In the lead up to the upcoming Bliss n Eso Bendigo gig on Thursday May 15, winners of the Local Support Act Competition The R.E.A.L Music Family rocked the Revolver stage by opening the night on Saturday May 10, shaking off any nerves before their Bendigo appearance.

The Melbourne based six-piece, all under the age of 25, have not only established themselves as a hip hop band, but are also a creative collaboration of artists across various forms of music and media. These extend from the core of the performing and recording group, to video and camera experts, graphic design, fashion and copywriting. It isn’t surprising that their dynamic on-stage presence and boldness to go explore other forms of the industry saw them win the competition. They have also played alongside names including Mr Hill & Rahjconkas, Dylan Joel and Suburban Dark.

R.E.A.L opened their set with ‘Sucker Punch’, the second track on their upcoming mixtape Live.Write. The upbeat chorus had fans jumping while a huge blow-up beach ball flew around the venue. The fresh energy exuded by the band was captivating.

Produced by rapper, producer and sound engineer Juñor, their track ‘Skinny Dream Jeans’ was the second song of the performance, and was followed by a lyrical variation to Outkast’s ‘Ms. Jackson’. R.E.A.L owned the stage; energetically interacting with the crowd left, right and centre.

When it seemed as though hip-hop was the continuum, they surprised everybody with their punchy dance track ‘Fire Up’. The syncopated hook over the repetitive “I raise my hands up to the top get fired up waiting for the beat to drop” called for the band to start chanting “skull, skull skull” while they took everybody down low, low and lower to the ground to then go crazy at the drop.

The biggest rap beats of the night were showcased through ‘Bird Machine Cypher’ when cheeky drum rhythms and a Missy Elliot-like sound resonated throughout the venue. Each member took turns to rap and sing solo amongst some mean beat boxing. Rapper Chris “Codix” Dixon was the first to take the limelight, while singer Downtown Abi finished the song by singing the repetitive Jenifer Lopez hook ‘I’m Real.’

The band concluded their set by asking the crowd: “We’ve covered classic hip hop, we’ve gone to the streets with beat box, we’ve gone crazy with EDM, what should we show you next?”

They threw a rap twist into the Powderfinger classic, ‘My Happiness’. Concluding the set with a unique remix of this original track was definitely an attention-grabber. There’s no doubt R.E.A.L Music will continue to explore new and innovative ways to captivate audiences and win fans around the country.