Supafest @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney (15/04/12)

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After the avalanche of bad news that headliners Missy Elliott and P.Diddy had been swiped off the bill, things weren’t looking too supa for Supafest a week out from the event. But could things get any worse? Yes, they could. The woes continued with resounding confusion and frustration over the lack of playing times, so we (like many) arrived with no clue as to who was playing at what time, as even the latest set times posted on the festival’s Facebook page didn’t match up. Oh…and just in case you were here to see Rick Ross that’s too bad, because he too pulled out. So to put things mildly, the day wasn’t off to a great start.

After venting a bit of rage it was lucky that the brilliance of Naughty by Nature was there to give everyone some relief. Showing the love for their audience declaring themselves “Australian by Nature”, the hip-hop crew did so putting on a solid set getting the crowd going by sampling songs such as DMX’s Party Up, House of Pain’s Jump Around, and Men At Work’s Land Down Under.

Then whipping out their hits including Jamboree, Holiday, Feel My Flow with strong vocals, tight delivery and energy to boot, it sadly seems the true solidness of their performance was lost on a crowd consisting of a majority of punters who were probably born in the peak of their fame. This is where a set playing times would have come in handy, as most of their older fans were probably still at the pub around the corner at this stage. Of course, the greatest response from the crowd unsurprisingly came when the boys launched into a special shout out to their fallen friends Biggie Smalls, Tupac Shakur, and Michael Jackson.

Followed then by Lupe Fiasco, bursting onstage wearing a green Chicago Bulls basketball singlet from his home, heavy gold bling and holding an old style radio announcer mic, he managed to pump some energy into the audience with an entertaining performance that included his hits Kick, Push, and a killer cover of Kanye West’s Touch The Sky. Ending with his chart topping hits Superstar and The Show Goes On.

Next up, was the man who saved the day and perhaps the only heavy weight left on this now declining line-up ma' man Ice Cube. Reppin’ the West Coast he strolled onstage with a super-tight afro (‘fro pick included), pummeling through his lengthy history of tracks included Bow Down, Today Was A Good Day, Check Yo Self, You Can Do It and Go To Church.

The crowd ate up every second of his solid performance topping it off with some krib moves, he preached to the already converted raving, “West side is the best side! Put yo W’s up,” Ice Cube then dedicated Gangsta Nation to his late friend and collaborator Nate Dogg. “There ain’t no party like a Sydney party ‘cos a Sydney party don’t stop!” he announced, ending the set with I Rep That West. Hands down THE best act of the day.

RnB darling Kelly Rowland representing the ladies shone on stage with a Diana Ross-esque ‘fro was a welcoming change of pace when she burst onto the scene, oozing confidence and flanked by bare-chested and buff male dancers, launching into a string of her hits such as Like This and Dilemma. Before treating [aa.artist:Destiny’s Child] fans to a mashup tribute before leaving the stage with a stadium sing-a-long of When Love Takes Over and Solider.

Ludacris, or should I say LUDA energetically brought new life to the stage as the sun began to set, wearing a puffy olive vest, sunnies and blinged out to the max, he kicked off with Act A Fool. Accompanied by Lil Fate and DJ Infamous, the rapper reminded the crowd they had “come all the way from Atlanta, Georgia”.

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