Katalyst 'What’s Happening' Tour @ The Rosemount, Perth (23/11/07)

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I have wanted to see Katalyst for years now and somehow never been able to catch one of his shows. Ever since I bought his latest release What’s Happening, it’s been on high rotation at my place and by Friday afternoon I was practically bursting with excitement that I was finally getting the opportunity to see him perform.

When I arrived at The Rosemount the Funk Club House Band was playing and I was immediately impressed by their female vocalist. Unfortunately I didn’t catch her name and I only managed to hear a couple of songs before their set finished. I think I’m going to have to go back and check them out again.

By the time N’fa (ex 1200 Techniques) came on, the crowd inside the pub had swelled noticeably and I was standing at the packed bar waiting for a much needed beer. Although the temperature had come down from the 38 degree maximum, it was still a very warm evening and I found it uncomfortably hot inside the pub. I stayed inside just long enough to get my drink and so only saw N’Fa’s initial MCing effort which segued into the chorus of Get Up, Stand Up. I stayed outside for a bit, chatting to some friends and enjoying the beer garden, but I knew the main act would be starting soon and decided to go back inside, where it was even more packed and hotter inside than it had been earlier.

I managed to find a spot down the back of the room, in front of the couches, where I thought I would get some breeze from outside. Just as I found my spot Katalyst, Stu Hunter and Leeroy Brown took to the stage and the first thing Katalyst did was comment on the heat inside the venue. I think I should get my one gripe about the event out of the way so I can get on with reviewing the music. The two wall mounted fans inside the venue were woefully inadequate for the warm evening temperature and body heat being generated by the capacity crowd. More than once during his set Katalyst asked the crowd if they were coping with the heat: I guess if you’re planning on going to a gig at the Rosemount over summer, make sure you wear light clothing.

This gig featured an amazingly talented array of guest performers and the first to come out on stage was the Australian Jamaican MC Ru C.L, launching into Step Up and immediately getting the crowd moving. The next guest performer was Stephanie McKay, sporting an afro and a voice that makes Connie from Sneaky Sound System look like a pale imitation. She was very charismatic, engaging the audience with her beaming smile during her performance of Take Me Over from Katalyst’s Dusted album. She had an amazingly powerful voice and yet she didn’t have that annoying diva habit of ‘over-singing’ a note until it becomes painful for the listener.

The revolving line-up of special guests continued as Ru C.L and N’fa came back out to perform I Know a Place, my favourite track from What’s Happening, immediately followed by the first single from the album, All You’ve Got. The songs sounded just as polished live as they did on the CD but it was all being performed live, including the scratching. The music was so funky I don’t think anybody in the room was standing still at this stage.

I missed some of the guest performers because I was making intermittent trips outside to escape from the heat, but a standout from the evening for me was again Stephanie McKay performing Rising Tide from her forthcoming EP. She is definitely an artist to watch out for. Another funny highlight was J-Live invoking the Hilltop Hoods in order to get everyone’s hands up in the air. The evening was a mixture of hip-hop tinged with some funk and soul influences that had me continually dancing and singing along.

As the time moved closer to midnight the dance floor had thinned out somewhat but I didn’t mind because there was more room to move. All the guests including Steve Spacek and Adalita joined Katalyst on stage to perform What Are We Talking About and another track that I don’t know the name of. It was a round robin style performance with each artist taking a turn singing or MCing and all the audience was grooving away and cheering along. I left the gig with a lasting impression of having just witnessed a fantastic performance from an extremely talented bunch of people and I was reminded of why I got into hip-hop in the first place. This was definitely one of the stand-out gigs of the year for me.


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Comment Added

Chester said on the 29th Nov, 2007

nice review Sam, alas i will remember this as the gig i broke my hand at