best received albums. He is one of those unique artists who appeal across genre fan bases…it truly is a case of ‘skills proven’. He hit Adelaide playing the role of a musical Robin Hood, his merry men (and women) ready to smash our Thursday night.
Thursday nights are always a risk, you never know if you will lure out the working massive or if the artist swill be left playing to his roadie and a few unemployed. It seems however I had greatly underestimated the pulling power of Katalyst. The back room of the Gov is massive and it was full pretty much to the brim for the entirety of the show. The crowd was much more “triple j” than your average hip hop show. It was good to see these fans exist, but I’d love to see some of them take a risk and attend some of our other excellent local shows.
Arriving at the venue reasonably early BVA was warming things up on the decks. The man clearly loves his work displaying massive amounts of enthusiasm behind the decks regardless of crowd size. He played a nice mix of tracks from old school party breaks and hip hop, through to stuff as diverse as Marvin Gaye and ODB, the largest crowd reactions coming for tracks like Muph & Pluto’s Heaps Good. As I kicked back and watched the room fill one thing struck me, Movember, although being a worthy cause, makes more people look like dickheads than any trend in recent memory.
As BVA wound up Katalyst emerged to take centre stage looking every bit the hip hop head he is. Joining him to his left was his DJ Leeroy Brown and to his right his keyboard player whose name I never caught. This would be the team that created our musical soundtrack, a three man band if you will working the keyboard, DAT, MPC and turtables.
After a brief instrumental moment it became a precession of ridiculously talented musical stars. First up was RU C.L sounding every bit like Australia’s Mos Def, he worked the stage well, his only major drama the extra microphones left on stands awaiting later acts. I was not a fan of his debut album but I must say he went a long way to winning me over as a live performer. The night was a launch for What’s Happening and as such the tracks played and guests all came courtesy of that release, but with music of this quality why delve deeper into your catalogue or that of your guests.
Next up Stephanie McKay sounding every bit like Aretha transplanted and dropped into Adelaide as she rocked over Katalyst’s funk driven sounds. I had been forewarned of her talent and she proved the warning right. After a brief return from RU with Koolism’s Hau riding the beat by his side it was the man I had come to see bursting out onstage, all the way from the USA J-Live.
Although he does nothing extraordinary as a performer, J-Live oozes class, he works the crowd and stage while delivering a conscious stream of lyrics with ease. I also want to say the first beat of the set was phenomenal – dark and banging. When producing pure hip hop tracks, Katalyst still cuts it with the best.
Perhaps the night’s oddest inclusion burst out next – Adalita from Magic Dirt, proving indie kids know how to perform. She strutted the stage briefly then descended into the crowd, walking around the dance floor as she sang. Adalita’s spot was over as quickly as it began but this paved the way for the man in the ridiculously tight jeans with the butter smooth soul vocals, Steve Spacek.
Spacek is formally of the UK now living on our shores and he has flat out talent. His is the sort of music that should be receiving radio airplay as apposed to the latest 16yr old American “sensation”. He also comes with a serious musical pedigree. One of the night’s highlights was his tribute to the late great J.Dilla, a man who before his passing had blessed Spacek with a seriously ill beat which he performed over. I seem to say it every time I review anything J.Dilla related, but nobody programmed drums like he did.
After all artists had performed, it was now time to party. There were short sets again from J-Live and Mckay before the crowd got a double encore treat. Every single artist took to the stage, along with some stragglers from the audience it appeared, for what became a massive jam. Whether it was Hau ripping rhymes off the top or Spacek providing harmonies, to J-Live showing why he is an international star, it was a fitting end to the night and the crowd who had been in fantastic voice all night lapped it up.
As a large majority of the crowd emptied out into the night, BVA stepped back onto the decks. I pondered briefly the oddity that was Christmas decorations hanging from the roof at what was largely a hip-hop gig before saying my goodbyes and heading home a more than satisfied attendee.
Katalyst puts on a fantastic show and makes fantastic music. Several hundred Adelaide fans now have first hand experience to brag about.