It suddenly hit me as I entered the Brisbane entertainment Centre that it was 13 years ago when i first got to witness the brilliance of a Hilltop Hood show. Over the years I have probably seen at least a dozen performances but am ashamed to say I had never seen a show of their own, it was always at a festival. How far they have come since then, tonight they will fill the biggest venue in Brisbane.
This trio from Adelaide pushed Aussie hip hop into the lounge rooms of everyday Australians at a time when Aussie hip hop was not on any map, I was so proud of how far they and the culture have come.
The intensity of the crowd as we entered was mesmerizing and I was taken back by the frenzy of Hoods fans flooding the arena in their newly purchase Hilltop Hoods tees. The vibe was buzzing and janitors were surely prepping to mop up the froth from the punters once the show began.
AB-Original opened the night and put on a display of lyrical prowess that really deserved a bigger crowd, keep an eye out for him. UK singer Maverick Sabre, who would later return for a few Hoods songs, soulfully lit the stage up with tracks ranging from a reflective tear jerker to a high energy melody that had the growing crowd moving in unison.
The deafening chant of 'Hillltttoooppp' rang out through the stadium as the curtains opened to reveal the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra. The empowering sound of those strings ran straight up my spine and I was in awe of what appeared to be a 10 foot harp at the front of the roughly 40 piece orchestra.
The immediate power of the Hoods was felt as soon as the first drum beat dropped and as always, I admire the fitness of these two as they literally run across the stage. They opened the show with a few newer songs off their latest album that were really brought to life by the orchestra.
I constantly found myself with goosebumps from head to toe and an electricity running up and down my spine, this was the direct result of the incredibly well composed orchestra, I really must stress here how integral it was to the overall sound.
As the show continued the boys were venting so much energy to a jam packed entertainment centre, hands down the largest gathering for an aussie hip hop act in the history of the venue. Hilltop has such a huge selection of crowd favourites i knew it would be hard for them to play them all. They went from brand new bangers to old school sing alongs, like Nosebleed Section, they had the formidable crowd in the palm of their hands.
A pyrotechnical display combined with the lighting would have been enough to induce an epileptic episode, it truly was a sight for sore eyes.
Maverick Sabre reappeared on stage mid set and belted out two very soulful songs, ‘I won’t let you Down’ and’ Live and Let Go’, both were met with roars from the crowd and watching an entire stadium sing the choruses must have been such a rush for the lads.
The constantly thanked the crowd, clearly overwhelmed, and reiterated this was the biggest show they have ever done in QLD. The anticipation was high for '1955' the hit single off their latest album and Suffa was joined by a QLD female vocalist who was filling in for Montaigne. This was the one and only slip up of the night, Suffa messed up his 2nd verse and began to freestyle to the supportive applause of the rowdy crowd, stating it had been at least 5 years since he had made a mistake on stage. The crowd could have easily covered for him and sung his remaining verse but it was reassuring in a strange way to know they are human. Suffa proceeded to do 20 push ups on stage, a ritual, they had taken from Public Enemy, when you mess up on stage you must pay for it.
As the show continued, somehow the intensity remained high, between highly energetic songs the boys would slow things right down and a touching song by Pressure about depression had the stadium alight with mobile phones and lighters, amazing sight.
At one stage the lads crept offstage as the orchestra seduced the crowd and many thought the show was done when the curtains close. The familiar chant of Hilltttooppp followed and the stadium shook as the Hoods reemerged for a three song encore.
The finale was 'Cosby Sweater', arguably the guys biggest hit off their latest release and it sent the strong crowd into a hysterical frenzy. What was even more surprising was the guest appearance of fellow hip hop star 'Illy' who had flown from Melbourne for one verse on this song.
Everyone lost their minds in one final hoorahh and as the final curtain was drawn my goosebumps faded but i was left with the electricity in my spine. Hands down one of the most captivating performances I have ever seen and after over a decade of being a serious fan I must admit this was the Hilltop Hoods at the top of their game, brilliant work boys!!!
A must see show for even the slightest Hoods fan!
Reviewer - Jamo Mackenzie