In what was a dreary winter evening in Melbourne, nature beat enthusiast and Kanye West sympathiser Flamingo Jones did his best to alleviate the cold with his tropical flavour.
Celebrating the release of his latest single ‘Sebastian’, the launch was held at the murky Hugs & Kisses. A members-only bar where the only requirement for membership is a valid email address.
That’s not some cute tagline. The bouncer genuinely asked to see my membership confirmation email before entry.
In many ways the venue delivered a perfect setting for the evening. With the entrance down a narrow city laneway, the walls oozed with character and history beyond the countless sticker bombs or graffiti tags. The artificial smoke hung in the air to create a hauntingly grungy atmosphere, almost typifying the character of the concrete jungle that engulfed it.
First up in the bill was electronic duo Shouse. Recently announced on the upcoming Paradise line-up, I took such a selection as a bode of confidence. Unfortunately I could only catch the back half of their set. Playing to a criminally undersized crowd, their composure and array of eclectic beats was nevertheless impressive. Looking forward to seeing a complete set at Lake Mountain.
Following on and coming straight out of a time warp from the 90’s was Urban Problems. Dressed up in outfits that befit the 90’s rave scene and swamped with old school stage décor (the desktop computer acting as decks was fantastic), Urban Problems started off at extreme heat and didn’t cool off. The trio, made up of Lil’ Miss, The Pope of Rap and Bass da Pimp, play a form of 90’s retro house mixed with hip-hop styling of MC Hammer...and it's an incredible joy to experience. Honestly, I was never quite sure whether I was watching an exceptionally executed and elaborate joke or an act that simply relished the cheesy nature of their genre with comprehensive sincerity.
The Pope of Rap delivered an incredibly risky move when he pulled up a girl from the adoring crowd, sat her on a chair and serenaded her. But it didn’t feel forced or corny, it was indisputably entertaining. Was it staged? Maybe, but I don't care. I can’t think of any Melbourne acts I’ve ever seen that could pull something like that off like Urban Problems.
With the stage quickly covered in palm branches and the brightly coloured visuals draping the backdrop, Flamingo Jones transformed the room into his own humid tropical cave. Since dropping his EP last year, Jones has appeared at a number of shows around Melbourne, including a sweltering afternoon slot at the inaugural Shady Cottage festival. Since then, he has returned with his new single ‘Sebastian’ and expanded his line up to feature a saxophonist. Jones’ collection of tracks eloquently flow together as his mixture of live instrumentation and electronic beats create a quirky composition of indie, house and of course, tropicalia. Despite some technical difficulties and some lanky giraffe-like members of the audience blocking the visual projections with their head, the group persevered unshaken to deliver a bouncy set. Ending with ‘Sebastian’, which received considerable applause, it’s clear that Flamingo Jones is building a platform for big things in the coming future.
Unfortunately following this show, one of band member's had their car stolen full of musical equipment belonging to Flamingo Jones and DIET.
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Alex Capper, once affectionally called by Ross & John of 3AW as the '7 foot fucker', loves the Essendon Football Club, stalking reddit and dabbing. He thinks he can speak French, but he can't.