Ellesquire + Tuka @ Newtown Hotel, Sydney 8/6/13
Saturday night in Sydney saw good mates Tuka, Ellesquire & Jones Jr (unfortunately I missed these guys-next time!) take the stage for a free gig being put on for punters at the Newtown Hotel. Held on the eve of Come Together Festival, this gig seemingly allowed the artists to relax, unwind and enjoy the live element to their trade.
It might not have come at a better time, for both the punters on the night and the two Sydney locals from Big Village, as the lads have been busy of late.
Ellesquire has recently dropped The Messtape a quality mix-tape filled to the brim with his rhythmic flow, bouncy beats and an endearing honesty that regularly crosses over into self-deprecating humor.
2 albums deep with his crew Thundamentals, which also featured DJ Morgs, Tuka released his acclaimed second solo album last October, Feedback Loop, an album that will “broaden your mind both musically & mentally,” with help from production crew Sleepers Awake. While this is a big claim, Tuka’s clinical delivery combined with his earthy and carefully distilled lyrics place him in good stead to come good on that promise.
Here’s a cool live clip he did for one of his singles, ‘Alibi’…
Walking through the front doors, a wave of rolling conversation immediately assaults the ear-drums, as a capacity crowd has the ground floor of the joint sounding like an excited hornets nest. More people come in behind me and cock their elbows for the battle to the bar as entrenched staff fight a constant onslaught of thirsty punters.
Ellesquire hits the stage at about 9:15pm to a packed ground floor. Bringing a set that largely featured tracks from his Messtape, as well as a few from his previous LP Ready, Ellesquire quickly had heads nodding and heels clicking as the wall-to-wall crowd jammed out to a largely successful stint on stage. Crowd favorites included ‘Dosie Doe’, Cricket In The House’ & ‘On The Prowl’. ‘Dosie Doe’; delivered in Ellesquire’s casually confident manner -drips with quality and is almost overwhelmed by a quirky beat. ‘Cricket In The House’ is a track about a seemingly trivial event. I changed my mind when after playing this track Ellesquire told the crowd that there was a bit more to it and that the track could be a metaphor for something-I’d assumed it was just a throwaway number-fun, but nothing more. Finishing strong, Ellesquire closed with crowd favourite ‘On The Prowl’, a jazz-layered joint from his first album. The crowd dug it and he was given a strong amount of love before climbing down off-stage.
Towards the end of his set Ellesquire, due to Jeswon’s absence, he asked if there were any MC’s in the audience and way too many people put their hands up. Nuff Said. A young lad did end up joining Ellesquire on stage for a couple of minutes to play around with some four-bar ‘tomfoollery’ and the crowd was nice enough to the young fella. It is that kind of interaction, and the accessibility that this gives the audience to Ellesquire, combined with his dope flow that will see momentum continue to build around this artist from Big Village.
After a brief break to allow punters time to unload and re-stock on liquid Tuka took the stage after 10pm and immediately had people moving from the front to back walls. The crowd was responsive to a typically tight display from an experienced artist who appears to have worked hard on his craft over time. He energetically commanded the full attention of the packed-out crowd that, by then, were fully boozed and noticeably enjoying themselves, dropping joints from both of his albums. A track that has been getting play-time on JJJ lately, ‘Die a Happy Man’, was a crowd favorite and Tuka had fun with it, talking with the rowdy front row. Tuka also pulled out his cover of Chet Faker’s ‘I’m Into You’, which he performed on Like A Version, and the buzzing crowd frothed on it. Half-way through his set Tuka had Ellesquire jump on stage for a track. They each had a distinctly different style of delivery and yet they held a chemistry that had the crowd barking out for more. Ellesquire stayed on stage with Tuka for the rest of the set to the crowds obvious enjoyment. Tuka’s DJ was covered up “ninja style” with only his eyes visible, keeping it stealthy.
With the Newtown Hotel at capacity and a crowd of eclectic punters thirsty for a good show, Ellesquire & Tuka certainly delivered. Great show.
Props to the DJ’s.