In the week leading up to this years Hidden, I couldn’t manage to suppress the tingles of excitement I was feeling, and as I sat on the party bus, surrounded by random people in singlets pumping riddim, that excitement kept on growing. An event like this is, literally, a once a year experience, and I was determined to make the most of it.
A review by Will Marsh
As I set foot in the bowl, I realised that I’d made it too late to catch the two locals, Twerl and Avance, but from what I heard, they put on a fantastic opening few hours. Instead, I entered the bowl to the sound of Midnight T’s famously heavy dubstep, and maniacal soundbites. I don’t know how he manages to use shit like “UNLEASH THE ORGASM” in his music, but I mean, it works.
I, along with many other people, were fairly mad he was on so early, but it made sense once I learned he was playing at the after party. Even so, I was still fairly disappointed that I couldn’t properly experience his light show and backgrounds. Despite the early set, the bowl was heaving, and he did put on a show just as good as everyone expected, dropping some of his biggest songs including ‘Jurassic’, and everyone’s Rick and Morty quoting favourite, ‘Planet Purge’. Nothing quite like hearing thousands of people screaming “I’M GONNA RIP YOUR GUTS OUT AND SMEAR ‘EM ALL OVER YOUR FACE”, what a way to bring people together.
After Midnight T closed off his set, he made way to P Money, one of the two Grime artists on this years lineup, who also happened to be one of the two people that….no one wanted to see. This was evident by the huge stream of people flooding up to the stairs as soon as Midnight T finished. I couldn’t help but feel bad for him, he’d come a long way just to see 70% of the crowd walk out. Sadly, I was also one of those people, and because of that, I don’t really have much to say about P Money. I think the biggest thing is that this is a dubstep festival, people didn’t pay to see Grime, and that was definitely reflected by the crowds reaction. For the first time in a long time, I don’t actually have anything to say about one of the acts, sorry about that.
Once P Money had finished, it didn’t take long for the bowl to fill up again. Dirtyphonics, travelling all the way from France, have been on my radar for quite a while, and I was very keen to see them at last. I can safely say, in my own opinion, that Dirtyphonics played the set of the day. Their diversity was fantastic, playing everything from heavy dubstep to intense DnB, and dropping some big tracks from their recent ‘Vantablack’ EP. The crowd was obviously keen to see some dubstep, and those who left for P Money quickly gathered, filling the bowl once again. They played a bunch of big tunes, including ‘Jotaro’, as well as the new heavy hitter from Virtual Riot, ‘Pray For Riddim’, which really got the crowd going. Their engagement with the crowd was fantastic, and it just made the experience that much more intimate, and I couldn’t help but feel a glow once they’d finished their set.
Next up was Shockone, the local legend that had surprisingly secured himself quite a late spot on the lineup. I was expecting him to play earlier during the day, but was by no means disappointed. In fact, alongside Dirtyphonics, Shockone played one of the sets of the day. His smooth DnB filled the bowl early, and he proceeded to get heavier with each minute, mixing smooth riddim in with his usual bassy tunes.
His set was very entertaining, pairing his smooth mixing skills with trippy Simpsons visuals made for an interesting stimulation, and he kept everyone engaged, playing tunes from What So Not and Jauz. Towards the end of his set, he brought out his sister, Reija Lee, to sing ‘A Dark Machine’ on stage. This was a fantastic addition to his already amazing set, and was a fantastic way to experience the sun setting over the bowl.
MEGALODON & SKISM
Next up was the big B2B, featuring two heavy hitters, Megalodon and Skism. Going into it, I knew what to expect – heavy drops, and a whole lot of riddim. The sun was just starting to set on Belvoir Amphitheatre, which meant the light shows and backgrounds were finally coming out to play. The huge set up was finally able to be fully utilized, and alongside the crashing sounds of vicious riddim coming from the decks, there were enough strobes and lasers to melt everyone’s corneas. Megalodon spent a lot of time MC’ing, while it seemed Skism was the wizard on the decks, but as a duo they worked well together, throwing together some crowd favourite mixes.
I must admit it was a teeny bit too heavy for my taste, but I still enjoyed the majority of their set. Their opening 20 minutes was particularly memorable, in which they dropped ‘Head Crush’, ‘Yasuo’ and ‘Headbang Gang’, enough wubs to get the entire crowd completely amped.
Second to last was the first headliner of the night, the Godfather of Grime, Wiley. Sadly, once again, literally no one gave a shit. Wiley is such an OG, and is absolutely huge in his field, but again, 85% of people didn’t break the bank to see grime, they wanted dubstep, which of course Wiley wasn’t able to provide. I honestly felt a bit embarrassed when I saw the dismal turnout for Wiley’s set, and the MC himself was obviously displeased, leaving the stage 15 minutes early without saying so much as a goodbye.
But when you’re used to sellout crowds, seeing a few hundred people standing around, barely moving to your music, that’s definitely going to bruise the ego. Other than that I don’t have much to say, yeah he’s a good artist, but I, along with everyone else, didn’t really care enough to pay attention. I don’t think he’ll be coming back to Perth any time soon.
Last but not least was Joyryde. He didn’t get off to the best start, coming on 25 minutes late due to technical difficulties, but he came on stage to see an absolutely packed out crowd, and it didn’t take long for him to turn the fuck up. Not really my style of music, but I have to admit Joyryde can really make people bounce. He hit the crowd with big tunes early, including ‘Deep Down Low’ and ‘Feel the Volume’. He’d brought his C.A.R production with him to Hidden, but honestly, I don’t see what all the fuss was about. I mean yeah it was cool, but really it was just a car sitting on stage. If it was a fucking transformer that was breakdancing and shooting lasers or some shit, maybe I’d get the hype then, but nope, it was just a normal Mustang. The crowd went hard during Joyryde, and he kept them well engaged, constantly urging them to get pumped up, and it was probably the most engaging set of the night.
Upon leaving Hidden, I had to question whether it was worth the money I spent. Overall, yes I had a good time, but I think this years event pales in comparison to 2017. The crowd felt dead half the time, and it didn’t feel like a sold out show. To make up for that, the music was good, but all I can hope is that next year they realize that they really shouldn’t include Grime artists.
At the end of the day, Hidden was a success. Was it everything I hoped it would be? Honestly, no. There were certainly aspects I’d change, but I certainly have high hopes for next year