‘El Sol’ Average Rap Bands’ second album was brought to life ANZAC Day Eve at Boney. Produced by local Melbournian, Winters, ‘El Sol’ (described by the group as) “rebelling against the duo’s former magnum opus ‘@Peace and The Plutonian Noise Symphony”, sees Tom Scott and Lui Tuiasau create a feel good mix of comedic, enlightened, honest and signature average music recorded during the scorching 42 degree days in their adopted home Collingwood, Melbourne.
Performing in what feels like 42 degree temperature in the top floor at Boney, the night begins with the funky Leonard Charles, a fellow New Zealand descendent. The crowd don’t really know what to expect in terms of performance, but Charles gets right to it. Holding up his Game Boy, the crowd are instantly drawn in, as am I. He puts the Game Boy down beginning to jam to the beats being put through it, taking you back to that a sense of nostalgia when you were 8 and had no cares in the world, except this Game Boy beat is a whole lot funkier. After playing a few tracks Charles brings out his electric guitar, the mood lifts once again, jumping off the stage into the crowd, rolling on the ground whilst still jamming. Like a true musician, a true performer. The set ends with a Game Boy rendition of J Dilla, a dedication to the deceased creative legend.
As Leonard Charles begins to set up his instruments for the main act, the crowd begin to get more restless, they know it is almost time to see the self dubbed “Worlds Most Average Rap Band” right before their eyes, the energy begins to fill the room, I can feel it too. I had been telling my friend that I could die happy if I was able to see the first track off the album; “Intro (42 Degrees)” live. Since the album dropped in March, I had it on repeat, a slow yet powerful tune that gives you an uplighting feeling as you yell “Don’t the world just look so beautiful today” with your arms stretching out towards the heavens.
Tom & Lui walk on stage, fiddle with their microphones and look out at us, the crowd. The question in my mind keeps repeating, “are they going to play it?”. The duo look down as they prepare to get into tune with the vibrations and frequencies in the room. I hear the slow chord of the guitar play, Lui grabs his microphone and says the words I’ve been wanting to hear ever since I pressed play. For me this song wasn’t just about hearing it, but experiencing how the two would perform it physically. I wasn’t disappointed, Lui keeps his cool calm composure, allowing Tom to take a step back, close his eyes and just let his body go with the music. A combination that works perfectly with how the song flows. As the drums kick in, Tom starts beating his hand on his heart as he lets out the lyrics. A sight of raw emotion that I have never really seen before (espeically not at a $15 gig), he looked like a man giving his all, as if it was his last time on stage. That was the only time I had my phone out all night, I had couldn’t not capture something that meant so much.
The next song to come was ‘El Sol’ where Lui steals the show with a his signature flow in a verse that discusses the sun, moon and Christ. A crowd favourite and a verse that I think is one of, if not the best on the album. "Pool Side" and "Pizza Man" are also standout songs, with every word being rapped back to the duo from the audience. The next two songs "Jealous" and "What Am I Doing With My Life?" are the most hyped of the album. "Jealous" sees Tom and Lui get into character of a make believe couple with the two verses showing both sides to the common mistrust seen in relationships these days, with Lui performing Jane Deezy's verse, which has every lady in the audience letting their significant other know that they best be keeping in line. "What Am I Doing With My Life?" is an honest anecdote of the hardships of trying to break into the industry, all its roadblocks that make you think the exact title of the song. With shots being thrown at the front door security, bar tenders, sound men, tour promotors. Tom takes this chance to clown around with those being called out by Lui. Tom's verse takes aim at the audience, which in turn gets the audience more rowdy, acting out all the idiotic gestures he describes, from people yawning to watching the whole show on their cellphone. The slow, quiet beat then erupts and for a moment the mood feels that of a heavy metal concert, people are jumping all over each other, Tom standing on the edge of the stage leaning into the crowd has 15 people grabbing for him.
The night ends with "Entertainment" which pays tribute to the fallen musicians whose music never made it out the mainstream, or to a large demographic, no matter its quality or message. As well as the hardships of being seen in society as an entertainer, living up to its name. A look into the ideology that is Average Rap Band, making what the music they want for themselves, for us, not for the fame of it. As the beat continues Tom walks to the edge of the stage, he begins to tell everyone collectively, looking directly into the audiences eyes that you don't need to follow a trend, you don't need to listen to those who say you can't do or be great, you just need to be yourself. That you can do whatever it is you want, worrying about anyone but the individual self is going to do nothing but harm, these people don't matter, it is you that matters.
The two men then walk off stage into the audience and disappear into the sea of people. I turn to my friend with a smile on my face, beer running down my head from the cups of those behind me, "that was the best $15 I've ever spent".
All words & images by Wilhelm Philipp.
You can download 'El Sol' here.