A lot of people had already written off the Supafest tour as a Heatwave-esque failure, but Saturday proved that it’s still possible to pull off a rad festival even if you’ve scratched three of the major acts from a bill. The crowd wasn’t even as trashy as we expected it to be (I’ll admit a small part of me was looking forward to the people watching), though having said that we’ve never encountered so many girls rocking spanky-pants before (pretty sure about 70% of them were actually just boy-leg underwear), and our being fully-clothed did make us feel overdressed.
Being an all-ages event, organisers didn’t penalise either age group either. The underage kids and over 18s were separated down the middle by a barrier that still allowed girls within screaming distance of Trey Songz. It was a bit awkward when the R’n’B guys would direct their sexy attention to the jailbait side though.
We were first acquainted with Big Sean with his song ‘Dance (A$$)
’ (the remix featuring Nicki Minaj) which turned out to be the perfect preparation for what was in store. The first on stage and the first to get his shirt off, he was able to back up the bold attitude (read: putting his hands down his pants) with a good voice and a sense of humour. I wouldn’t be sorry to see him as the next big thing.
An early highlight was next up with Naughty By Nature. They’ve been kicking around for 20 years, but unlike a lot of old skool hip-hop stars, they haven’t visibly aged. Tracks like ‘O.P.P’ and ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ were easily some of the best of the day, and their tribute to Tupac wasn’t lame. Rather than a hologram, Trigga Treach showed the crowd his Tupac tattoo, saying, “When I drink, you drink; when I smoke, you smoke; when I fuck, you fuck; and when I come to Australia, you come to Australia!” Cue screams. NBN are also filming a documentary about their Australian tour, and so renamed themselves ‘Aussie By Nature
’. They also chastised the artists that didn’t come out for the festival, rapping that they do it for “respect” and “not for cheques”.
I’d been looking forward to Lupe Fiasco, but he ended up being a bit of a disappointment, which I’m putting down to his being baked out of his mind. He lacked energy and had his eyes closed for most of the set. When he did a cover of Kanye’s ‘Touch The Sky’, the lyrics “I’m sky high” certainly rang true. It also felt like he was trying to be a bit of an Usher figure, when really it’s his chilled rapping that made us fall in love with him and they were the songs that shone that day. Taking his shirt off, he proved the theory that if everything is going to shit you can save yourself by getting naked.
Hyping the crowd from the wings, Ice Cube emerged to the opening theme of ‘Shaft’, with a snarl on his face. Scolding anyone who thought he wouldn’t come out to Australia, he launched straight into one of the best sets of the day. Though it’s tempting to say he did the entire NWA back catalogue with an Eazy-E hologram just to make you jealous, we don’t need to pretend that Cube was anything short of amazing doing his solo stuff. Challenging each side of the age barrier to be louder with a bunch of call and response, he stoked his ‘fro with a comb and paid tribute to Nate Dogg by performing ‘Gangsta Nation’. For his final two songs he invited his sons OMG and Doughboy to come on stage to perform. And you know what? They weren’t half bad. Check out the track they did with their dad here
Kelly Rowland was the only female performer for the day (aside from Search For A Supastar winner Jesslyn), treating the crowd to a Destiny’s Child mash-up that even included ‘Soldier’ (AMAZING). Also singing ‘Dilemma’, ‘Motivation’ and ‘When Love Takes Over’, it’s a shame she can’t shake being in Beyonce’s shadow as she’s a phenomenal performer.
Has anyone else noticed that all of Trey Songz’ tracks are as if he pulled out the thesaurus for sex? It was no surprise that when he appeared on stage in a cloud of billowing smoke all the girls screamed; when he walked down the steps, the girls screamed; when he walked to the front of the stage, the girls scre… you get the idea. Ripping off his shirt early on, it was easy to see why the ladies love Trey Songz and it ain’t just for his voice. The best moment came during his song ‘Neighbors Know My Name
’ - not having heard the song before, we all realised at exactly the same moment why
the neighbours know Trey’s name (read: all songs by Trey Songz are about sex).
It seems everyone thought T-Pain was amazing at Supafest, but I don’t really get why. With a microphone that resembled a Power Ranger villain’s knuckle-duster, it kind of seemed like he was performing as a hype man to his own backing track. The dude is funny though: being one of the few artists not to take their shirt off, he said it was because he loved his abs so much that he liked to protect them with a layer of fat. Then he made up for it by shuffling, which everyone seemed to love. The only explanation I can come up with for his being ‘amazing’ is that everyone was dazzled by his lighting and visual display, which bore a strong resemblance to those Japanese cartoons that cause epileptic fits. Pain did right with ‘Get Low’ though, so we’ll ease up on him.
Sticking around for the beginning of Chris Brown’s set, we were curious to see what the crowd’s reaction would be towards him. With fireworks exploding and smoke machine cannon things announcing his arrival, sadly it was one of blind adoration and served as our cue to leave.
Overall, it was one of the most on time (most of the day was even early!) festivals I’ve been to and the crowd really was, as Vinnie from NBN called it, a “beautiful mosaic of people”. I almost could have said I didn’t witness any fights either, but then a girl behind us punched a dude in the head.
Check out crowd shots from Supafest 2012
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