BREAKFEST @ Belvoir gets 8/10

Breakfest @ Belvoir Amphitheatre
Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Now in its 18th year, Breakfest has come of age! A Boxing Day tradition for many, there’s a reason this festival has made it through puberty, matured and outlasted all others – it’s stuck to its original ethos, kept it underground, breaks ‘n’ bass oriented and hasn’t gotten too big for its boots. It also happens to take place in one of the most beautiful outdoor venues in the country (or world!), the glorious Belvoir Amphitheatre. And this year’s stacked line up put on a party worthy of an 18th.

Sure, you could say it ain’t like it used to be, but neither is the scene. Breaks isn’t the dominant force in clubland that it used to be – many spinoff genres have evolved. While breaks and drum ‘n’ bass was well represented by some big names – there were also some fresh faces, playing a cutting edge fusion of trap, dubstep, grime and more experimental sounds. All linked by big dirty bass and broken beats.

The Hospitality Stage up top was a cool new addition this year – rather than the tent it has been in previous years, this year saw an upgrade to a bigger stage setup that looked like a giant boombox – providing mostly drum ‘n’ bass sounds to a loving crowd – many of whom stayed at that stage most of the day. Perth has always had a devoted d‘n’b audience.

Early on Perth breaks veteran Micah played, in his first year since leaving the Boomtick fold, but still his heart remains entwined with this festival that he has played a big part in for many years.

DJ Yoda

DJ Yoda hasn’t been seen in these parts for a while, but the mash-up maestro returned to the amphitheatre to do his thing, skilfully and playfully cutting up classic, funky tracks old and new. Followed by another Perth fave and turntablist supreme, Jurassic 5’s DJ Nu-Mark, he put on a fun afternoon set that got heads bumping with his creative cutting and scratching. No song lasts long in NuMark’s blender, which leads to lack of flow at times, but when he drops hip hop jams, rubbed up against rock ‘n’ roll classics, it’s hard not to get down. His seamless mix from Beastie Boys’ Girls into The Isley Brothers’ Shout displayed his innate, eclectic tastes.

LTJ Bukem

Jazzy drum ‘n’ bass don LTJ Bukem is a legend of the scene and has been coming here for many years, this time without long-time partner MC Conrad – instead MC Xsessiv repped on the mic. The late arvo was the perfect time for Bukem’s rolling mid-tempo beats. He could have used a bit more volume, but he got the big bowl grooving with his unique style and flow. Even Logistics who was playing later on up top came to check out the pioneer Bukem. He finished with big tune Alone This Way (No Need To Stay) by Random Movement, out on his own Good Looking Records.

Deekline was next and was a welcome change with his usual break-start right from the beginning rolling into Push It by Salt-N-Pepa to start burning up a sweat in the hot, hot sun. When he played Take Me Away, it was reminiscent of all the amazing sets that Deekline delivered over the years, mixing new and old tunes with that hard breakbeat that just makes you want to dance. Deekline has been aligned to the best breaks DJs of all time, with the likes of Krafty Kuts and Stanton Warriors both releasing songs on his label. It’s Tricky by Run DMC worked its way into the mix and he also dropped the huge Aphrodite remix of The Fugees’ Ready or Not. This was only the beginning of one of the best sets of the day, Deekline certainly ended leaving us wanting more.

Ivy Lab brought some heavy sounds up on the Hospitality stage. The London trio of Sabre, Stray and Halogenix produce challenging, cutting edge drum ‘n’ bass, and Stray was here to represent, mixing a hard-hitting selection of shuffling beats.

Spectrasoul (or half the duo anyway) immediately took things in a more deep, lush direction. Known for quality productions on various labels and silky smooth sounds. As he dropped Calibre’s stunning ‘alternative remix’ of London Grammar’s If You Wait, then got down to boogie under the beautiful pink, fluffy clouds of the sunset.

The Boom Dome was back this year, after some issues with the design collapsing last year, this year saw a more open, accessible domed tent, featuring a selection of locals throwing down hard throughout the day.

Plump DJs

Things were getting hectic in the Amphitheatre with Breakfest mascot Stumpy dancing on stage, as Deekline prepared to hand over to the Plump DJs. Though rather it appeared to be only one of them. Andy Gardner was nowhere to be seen, leaving Lee Rous, the single plumper in charge of the decks. This gave Rous a chance to show his individuality and get a real flow going.

The Plumps have been busy in the last few years, ramping up production again – releasing fresh cuts, still with their distinct sound. Rous took things to the next level as the sun set and the lights went up. A few choice Plumps classics like Get Kinky and The Funk Hits The Fan really fired the crowd up.

Stanton Warriors

We may have only got one Plump, but we had both Stanton Warriors in attendance. Bonafide Breakfest alumni, the breaks veterans put on a clinic, delivering the set of the day, packed with huge tunes, and eclectic picks like Bicep’s awesome Glue and Future Sound Of London’s classic Papua New Guinea. The explosive hexagonal lighting display illuminated the amphitheatre as the giant beach balls were released. The volume had been upped and you could really feel those bass drops. It was a set for the ages including Stanton’s original productions like Get Up and their wicked remix of Machines Don’t Care’s Beat Dun Drop.


S.P.Y was a highlight last year, and didn’t disappoint again with some harder, classic sounds, up top, finishing off with a soaring tune, he handed over to the man Danny Byrd to take it home on the top stage with ‘the hour of power’. Sub Focus & Dimension’s huge tune Desire was a highlight.

12th Planet

LA dubstep producer/DJ 12th Planet made his first visit with a prime slot and an upfront, harsh, abrasive, in your face sound. He endeared himself to the crowd as he jumped on the decks to give a heartfelt speech that he was “Never away from his family this time of year… But y’all my family tonight!” He asked everyone to light up the pit with their phones and lighters because “2019 is coming, and we’re only bringing light!” It was a banging selection of dubstep, US style, even including a mad gabba mix of Technohead’s oldie I Wanna Be A Hippy.


ShockOne had the big responsibility of finishing off the night in the bowl and did a stellar job for an adoring hometown crowd. He smashed out the hits, Bleed Black, Underloved and Chaos Theory with lasers lighting up the trees. He brought out his sister, frequent collaborator and famous-in-her-own-right vocalist, Reija Lee, to belt out the appropriate, emotional strains of Home. It was goin’ off till the end, as mad dancers and flag wavers were onstage bouncing to Basement Jaxx Where’s Your Head At?.


 Photos by Adrian Thomson

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