Illy: Two Degrees Tour
Words by Tiahni Adamson
Australian Hip Hop artist, Illy, performed in front of his biggest crowd ever in Adelaide on Friday night.
The concert began with Triple J Unearthed artist, Maribelle and hip hop duo Spit Syndicate. Both pre-acts had the crowd edging toward the stage and lifted the energy of fans in preparation for Illy. Following was DJ Paces, who hyped up the crowd with his high-energy DJ set. Paces was accompanied by two dancers who elevated the audience with their slightly seductive dance style. The show was for all ages and Paces certainly accommodated for that despite never having played at an all ages event before.
I did feel as though three pre-acts was probably quite excessive, as most of the crowd only arrived in time for Spit Syndicate or DJ Paces. Starting a hip-hop concert at 7pm is probably a bit early for anyone over the age of 16 and I would recommend starting at a later time with more focus on the main event.
Victoria’s Illy, formally known as Alasdair Murray, entered the stage at about 945pm. The lights were dimmed, and black and white scramble covered the electric screens as low dance music began to seep from the speakers. Fans instantly screamed in excitement at the slow entrance of Illy’s presence, and set off in another frenzy when he announced himself with ‘Yeah yeah’ into the mic. Illy then entered from side stage and the crowd let loose, cheering and screaming upon his arrival.
Accompanying Illy were his back-up singer/DJ, and drummer, who were both full of energy and really aided the success of the show.
The opening song was ‘Forget It’ from his new album ‘Two Degrees’ and the lyrics appeared on screen, encouraging the audience to join in. ‘Young Bloods’ was played next with red lighting followed by enough flashing strobe lights to make the seated audience above stage feel like they were having an epileptic fit. The music was great, but the high beam strobe lighting was way too much for me to handle and I ended up covering my eyes for most of the song.
Following this was ‘Hazard to Myself’, ‘Looks Could Kill’ and then ‘On and On’ which was beautifully dedicated to his grandmother who passed away a few days earlier.
‘Catch 22’ enraptured fans into a pit of singing, shoulder riding, hip-hop fanatics, which was then mellowed down by the emotional and soulful song ‘Cigarettes’, created 7 years ago.
‘Two Degrees’ had the crowd unified with their hands up, where Illy spread a powerful message about the need for a revolution. The drum solo at the close of ‘Two Degrees’ was incredible, which was then softened again by ‘Extra Extra’ and ‘It Can Wait’.
Illy stood onstage where the lighting made his body look like a shadow. Silhouettes of his figure danced across the walls as he walked around the stage singing ‘Truce’, which presented a brief snippet of his journey through music and life. ‘You Say When’, ‘Swear Jar’ and his Triple J like-a-version mix up maintained the positive vibes throughout the crowd before tuning into ‘Tightrope’, which the everyone knew all the words to.
‘Highway’ finished the set before Illy left stage, only to be cheered back on for a four-song encore.
‘One for the City’ had fans echoing lyrics before breaking into dance to ‘Oh My’. Another like-a-version of ‘High’ by Peking Duk had the entire crowd squatting low together and jumping up as the beat dropped, connecting Illy admirers. ‘Paper Cuts’ was the final song of the night, which was the biggest song of all. Fans embraced, rocked and shouted lyrics to the top of their lungs and commended the night’s performance with everlasting clapping and cheering as Illy exited the stage.
Personally, hip hop and DJ dance sets are not usually my scene of music; but seeing the way in which different people from all walks of life were interwoven to emotionally connect through music, was absolutely incredible.
Illy had unbelievable energy on stage and presented himself to be genuinely grateful for the support he receives from his fans. Ensure you see Illy’s Two Degrees tour, travelling Australia through April 2017.