Born out of collaborative that had no intention of releasing anything, La Coka Nostra was forged from members post House of Pain, Non Phixion’s Ill Bill as well as actor/rapper Slaine. Unlike most such collaborative that sputter out and realise nothing, 2009 found the supergroup of sorts push out the first release under the La Coka Nostra name with A Brand You can Trust, a late entry due to the other projects of the member concerned.
Disorderly Conduct, composed of ‘4 teenage emcees chasing their dream’ took the baton off Scrawlz. Hip Hop history is in the blood for the four, with their tracks containing the well-known whoops of KRS-One, with the beat of Hip Hop by Dead Prez making an appearance whilst being blended into a set of original verses and tracks such as Three Kings.
Switchblade hit the stage accompanied by Rizen, who still made the stage on a busted leg, despite doctor’s orders. The duo smashed out a set of the new and old, with the likes of the frenetic Put ‘Em UP bleeding into the likes of the reflective Life Lessons. Older material also got a look in with Do it right now, a cut off Switchblade’s first major release. This preceded the madness of multimember outfit Screw Loose, who like Disorderly Conduct wove some recognisable samples into the set. Kicking off with the well-known sounds of Simon Says, the set included verses dropped over the sample of Feel Good Inc. Diversity marked the session, a track about hunger had a xylophone heavy lounge beat, whilst blues guitar permeated other tracks with the light rig memorably turning up the red when the group was “Calling on the blood spirit”.
The supports acted as intended in stoking the anticipation of the main act for this Sunday night. Fuck Tony Montanta got an early run out, the track highlighting society fascination with the criminal underworld. Slain got on centre stage to rip through tracks from his solo debut A World with No Skies, before Ill Bill got his chance to rip into his works in the form of Peace Sells. Slaine then snapped things back to the present with lead track off his latest album, The King of Everything else via No Handouts.
The back and forth between the two continued as rapid as Ill Bill’s delivery. With Cult Leader, the audience got a peek into the cult of personality that is relevant in his home country, following this up with I’m an American was an inspired move, the track which samples Charles Manson only furthering to reinforce these notions.
Mossad continued this cerebral approach, the Israeli secret service being referenced like in the track due to its influence on world events. Slaine then chose to take a moment to ask who had work tomorrow before launching into 99 Bottles. The track, with its namecheck to John McEnroe created the perfect reference to that famous House of Pain track, with Danny Boy’s efforts on stage on reinforcing this history. A rendition of Who’s the Man continued to reinforce these links, whilst with the DJ Premier produced Mind your Business, the comradery that exists in the Hip Hop scene was pushed to the front, wherever the comrades may be.
It had been a kinetic set thus far, doubly so for La Coka Nosta as this was the last night of the tour. The group acknowledged the pace that had been set, acknowledging that this the first time the group as a whole had been in Perth, also acknowledging rock royalty that is Bon Scott was buried here. A rousing rendition of Shamrocks and Shenanigans forced this point home, the far more rock infused sounds of the Butch Vig remix served to not only reflect Bon Scott’s influence but also served to mesh better with the themes that permeate the “typical” La Coka Nostra set. Other weighty topics were reinserted into the set after this breather of sorts, Black Helicopters had the middle fingers up and touched on the increasing militarization of police as seen in Ferguson, Missouri, whilst Anatomy of a School shooting looked from the perspective of the perpetrators, a view point usually not considered in the hysteria of such a media heavy event. Leaving the audience with Murder World, it was a sharp, punch in the gut set from a group not willing to shy away from some of grim and grimy aspects of life.
Sunday can be an awkward night to handle as far as the audience is concerned, but it is a sign that sleepy Perth has a grown up a bit, being even able to be hold something like this before the start of the working week. For the passionate fans who were assembled, they wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, damn the consequences tomorrow would bring.
By David Coffey