Hilltop Hoods @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre Review

  • Written by  Rebecca Fawcett-Smith
  • Monday, 11 April 2016 18:59
Hilltop Hoods at Brisbane Entertainment Centre 8 April, 2016 Hilltop Hoods at Brisbane Entertainment Centre 8 April, 2016 Image © Charlyn Cameron

A hip hop group, symphony orchestra, pyrotechnics and choir make strange bedfellows.

But at the Hilltop Hoods’ Brisbane leg of The Restrung Tour (8 April), this eclectic arrangement brought the perfect level of grandeur to the group’s biggest Brisbane show to date.

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There were no prima donna delays from this home-grown trio. Smack bang on 9:30pm, the curtains parted to reveal the Queensland Symphony Orchestra led by New Zealand-born conductor, Hamish McKeich.

HH.2Image © Charlyn Cameron

A soaring instrumental punctuated by the ethereal voices of the Queensland Show Choir preceded the arrival of emcees Suffa and Pressure and DJ Debris to the stage, where they launched into ‘Higher’.

Throughout the show, Suffa and Pressure delivered seamlessly-synchronised lyrics to songs including ‘The Hard Road’, ‘Chase That Feeling’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘I Love It’ as they bounced and sprinted across the stage. Even a self-confessed slip of the tongue by Suffa did not slow the pace. Enforcing a rule borrowed from Public Enemy, Suffa smashed out 20 push-ups as Pressure and the crowd counted down in unison.

HH.3Image © Charlyn Cameron

The camaraderie between artist and audience didn’t stop there. From the spontaneous fast-clapping of the crowd that spurred the rising tempo of the tracks, to the phone-lit reverie of Pressure’s ‘Through The Dark’, the synergy between fan and performer was the likes of which I, nor my plus one, had ever before encountered.

MaverickMaverick Sabre - Image © Charlyn Cameron

The line-up of special guests provided opportunities for multiple shout outs throughout the night. Brisbane singer, Sinead Burgess, lent her vocals to ‘1955’ and one half of the night’s support acts, English-Irish singer Maverick Sabre, returned to the stage to perform ‘Live And Let Go’ and the crowd rousing ‘Won’t Let You Down’. On drums was Australian music producer, drummer and DJ, Plutonic Lab.

HH.4Image © Charlyn Cameron

Presiding over the stage, DJ Debris’ cuts provided brief reprieves for the emcees, most notably during the introduction to ‘The Nosebleed Section’. A masterfully interwoven ‘Shredding The Balloon’ and Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ signalled the end of the official set.

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‘Cosby Sweater’ kicked off the encore, and like Christina Aguilera the crowd let themselves go. The euphoria of the crowd was lifted further by the surprise appearance of Melbourne hip hop artist Illy, who had reportedly flown to Brisbane for the sole purpose of joining the lads for the track.

HH.5Image © Charlyn Cameron

The last song of the set, ‘Rattling The Keys To The Kingdom’, was halted midway by Suffa who introduced a Hilltop Hood game requiring each audience member to take off one item of clothing. “I don’t care if it’s a shirt, shoe, cardigan, cap, sock or Cosby sweater. I don’t care what it is. I don’t even care if it’s a piece of clothing; if it’s a purse, a handbag, whatever,” said Suffa. “Take that shit, put that shit up. Let me see you Brisbane!”

Judging by the speed at which the gent in front of me whipped off his t-shirt and the sea of swirling apparel above the heads of the crowd, Brisbane was only too happy to heed the call.


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