Words: Joe Wilson
Milkwaukee Banks’ Deep Into The Night album launch at Fremantle’s Mojo’s Bar was a night packed to brim with well-articulated word-smithery and ecstatic electronic beats. Supported by stellar acts Chu, Evanda and S.O.X; the line-up gave way to a great cross-section of the local hip-hop scene, giving the punters a glimpse into a scene mired in angry poetry, the pursuit of fame and a sound inspired by much bigger house-hold hip hop names.
Chu was the first act to the hit the stage, with the DJ spilling out sweet, smooth electronica to gradually transition into the later, more heady hip-hop aspects of the night. Exercising a cool and calm demeanour behind the deck, Chu’s composure effectively showed that the DJ knew what he was doing and that this area of music was his area of expertise. Although at this stage in the show, many of the punters were yet to arrive; Chu provided a great set to some of the early onlookers, creating an atmosphere to socialise and drink in.
The emergence of second act Evanda brought about a largish entourage on to the stage. Being a large rap group, at times it seemed as if the crowd on stage was oddly half the size of the crowd below, creating an unsteady disparity between performer and punter. One of the largest shortcomings to Evanda’s set was the lack of a crowd to sink their teeth into, with the group displaying a tenacious effort not being reflected back at them. With audio samplings of rappers overlaid with the odd piece of gunfire, Evanda brought the performance forward with his angry lyrics and quickly paced linguistic rhythms; evoking an image of a young Kanye West. A rapper certainly deserving of a larger crowd, their efforts and music at least reached out to whatever sparse group were in front them, who were jostling away to a pseudo-dougie.
S.O.X aka Tinashe Soko teamed up with Chu, to lay down some emotive poetics. The music and creativity of the two artists complimented each other greatly, with S.O.X’s word-smithery overlaying the chill anthems coming from Chu, it gave way to an impressive duet and marriage between rap and electronica, something which is in vogue in modern hip-hop. With the number of punters growing considerably, a nice aspect of S.O.X’s performance was his interaction with the crowd. Gesturing those standing near the bar to come closer to the stage; his set created a nice, intimate space, complimenting his comments and lyrics on having a good time and loving one another. Hearts on Fire was a highlight of his set, taking his performance down a more heartfelt, emotive path.
Milwaukee Banks pulled in for a past midnight set, receiving much adulation from those who eagerly waited. With those watching in for a treat, Milwaukee Banks thrashed out the beats in earnest hip hop angst. An intrepid mixture of Dyl Thomas’ vocals and Edo’s backbeats, they created a really chill atmosphere, creating an easy opportunity to kick back. Feeling like a breath of fresh air for the hip hop genre, their sound oozed throughout Mojo's. Reincarnated was a highlight of their set, with Thomas dropping into quick paced rap lines propped up by Edo’s acidic melodies. Playing both old tracks and new, you could tell there was a shift in sound between the older material and the new material; the material from Deep Into the Night being more prominent and pronounced. Ending in a flurry of hip hop madness, the small crowd which had coalesced around the stage cheered on, thanking Milwaukee Banks for providing such a crisp set.