The Underachievers & Mick Jenkins – The Triffid
After releasing his first full length album ‘The Healing Component’, dark rap master Mick Jenkins has been touring the world with the his intricate rap playlists really solidifying his name for himself. Brisbane was lucky enough to see him bring a double billed night with The Underachievers with the Australian local Baro as support. The Triffid had no idea for the night that was to come.
To kick off the night to the growing crowd, Melbourne’s Baro hit the stage to show off his intimate hip-hop flare. Baro has been on some big bills since his come up as a 17 year old and has evidently started to find solidity in his genre. His set was an emotional wave full of love lyrics that had us all shifting our feet. He featured some awkward interactions with the crowd that only added charisma to his set. Bringing out some call and response, raw, hard hitting songs like Pretty, Travelling Through Time, Wdubi and Lay You Down/Sexy he almost embodied a vintage picture that had been hanging in your grandparents house since you can remember. He has one of the smoothest flows to come out of Australia and is definitely an obvious choice to fit a bill as such.
In preparing the crowd for The Underachievers set, their DJ came out and played some iconic bangers from Drake, Kanye, JayZ and Kendrick Lamar which saw the crowd already hyped and bouncing. As the duo calmly walked onto stage, their dynamic beats took over and they got straight into it. Their sound was so full of energy and grunt, while combined with the technicality and pace of their rapping which was sonically very impressive. The duo played through Final Destination, The Mahdi, Take Your Place and Crescendo while acting as both each others hype men and the leaders of their bars. The Underachievers are well known but after seeing their live show they are definitely underacknowledged. They somehow kept their lyrical fluidity through some of their most well known Play That Way, Rep The Set, Herb Shuttles and Gold Soul Theory. Their set was so jam packed with deep bass and beats that are definitely in a similar realm of new wave hip-hop but had late 90’s lyricism. Visually the pair were surrounded in thick streams of light that created a hazy sea of blues and purple. Their confidence filled, churusless set invigoratingly had us sat on cloud 9 at what was true to a solid rap show.
The second half of the double billed night led us to someone who had been well waited for since their last appearance in Australian in 2016, Mick Jenkins. It was late on Sunday night, we were well warmed up and his performing bad filled the stage and we all knew a good time was about to come. He straight away punched through Drowning, Communicate, Like Macgyver and Jazz. The dark jazz influenced beats with his villainous vocals were mind melting will keeping our eyes so very wide open. His lyrical ability, passion and aggression poured out of his live set, especially with the deep bass and drum notes. Mick had revealed to me a new caliber of live rapping. His vocals were so full of clever wordplay and poetic rapping that it was hard to not have your jaw dropped.
His motto “Drink more water!” came across so firmly as he got us to call join in on the chant around 15 times throughout his set. One thing that had set his set apart from so many I have seen was the live mixing and scratching from his DJ, that complemented the live band. Swimming in a sea of purple, red and blue lighting they all cruised through Angels, The Water and Vibe with his poetic steeze. Having played through a bunch of oldies from his several EP’s and album, he also found time to feature some new unreleased songs and his latest Cool while continuously hinting at a new album. He had a ridiculously positive message and was ultimately eye capturing and mesmerising as he pulled out Your Love and Martyrs which unfortunately wounded out the night yet featured some of the loudest raps and best dance moves.
The whole night as a collective was one of the grooviest, dynamic smashing performances I have been in front of. The double billed line up was an incredible way to not only show off two of some of the best rising rap artists but it showcased both headliners as the main acts compared to most shows. Mick Jenkins, The Underachievers and Baro all came out and absolutely smashed their performances and each individually embodying their respective sounds and genres. This show was definitely one for the books.