Settling Down with Urthboy

Steph Payton hit up Settlers Tavern over the long weekend to catch Urthboy in the intimate country venue.

Travelling down to Settlers Tavern in Margaret River for the WA long weekend last Sunday, Urthboy gave us plenty of reasons to be happy for another tour so soon off the back of “The Past Beats Inside Me Like A Second Heartbeat”.  Showing off his latest track “Crushing Hard” with fellow MC Joyride and budding act Alice Ivy, the Sydney-sider arrived fresh and ready, pulling no punches for the small town show.

Melbourne multi-instrumentalist Alice Ivy set the mood for doors open with her brand of soul electronica.  Although slow to start with, the vague minimal beats steadily gained traction to take a clearer shape by the end of the set as each live component was introduced.  Ivy’s vocals firm and deep with a touch of sultry added a nice element to the building vibes.  Throwing in a hint of Avalanche-esque samples here and a crisp guitar hook there before jumping to a hurried drum beat, the energy coming from the green lit stage had enticed a few punters from the light of the bar to practice some courageous dance moves by the last notes.

Joyride summoned the crowd like the pied piper of pubs as he began his set by cooing the customarily anthemic “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston, patrons bursting through the door from the courtyard outside to throw their arms up and belt out the words devotedly.  Now that he had his audience Joyride set about introductions, asking everyone to be patient as he clarified there would be no tracks from his One Day or Meeting Tree projects.  Moving onto a song about loving someone deeply, suitably titled “Stay Away From Me”, Joyride held onto the crowd for the duration of the set as people buzzed around the floor keen for the main act. Finishing with a cover of WA group Methyl Ethyl’s “Twilight Driving” it was a collectedly calming set with that subtle note of sass ever present throughout the performance.

Having claimed their front row spots, the room lit up as Urthboy hit the stage with his usual crew in tow, Jayteehazard taking to the decks while Meklit Kibret, Claire Nakazawa and Ev Jones were positioned and ready to keep up the pace.  In a flawlessly choreographed set the group spun tracks from all over Urthboy’s discography, playing to both the older fans in the crowd and those there just to warble along to the opening base of “Long Loud Hours”.  The dynamic coming from the stage was addictive as they cruised through tracks like “Arrow” and “Daughter of the Light”, Jones and Kibret nailing the solo vocals to the clear excitement of the crowd, the set list became a continual ebb and flow as the crew seamlessly wound their way across the stage.

Removing the ‘bra’ that had been supporting his very recently broken ribs, Urthboy laughed it off before passionately declaring that he had only ever cancelled a show once, when his daughter was born and he wasn’t able to play Bunbury’s Groovin the Moo.  Throwing in a unique mix up to crowd favourites “Knee Length Socks” and “Nambucca Boy” (the Phillip Hughes tribute), you would be forgiven for having no idea about any injuries present as he bounced around as emphatically as the others.  Finishing on a high with his latest track “Crushing Hard” and original classic “Signal” it was no wonder the crowd were chanting for encore before the stage was even clear.

Returning for a last energetic burst, Urthboy and his crew ended on the track the room seemed to be waiting for, as we all stood tall and chanted along to their Like A Version of Meg Mac’s “Roll Up Your Sleeves”, the outstretched arms of the crowd overlapping with the held out mics as the artists stood on the stage edge.

Pouring in the passionate dedication to their show that Australian hip hop acts are building a reputation for, the authentic lyrics and open delivery makes it feel like family when Urthboy hits the stage.  Leaving punters seriously crushing as they raced for the merch desk, the set didn’t back down for a minute and brought some seriously lovely vibes to Margaret River.

Steph Payton

Steph describes herself as a walking, talking Shazam, due to her being able to recognise any song and immediately pick its name, artist and probably who produced it and when. She enjoys festivals, puppers and being better than Joe Wilson.

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