In what was one of the most anticipated shows by a local act this year, the Hilltop Hoods “Restrung” concert with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra not only met but defied expectations. With the rich orchestral backing providing a perfect backdrop for MC Pressure and Suffa to do what they do best, the crowd was left in raptures.
A strong crowd rolled in early to see the cocky and confident opening act A.B. Original who ripped out some great verses over some slow, dense beats. The indigenous rights theme was also well received and quite compatible with the main act’s vocal support of equal rights.
The surprise packet of the night was Hoods collaborator, English singer Maverick Sabre from the UK. This guy has a huge future ahead of him with great live charisma and a vocal timbre, perfectly suited to modern RnB. The strong percussive grooves by his DJ and the evocative piano samples formed a great backdrop for the talented singer’s amazing vocal crescendos.
As soon as the Hilltop Hoods took the stage, they brought a burst of energy right off the bat. The first thing that was noticeable about the classical collaboration wasn’t the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra but the perfectly blended harmonies of the Adelaide Chamber Choir. Rather than leave all the hits till the end, the decision to open with “Higher” was a masterstroke.
The use of the orchestra was so seamless it was hard to imagine the show without it. The strings were lush and sharp. At times the drums and samples drowned out the orchestra but overall it worked a treat with the horn section and the strings each standing out at different moments throughout the set. The crowd were whipped into a fervour at various points throughout the show, but “Chase that Feeling” was especially pumping, “The Hard Road” sounded fantastic with the orchestra really driving the music and “Cosby Sweater” was another highlight of the show. The guest rappers and singers, including Maverick Sabre, all performed wonderfully and helped bring variety to the show.
These shows may set a precedent for the combination of classical and rap in Australia, given how amazing it sounded and how well the genres suited each other. This seamless production went off without a hitch and was a testament to the Hilltop Hoods, composer Jamie Messenger, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and all involved.
Check out the photos below from the concert at the Adelaide Entertainment Centre captured by Dave Gartland…