Live Review: Hilltop Hoods – Adelaide Entertainment Centre (16.04.16)

Hilltop Hoods hit their hometown over the weekend to celebrate the release of their latest album, Drinking From The Sun, Walking Under Stars Restrung—their follow-up to 2007’s The Hard Road: Restrung. Joined by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra (ASO), Adelaide Chamber Singers and other special guests, the sold-out crowd was in for a monumental night.

A.B. Original kicked off the night, effortlessly commanding the audience from the get-go. While their set only lasted 20 minutes, their on-stage presence was dominated by hard hitting rhymes and Indigenous pride, peaking with the track “2 Black 2 Strong”. Mid way through their set, Melbourne songstress Caiti Baker joined them to belt out “Dead In A Minute”, blasting through the powerful collab and setting the tone for the rest of the show.

A.B. Original (Photo: John Goodridge)
A.B. Original (Photo: John Goodridge)

UK artist and Hilltop Hoods collaborator Maverick Sabre hit the stage next. While his voice was impressive and at times fitting of featuring on a chart-topping Disclosure track, awkward mixing and severely overused call and response confused the crowd to the point where they were never entirely sure what to do.

After confusing Adelaide with Brisbane, Sabre took charge of Felix Jaehn’s “Aint Nobody (Loved Me Better)”, reworking it with his own soulful vocals and redeeming his earlier stage time. However, his set abruptly ended 20 minutes early, leaving the audience utterly confused and with a 40 minute wait for the headline act.

Maverick Sabre (Photo: John Goodridge)
Maverick Sabre (Photo: John Goodridge)

A spanning velvet curtain opened to reveal the ASO who kicked off the music which was barely audible over the crowd’s deafening applause. It got louder when the Hilltop Hoods strolled on stage—welcome home. Before they had even uttered a word, their influence became clear. Adelaide couldn’t be silenced so there was nothing to do but blast into song.

“Higher” and “Chase That Feeling” began their 17-song set, followed largely but tracks from their latest restrung album including “Drinking from the Sun”, “Won’t Let You Down”, “Speaking in Tongues” and “Shredding the Balloon”. Their recent hit “1955” saw Montaigne take to the stage, ensuring the track reached its full potential in both energy and sound.

Hilltop Hoods (Photo: John Goodridge)
Hilltop Hoods (Photo: John Goodridge)

Suffa and MC Pressure commanded the stage for the entirety of their 90-minute set, jumping around with boundless energy and barely taking breaks to breathe while DJ Debris controlled the decks—they were happy to be home. They ran through a few of older tracks including “The Hard Road”, “The Nosebleed Section” and a hint of “Hillatoppa”, somehow amping it up even further than they already had.

Wrapping up the night with “Cosby Sweater” and “Ratting the Keys to the Kingdom”, Hilltop Hoods’ hometown show highlighted the city’s affection for the local trio. It became clear by the end of the night that regardless of how far away the Hilltop Hoods go, Adelaide will always be home.