The Gasometer Hotel in Collingwood almost hosted Albert Dobson Jr this past Saturday. I say almost because at 6:30PM attendees of the Facebook event were advised that Dobson Jr had been held up at the airport on Visa complications, and as a result would be unable to play. Dobson Jr, a rising enigmatic figure on the international underground stage who explores and blurs the boundaries between jazz, funk, breakbeat and hip hop, had been the drawcard of the event arranged by Melbourne hip hop and R’n’B collective 30/70 and Heads With Tails. But even without their headliner, the line up procured offered enough talent and spectacular sets for the night to go ahead, with La Sape, Man Made Mountain, 30/70 Collective and Silent Jay & Jace XL all gracing the stage.
The Gasometer has become more and more of a dance venue in recent times, with events like Daydreams and Ciggie Sunday boasting incredible DJ’s, and putting the venue on the map as a club as well as the live music venue it’s always been. Saturday’s line-up was another great example of the Gaso moving into new territory. Packed like sardines in a tin can in the hot room, the punters danced their hearts out shoulder to shoulder with one another. Man Made Mountain stunned the crowd with their sonic craftsmanship, playing the first full set of the night. MC Cazeaux Oslo along with ARIA award winning beat producer Billy Hoyle offered a vibrant, passionate and electrifying set. Their sound draws inspiration from their spiritual connection to Brazil, injecting a heated energy into their live set. Uplifting and feel good, the production and technical prowess of the duo challenges the boundaries of the genre but also gives a crowd something they can move to.
After another filler DJ set from La Sape of elegant and ambient electronica, producer/multi-instrumentalist Silent Jay and partner in crime Jace XL took matters into their own hands. Resting heavily on tracks from the recently released Sacrifice, a self-described “mini album of epic proportions”, the duo whipped the audience into a frenzy like it was the 90’s all over again, bequeathing us with a playfully infectious forty-five minutes of soulful R’n’B, executed with meticulous care and a knowing wink. Effortlessly smooth, endlessly fun, and musically organic, the vocal duo’s harmonies are refreshing in the modern scene, and their voices blend so well tonally. By this point, the packed room was drenched in sweat, excitement and a feel good energy that rippled outward from each and every patron in attendance.
Following one more short, minimal set from La Sape, 30/70 Collective arrived on the stage. The Melbourne based hip hop/R’n’B collective delivered a powerful hour or so of their signature hypnotic grooves. They’ve described their sound as “expressions of the cosmos and spiritual riches channeling through the music to take you on a journey into the dank delirium.” This description is stunningly and surprisingly accurate, as the whole set kind of feels like one weed fuelled dream. Groovy and smooth, with good vibes pouring from every verse, every progression, and every facet of the performance. New single ‘Das Dank’ was a definite set highlight and translated perfectly in a live setting. The energy in the room is fiery throughout 30/70’s performance, and the set after set of feel good music over the night comes to a head here, the audience feeding of the performers and vice versa. When you have that amount of people crammed into this small of a space, punters can start to get frustrated or sick of the whole thing. But tonight, there is only happiness filtering through each and every person, back to one another.
Although myself and others at the Gaso were slightly disappointed about the absence of calling card Albert Dobson Jr, the night was still an absolute riot and an undeniable success. I’ve been to very few gigs with as much raw energy as I saw this past Saturday, and in a music scene sometimes dominated by artists taking themselves way too seriously, it’s refreshing to be at a gig where all the performers are having this much fun.