For the denizens of Perth, Wednesday night is usually a quiet one, a time to rest up before the antics of the weekend begin. For the creators of The Hop however, it was a time for one to get their groove on whilst the rest of the city sleeps. All good things must come to an end however and this Hop was going to be the final one before it was shuffled into retirement, after a year of providing quality midweek hip hop entertainment for the Perth masses.
Kicking things off before the main event was local emcee Knoe in support of the release of his Lemonade EP. Thus far, we’ve had tantalising sips, a track here and a video there in anticipation of this release. Wednesday night however, was about putting it on front street, with the EP dropping the next day. Starting things early with a political edge with Free Them, the set quickly moved into the piano groove of title track Lemonade. After a short Intermission, it was back to the task at hand, Bobby Fischer, the track taking its name from the “eccentric” former world chess champion typifies the cerebral nature hip hop can adopt, if it chooses to. This flowed into Was It Worth It, a track that covers the emcee having a sort of existential crisis, questing the core of himself and with heartfelt honesty that is rarely seen in a scene full of bravado.
A continuation of the chess theme can be found in the emcees’ other work in the form of Yeah, which samples the life on the street drama The Wire, whilst Swing, with its samples of the avant-garde emcee MF Doom shows that every move is planned by the Perth emcee, with the attention to detail appreciated by many in the audience. Capping off the set off was Push, which featured Skyzoo, just one of the many guests that has graced The Hop during its duration.
With the pre-show over, it was time for the main event. David Dallas took to the stage and his arrival drew rapturous cheers from his fellow countrymen and women packing out the joint. The set kicked off with the atmospheric The Wire, which like on the album Falling into Place, flowed seamlessly into Transmitting Live. Drawing from his other works in the form of The Rose Tint, Dallas launched into Caught In a Daze, an apt summary of the career the New Zealand artist has had. The good vibes continued with Till Tomorrow, the rhymes over the Ratatat beat a reminder of the transient nature of life. The Jamiroquai-inspired Ever Get That Feeling got things funky, whilst Big Time, off Dallas‘ first solo effort, Something Awesome, continued themes present in his work, such as musings about making an impact on the wider world via his music, whilst never forgetting his roots or the importance of his home country. The excellently produced Indulge Me, a track about the connections one makes at a club saw an opportunity for Dallas to introduce one half of Fire & Ice, the production team responsible for the execution of Dallas‘ creative vision and evidence of the benefits of a long term working relationship can have on the creative output .
A rendition of South Side brought home the importance of home, whilst Follow recalled Dallas growing up, opting to be involved in music instead of the national obsession that is rugby. Take A Picture, with its commentary on the modern age had the emcee cheekily announcing ‘If you want a photo, this is the moment’, the line in the track a reflection on how we experience concerts now.
The night drew to an end with Runnin’, its quality seeing it included on the FIFA 2014 soundtrack and its universal themes of running from and to life striking a chord with many. It being a Wednesday night and the sites’ past history with noise complaints, it was obvious that the set wasn’t going to go past midnight, but Dallas graciously opted to hang around on stage for people to take selfies.
So with the year over, thus ends The Hop for now but it’s been a great year on many fronts in this city. With hindsight The Hop will be seen as being ahead of the time, hopefully seeing a resurrection when Perth becomes open to more mid-week partying. It’s the sort of event that’s been pretty laid back, I bore witness to one gent falling off a table after drunkenly dancing and land perfectly upright on a seat. Normally that would’ve of gotten people kicked out, but here it was no harm, no foul, as the individual in question was clearly having a great time. Progress will only happen when people are willing to push the limits, with this city certainly in need of more trailblazers like the organisers of The Hop.
By David Coffey
David Dallas Photo: Jessica Sim