Triple J Unearthed Launch Party @ UC Refectory, Canberra (5/10/11)

It’s not every day that a new radio station is launched.

The most influential program for launching unsigned acts in the country has gone 24/7, with triple j’s new Unearthed digital radio station bursting online. What better reason for a party? Six simultaneous launch parties occurred around Australia and Canberra was lucky enough to have The Aston Shuffle hosting The Fighting League, Crash the Curb and D’Opus & Roshambo on a cool Wednesday night at the UC Refectory

Hau, better known as half of legendary local hip-hop act, Koolism and presenter of triple j’s hip-hop show, started the night off with a DJ set to get people in the mood. A small-ish crowd were in attendance as The Aston Shuffle bribed the audience to get closer with free CD’s and t-shirts.

The Fighting League have been playing around Canberra for a few years now, and the self-proclaimed ‘King of Canberra’, lead singer Dominic Death, was in fine form. As he thrust his hips into the air and proceeded to stalk the stage with confidence, the crowd warmed up and frenetic dancing began. One would be excused from wondering what style of music they were listening to. Was it punk? Was it rock? No. This was ‘Tropical Punk’. A mixture of twinkling guitars and ska rhythms were brought crashing to the crowd’s ears via a young dynamic singer who gets his point across. Some of the lines that Dominic pulled out between songs made the crowd crack up; his charisma well and truly kept them entertained.

Once again Hau kept the beats alive as the next band prepared. The crowd was growing by this point, and with it the excited atmosphere. The next band to grace the stage were Crash the Curb. The duo wasted no time in pulling the punters back in. When a band uses only a couple of instruments there is a danger that the sound can be lost on stage, but not with these two. Singer Adam used a looper to create a layer of guitars that built on itself, as he played unique licks over the solid beats of Grace, the drummer. They created a fun and infectious sound that wouldn’t be out of place in your neighbour’s garage, while the precision of their frenzy worked a treat. 
The freshness and fun with which they deliver their unique sound was a joy to behold.

Following another Hau set, the crowd’s anticipation grew for the headliners of the night, one of Canberra’s leading musical exports, D’opus & Roshambo. This duo has been waving the hip-hop flag in Canberra for many years, and have, this year dropped their second LP. Their set saw the duo joined by a drummer and bassist to give the audience a full band experience. Many punters had probably not seen them in this incarnation, but it definitely worked as the crowd started to bounce along to every tune. Roshambo’s presence on stage was impressive, as he bounced back and forth, giving the room acknowledgement and reason to move.

Following the hit, Million Dollar Bill, the band were convinced to go old school with an encore that left the crowd wishing for more. It was then up to Hau to crank up the turntables once more to see out what can only be described as one of the best Wednesday nights I’ve had in a long time.

Diversity was the order of the night as an array of punters were given a chance to experience three different bands with three different styles, showcasing just a tiny portion of what Canberra has to offer. 
It’s events like this that can attract a new wave of fans to their local music scene and to Australian music, in general.