Arguably one of the biggest groups in Aussie hip hop, The Funkoars have a decade-long career spanning four feature length albums and aiding fellow label mates The Hilltop Hoods and Vents in cementing Adelaide as hotbed of hip hop talent. Between albums the boys never let up – lending their music to cult show Housos, emcee Trials helping produce Drapht’s last two albums, cranking out mixtapes for the Golden Era record label and generally indulging in a Hunter S. Thompson lifestyle few could sustain.
Is there any sign of a slowed pace now the trio who rhyme about their three favourite B’s (bitches, being flat broke and being dead drunk) are nearing the dreaded ‘responsible’ age of 30? Not if Saturday night is to be taken as any indication. Supported by local luminaries Bitter Belief, Mortar and Optamus, it was clear there is a lot of love between the Perth and Adelaide hip hop scenes. Mortar’s set was particularly poignant, featuring a few tracks from Fear and Loathing, his collaboration with local legend Hunter, who passed away from cancer last year. It was demonstrated that though Hunter’s contribution to Australian hip hop has sadly ended, he has not been forgotten.
The ‘Oars burst onto the stage to deafening cheers, ‘Sketchy’ Hons sporting a camera attached to his cap, which ‘Trigger’ Trials explained as “Scandal-Cam…capturing all the scandals that happen in front of us”. Going from past shows, ‘Scandal-Cam’ could well provide footage of an assault case, as audiences are generally a reflection of the group themselves: rowdy and rambunctious. ‘Uncle’ Sesta happily donned a blonde mullet wig thrown from the audience (probably from the cross-dressing male in a pink school-girl outfit), which he promptly threw it in my face after spitting his verse.
Uncharacteristically, there was a method to the madness. After punching out a couple of tracks from their last album, The Quickening, including ‘It’s All Good (Is Very Good)’ (an uplifting track about getting over first world problems), Trials slowed things down. Encouraging the audience to climb aboard the ‘Funkoars Time Machine’ they harkened back to the release of their first album, Who’s your Stepdaddy? Trials recounted “this one was released not so long after me and Hons finished high school…correction, when we last went to high school!” Starting with ‘Still Drunk’ (dedicated to Hunter) and continuing onto ‘Kidney Shifters’, the ‘Oars explored the beginnings of their sordid career.
Sticking to the time machine theme, they moved onto tracks from their second album, The Greatest Hits. Encouraging the audience to sing along to the chorus of the title track, there were many voices chanting “Ladies, is that a bun in the oven? Want some lovin’? Better suck that gut in!” Moving onto crowd favorite ‘And Now For Something Completely Different’ and ending with ‘Da Na Na’, the set moved at a breakneck speed which matched the energy of the crowd.
Continuing chronologically onto The Hangover (which they mocked as “our worst album…absolute worst”) the audience was asked “who has to work tomorrow?”, replying with mild cheers and jeers. when asked “who is going to wake up tomorrow with a massive hangover?” the mostly-drunk crowd responded with rowdy applause and shouts. The boys then launched into a partly a capella version of the ‘The Hangover’ which had two guys crowd-surfing.
Moving onto the later half of their third album, the group implored punters to shout ‘SBX’ when they called out ‘hip hop’, giving recognition to local crew Syllabolix, before launching into ‘This is How’. Upon the end of the track, Trials implored the audience to sing to their DJ, Reflux, who sheepishly “checked” his equipment as punters wished him a happy 27th birthday before they all sprinted off stage. Responding to chants of ‘Funkoars, Funkoars’ they returned to do an encore of ‘What’s Your Malfunction?’ before the crowd dispersed into the sweet relief of the rain.
By David Coffey.