Spit Syndicate set out on a six-date tour over the month of June to promote new single Know Better. The Sydney duo have been one to watch since 2008, when the young pair had their first album Towards the Light nominated for an Aria Award. Since then, Syndicate has continued releasing highly praised music that breaches hip-hop norms. Their hard work and incessant gigs (part of One Day Sunday’s) is clear in the quality of their show; full of energy, laughter and modesty.
The swarm of punters arriving to Shebeen Bandroom on the 10th of June was a different one. More caps were visible, more males and more energy bouncing off each other. Spit Syndicate was set to play at 10pm, but the snug room was full before support act Marcus had even stepped on stage. I’d chosen an elevated step as my seat; to my left an enthusiastic and dedicated fan raved of the hip hop group, and just two metres in front of me sat Nick Lupi, half of Spit Syndicate, recognizable in his red bomber jacket, and casually socializing. I hear a fan speaking to him and asking about the support group. Lupi answers saying he doesn’t know Marcus well but praises him highly, enthused by the vibe the crowd are giving off already, in response to Marcus’ “What’s good Melbourne?” intro. Hands are up in beat to the rhythm, weed is endorsed by the ever-growing crew onstage, and the scene for the night is set.
10pm and Spit Syndicate are on stage, getting right into it and playing Real. The energy of the crowd immediately surged forward, the full piece band performing alongside Syndicate getting every joint swaying. The rowdy crowd began to cause havoc, one girl getting high enough to bump her head on the speakers above the stage, later seen being escorted from the venue.
The duo took all good humoredly, straightening the speakers and continuing to speak to the crowd, announcing they only had half a chorus to go until they would be finished their album. Song after song was executed with the Aussie slang and reference saturated lyrics the Sydney hip hop crew are loved for. The mateship between the pair was further emphasized with the two swapping sides of the stage every few minutes, influencing the crowd to bounce about in a similar manner; unruly and playful. When Know Better was finally slung out for the crowd with a few songs to go, the phones came up and the reason most were there, recorded the spirited song.
Unlike most gigs these days, with strict playing times and noise licensing denying the crowd’s hopeful wishes of “encore, encore”, Spit Syndicate delivered. Only teasing the revved up crowd for half a minute before returning and belting out a classic of One Days, playing ode to their associated brothers. And then that was it, the mob cheered, whistled and clapped and slowly made their way up the rickety staircase to the light of Manchester Lane. Not before cries of “Oh my god that’s Illy!” were heard from the crowded toilet line. The small knit community of hip hop stars coming together for one night in the dim bandroom.