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BREAKFEST @ Belvoir Amphitheatre gets 8/10


Breakfest @ Belvoir Amphitheatre
Thursday, December 26, 2019

8/10

The Boxing Day tradition continued, as Breakfest rolled by for another year. Perth’s longest running festival continued to show why it’s been a such beloved date on the calendar for so long. A well curated line up of DJs and live acts across the spectrum of broken beats, in the best venue in the state, this year once again brought the good times and smiles.

The thing that really makes Breakfest the best is the crowd. The quality, underground, new-school-meets-old-school line up promoters Boomtick put together results in a discerning, mixed crowd, with a much smaller dickhead ratio than other festivals. The line up does seem to be leaning more heavily on drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep these days, with less actual breakbeat, reflective of the scene. But this festival is about the music and dancing! And there’s no better sight than a packed Belvoir going off, ignited by lights and music.


It was perfect festival weather, and you could feel the excitement early on as Opiou, the Melbourne residing Kiwi, got the good vibes pumping with an energetic and fun set of bouncy breaks. Adding live percussion in the mix, he had an infectious enthusiasm behind the decks.

A big draw for the old breaks heads was the legendary Freestylers – well at least half of them – it was an early set for Aston Harvey (who often DJs solo) representing the London production duo, with the crowd still arriving as he came on at four. The volume could’ve been louder, but his set was an early highlight, bringing the heavy, old skool b-boy breaks and big basslines.

Makoto and MC Fava with Me and Sarah

Scam’s Get Up and Dance was effective, and The Freestylers’ Ruffneck feat. Navigator from their classic 1998 debut We Rock Hard got the bowl bouncing. Hopefully he comes back soon with Matt Cantor, as their DJ sets together are the stuff of legend. He also got the chance to rock Jack Rabbit Slim’s later on at the after party.

Up top, the Hi Line Open Air stage was pulling a big crowd all day. Dublin duo Cause N Effect played a cool, fresh brand of drum ‘n’ bass with other elements thrown in the mix, before the Perth debut of Japanese DJ Makoto saw the crowd swell around 4.30pm. He was announced onstage by MC Fava, whose big presence, dreads and smooth flow complemented Makoto’s intricate, jazzy blend of Tokyo-via-London d’n’b. Rolling beats in the LTJ Bukem vein, it was a perfect arvo set – as per the Roy Ayers sample he dropped: “Everybody loves the sunshine”.

Lenzman

Another big draw was Dutch master Lenzman, the d’n’b production supremo given a prime amphitheatre slot, working that unique sound of his, that has seen him become a heavyweight of the Metalheadz label. He set things alight with the downright nasty Pola & Bryson Bootleg of Adam F’s Circles.

Fava was having such a great time that he stayed on for Cyantific’s set, adding that live energy, without overdoing it. A real cool, cutting-edge sound that attracted a large crowd. That hot Adam F remix made another appearance.

Over in the little Boomdome tent, a fine selection of locals kept it rocking all day, with a more intimate vibe. Triplett had the small crowd pumping. She dished out a banging mix of slower breaks with an electro edge.

Zeke Beats

Lenzman’s lush set came to a finish as the sun set, and he handed over to Zeke Beats. The local boy done good, now resides in Portland, and was pumped to play Breakfest. It also marked the first appearance of the Breakfest flag wavers and mascot Stumpy, bringing the atmosphere up a notch. There’s no denying his skills on the decks, but after the smooth sounds of Lenzman, Zeke’s heavy dubstep proved a bit too abrasive and glitchy for many who headed upstairs.

Foreign Beggars

The final Australian show from the UK’s Foreign Beggars was a mixed affair. They drew the crowds as DJ Nonames took to the decks, and MCs Orifice Vulgatron and Metropolis emerged. The Beggars are calling it a day, after a prolific 18 year career. It’s a very different scene from when they started, but they were a precursor to the sound popularised by Dizzee Rascal and Stormzy.

Full of energy, they infused the crowd with their hectic rapping and grimey urban beats. They dropped a track, Lines In Wax, produced with Flux Pavilion, and reworked the wicked Flat Beat by Mr Oizo –  Vulgatron’s high-pitch, geezer accent, was in contrast to Metropolis’ booming tone. Their unique style of rapping was solid as they got the crowd involved, working a slower, techy groove.

Vulgatron was testing out his Aussie slang, throwing around F and C bombs liberally – his attempt at the accent was funny but a bit obnoxious, and he made a real fool of himself by trying to get political, with a bizarrely misguided rant trying to get the crowd to shout “Fuck Tony Abbott!”

Up top Calyx & TeeBee had amassed a big crowd, with their dark and heavy beats floating across the warm night air, inciting mayhem when they dropped InsideInfo’s huge tune Airwaves feat. Rhymestar.

Lady Waks

Ukraine’s Lady Waks had one of the sets of the night, killing it in the bowl, giving the crowd what they really wanted and bringing back the real Breakfest vibe with some supercharged, bone-shaking breaks and big build ups. She dropped a hilarious but awesome remix of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby and Dominator & Logan’s big remix of The Fugees’ classic Ready Or Not.

Stumpy retruned, as did the giant balls, bouncing across the top of the crowd. The production crew were on point again this year with another unique stage set and an explosive lighting display.

UK producer and DJ Break was a big draw amongst the d’n’b heads. An underground favourite, he unleashed an incredible set of crisp beats and sub-bass. Huge tunes were dropped like his soulful vocal jam Last Goodbye feat. Celestine, and the wicked new Jamie Bostron remix of the Wiley, Stefflon Don, Sean Paul feat. Idris Elba hit, Boasty.

Krafty Kuts

Krafty Kutz loves Breakfest and Breakfest loves Krafty Kutz. Always entertaining, the master turntablist had a prime set this year to show off his skills and worked it harder than usual, much to the delight of the big bowl. Cutting and scratching together another massive megamix, mashing up wonky breaks like Relanium, Deen West & L-DIS’s Come Back alongside hip hop like Pharoahe Monch’s Simon Says.

Dirtyphonix

Dirtyphonix closed off the Hi Line with a high octane set of their French twist on electro-charged, downright dirty drum ‘n’ bass and dubstep – the duo go mental behind the decks.

Shy FX

UK jungle legends Shy FX and Stamina MC had the honours of closing the night and brought the heat with some proper old skool rave vibes. The veteran DJ and MC  brought the energy and atmosphere that had been lacking at times, creating a total rave in the bowl to end the big day in style. They took it back to ’94 with their classic Original Nuttah and dropped newer hits like Roll The Dice feat. Stamina MC & Lily Allen.

Bring on Breakfest’s 20th anniversary next year. It’s gonna be big.

ALFRED GORMAN

PHOTOS by KS Digital, Lewis Martin and Mitchell Holland

 

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