Metro Theatre, Friday 7th August 2015
Last Friday night, my friends and I finally got to see a man that we’d been very much waiting to see for a few years now. That man is Perth hip-hop extraordinaire, Drapht; and I’m very glad to report that good things indeed do come to those who wait.
Over the years, especially since his breakthrough album, ‘Brothers Grimm’, in 2008, Drapht has created a very distinct sound for himself. Full of 50’s reminiscent, blues guitar riffs, whistles and jazzy, cymbal fueled drumbeats, Drapht’s instantly recognizable voice and flow has taken him to the absolute heights of Australian hip-hop. The Metro Theatre’s tight floor space was the perfect venue for all his music’s energy to be realized live; for an Aussie hip-hop show, the crowd was ridiculous. From even before the first minute, all the way to the very end, everyone was on high energy alert, singing and jumping around, having the time of their lives. It’s shows like this that remind us just why we go to see live music in the first place.
Drapht captured the audience immediately, performing with a confidence and bravado of a seasoned veteran; he knew he was there to entertain and that’s exactly what he did. This was reflected in his understanding of the importance of the set list. Rather than risk losing the crowd with a long-winded delivery full of tracks from his extensive catalogue, Drapht played a concise collective, celebrating all his greatest achievements, crowd pleasers and new songs from his upcoming, unnamed album. This ensured the mood never once dropped, and the fans in attendance savored every moment. I must also congratulate the supporting act, Adelaide’s, Funkoars for their contribution. They rocked the house down with their performance and had the entire venue more than ready for Drapht’s introduction, making his performance all the more sweet. Should they come back to play in Sydney again, they’ll be seeing me in the front row.
Drapht opened the show with his fan favourite, ‘Sing It (The Life Of Riley)’, and this proved to be a masterstroke. He performed impeccably, and the sound of the crowd’s response coupled with the blaring speakers was near deafening – just the way we like it. Drapht continued on, asking of the audience if they’d wish to hear some new songs; a rapturous applause of approval granted him the permission to quickly move straight into his latest single, and the headline of the tour, ‘Dancin’ John Doe’. This was an undertaking executed in such a way that my appreciation for the track skyrocketed. He has a far more instrumentally expansive hook throughout this song that he hasn’t really experimented with before, resulting in this beautiful blend of hip-hop and 30’s swing. It hadn’t really hit me just how good this song was until I observed how it affected the audience, perhaps securing one of the most positive responses of the entire night. There wasn’ta person in attendance not dancing away instinctively, and this positivity carried over into the rest of the show.
He then proceeded to play a medley of new tracks and songs from his past two albums, including, ‘Down’, ‘Won’t Listen When’, the hugely popular, ‘Jimmy Recard’, and a personal highlight of the night, ‘The Paul The Dan’. ‘The Paul’, refers to Drapht’s well-documented actual name, Paul Reid, and, ‘The Dan’, being Funkoars’ MC and producer, ‘Trials’, real name, ‘Daniel Rankine’. Trials came out from backstage and together with Drapht, unquestionably nailed the track, each man bouncing from one side of the stage to the other, Drapht even jumping on top of the bass drum at a few different points, rapping while impressively balancing himself in front of his drummer.
Drapht finished the show with an incredible performance of his mega-hit, ‘Rapunzel’, and true to form, the crowd basically went insane, rapping along as if they were each Drapht himself. This song was the quintessential example of the power of his voice, and his uncanny ability to switch up his tempo seamlessly, effortlessly shifting from rapping quick to singing and holding longer notes, to rapping at a much slower pace; he demonstrated here exactly what makes him so unique; which has further reinforced for me a greater appreciation for his talent. After saying thank you to Sydney and ducking out to side left, he was recalled instantly and assertively for what would form the encore, ‘Take The Party With Us’, which he performed with Funkoars. I felt, considering the job that both acts did that night, this was a fitting and humbling end to the show.
For years, I’ve been a big fan of Drapht’s, eagerly awaiting a chance to see him in person. Now that I’ve finally been able to take that chance, I can confidently say that my support for him has only gotten stronger. His show was absolutely electric and one of, if not the most enjoyable, hip-hop shows I’ve ever been to. Drapht’s new album will be out later this year, and I couldn’t be more excited to give it a well-deserved listen. I suggest you do the same.
Joshua Di Matteo