The Triple Zed news team won a national CBAA award for Youth Contribution in 2009. This award recognised the news team's efforts in highlighting youth issues and providing a voice for marginalised groups.
Aesop Rock, Kimya Dawson, Rick Fights
Opener Rick Fights, stepping out solo from his main act, I Heart Hiroshima, is definitely an interesting choice to open. With dark, lo-fi songs that remind slightly of Gareth Liddiard, he doesn't really fit with either main act tonight, but that works perfectly, given their already unusual pairing.
The main show starts with a couple of collaborations between Kimya and Aesop, with just acoustic guitar as backing. They’re nice songs, and suit Kimya well, but Aesop’s flow works better with beats backing him and he seems a little uncomfortable on opener Delicate Cycle, so it doesn’t end up showing either of them at their best. They banter with each other and the audience and clearly share mutual respect though, so while the songs may not be amazing, it’s still a pleasant opening.
Once Aesop wanders off-sage and it settles into a Kimya Dawson set, she turns on the charm and presents a lovely mixture of old and new tracks. The crowd is small, but it’s vocal and enthusiastic, and a group of happy-shouting girls up the front inspire a lot of interaction from Kimya, who handles it with bashful gratitude. New song Miami Advice seems to have borrowed its chorus melody from Neutral Milk Hotel’s Little Birds (seriously, the vocal line is almost a perfect match), which is distracting but cool, and Tyre Swing is always lovely to hear. After that, it’s time for a bit of audience participation as Kimya pulls a few songs from her children’s album Alphabutt. In typical fashion, these children’s songs include simulated fellatio on the microphone, discussion of bodily functions and a song that she explains is about how much she likes hairy gay men (entitled “I Like Bears”).
After the Alphabutt tracks, the song-selection becomes sadder, and the banter a lot more confessional; discussion of depression, sobriety stemming from alcoholism, and dead friends. I Like Giants perks things up again and Aesop Rock comes back on stage for a couple more new songs. Walk Like Thunder, off Kimya’s new album Thunder Thighs, continues the sadness, but it’s a great track; by itself a good enough argument to pick the album up. They also preview a track off their forthcoming collaborative album and it’s a great mixture of their styles, raising my view of the record from novelty value to genuine interest.
Kimya is a wonderful performer, full of talent and charisma and although the Hi-Fi really isn't the best setting for her, she handles it well and puts on a great show. It’s been the show of a head-liner though, and leaves me feeling more like relaxing with friends than getting pumped for Aesop Rock. The problem of a combination like this, I suppose.
When Aesop takes to the stage with Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, any lack of energy is immediately overcome and the crowd is obviously pumped. Both MCs are natural front-men and are skilled at getting the audience involved while spitting rhymes at a startling pace. The vocal flow is impressive and their interaction with the crowd polished. The early call-response section is typically Brisbane (polite, not very enthusiastic), but when they tell everyone to get their hands in the air, a veritable ocean arises.
Unfortunately, the combination of some problems with the sound at the venue (melody buried under the bass and snare) and a certain lack of variety in Aesop Rock’s style made proceedings a bit repetitive after a little while. The MCs were entertaining throughout, but for a casual fan like myself there wasn’t enough to catch my attention from one song to another and they tended to blur together. DJ Big Wiz’s exhibit of turntablism is probably the biggest example of the problems. It was clearly skilful, but not different enough to be interesting and I was starting to find the sound a bit physically tiring by that point. Chatting to some friends afterwards, this feeling was far from universal though, and perhaps a closer knowledge of the songs made it easier to fill in the gaps.
Kimya came back out towards the end of the set and joined in on two more collaborative tracks. While she is clearly more comfortable over her guitar, she worked better with the beats than Aesop had without, and these tracks were some of the best of the set. Closing track None Shall Pass and unexpected encore Pigs were highlights as well and while I was pleased to finally head home, it definitely ensured that proceedings closed on a high note.