Swindle @ The Gladstone, Sydney (23/06/2012)

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Sometimes, being one long-haul flight away from North America and Europe can be a real detriment to Australian music fans. But last weekend, we were lucky enough to have Sydney crew Reload bring one of London’s newest grime upstarts, Swindle, to our neck of the woods.

Bunkering down in the grungy Gladstone Hotel, an overload of local DJs took to the floor in two packed rooms. Some house and garage business was happening as you entered, with grime and dubstep all night long in the main room. Favourites like Juzlo, FBi’s Max Gosford, Farj, and Basslines filled the night with dubplates and East London sounds. A crowd of MCs filled the stage too, bringing the foreign sound to our home – accent and all. Juzlo served up an all-wax set, including a remix of Tempa T’s Next Hype (and the crowd lost it).

Grime feels like a long lost brother for Australians. It’s like hip-hop, except the beats are half time riddims and the rapping is twice as fast. Think Rick Ross if he was thin with a bony face and in a black Adidas hoodie. And Swindle agreed, and Sydney felt like home to him. London’s own grime scene took a turn when RinseFM DJs Elijah & Skilliam decided to release the tunes they kept getting flooded with. Starting Butterz Records, they signed a whole lot of new upcomers, Swindle included.

And Swindle brought the sound to us. Like most Londoners that hit Australian shores for the first time, he loved it. He gave us a serving of club tunes that might be over-rinsed over there, but were completely fresh here. Anthems from Royal-T, Bok Bok and Swindle himself filled the floor and popped the sound system. And nearly everything got a rewind, to the screams of the crowd.

Swindle kept a huge grin the entire night (“Oi you guys are wikkid!”). He finished with hip-hop, as everyone has to. Not grime, but the American stuff. Still D.R.E. brought it back down at 3am after an onslaught of grime and garage and everything else coming out from the UK.

The Gladstone feels like a London warehouse’s backroom. Sydney has the crowds and the DJs, but our sound systems suffer. Crews like Reload need to keep bringing the new sounds, because we’ve got the ears for it.

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