Illy @ Festival Hall, Melbourne, Saturday April 1, 2017.
Life’s feeling pretty cinematic for old mate Illyal right about now.
The Frankston rapper’s Two Degrees tour has been selling out left right and centre – including internationally – and the man’s Saturday night installation at Festival Hall was a perfect example of why.
In his biggest ever hometown show, the charming lad explained how humbled he is by how far he’s come, often taking time between tracks to show his love and remind us just how thankful he was to be there.
Opening with Forget It and powering through the likes of Hazard To Myself (personal favourite) and Looks Could Kill, Illy’s excellent delivery was accompanied by an impressive visual display: the graphics behind the artist often took centre stage, with some songs’ lyrics written out like a Hall-wide karaoke session, and others showcasing something else entirely, such as an 8-bit brawl between Illyal and vocalist Anne-Marie during their collab hit Catch 22.
Tightrope had everyone jumping – it’s the most energy I’ve seen at any gig I’ve been to – and the main man even blessed us with a live rendition of his All Aussie Like A Version. Even Youngbloods had everyone up and belting lyrics out – especially (surprisingly) the opening verse.
Anthem Two Degrees opens with the lyrics “Word to Obama”; Illy put a 2017 spin on it, remixing it to “F-ck Donald Trump!”; the audience joined in with gusto, also belting out the chorus to Extra, Extra like lives depended on it. The extensive back catalogue wasn’t left behind – crowd fave Cigarettes made an appearance (as it always does), and Illy lovingly dedicated On & On to his late grandmother.
Having now heard it live, it’s safe to say Oh My has also joined my top five all-time faves. A four-song encore finally culminated with Illy’s own rendition of Peking Duk’s High – which had everyone springing to their feet at the start of the second chorus – and, of course, Papercuts. Not sure if it was a dance-y enough end to such a high energy set, but nonetheless, it certainly encourages a group sing-a-long.
The best way to describe an Illy gig is like a Friday night at the local with your mates: familiar, warm, and chockful of bad words. This Melbourne lad is just warming up, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Two Degrees is out now via Warner.