The folks over at Red Bull Music Academy just love throwing parties, and when they lock down acts like UK’s Clark, and most recently J Rocc – who could blame them?! Thursday, 19th February saw a rain soaked Brisbane descend on one of my favourite night spots, Woolly Mammoth, to catch the latter in Brisbane, braving an impending cyclone for a glimpse of the famous beatmaker in action.
Stones Throw Records alumni, J Dilla friend and fan, Madlib touring buddy, founding member of the infamous Beat Junkies – it’s no wonder at all that such a crowd gathered to see J Rocc perform. Recruiting fellow renowned vinyl lover and budding up-and-comer, local Sampology for the support slot, it was guaranteed to be a great night for music!
I arrived to an already packed room, bustling with anticipation as the stage was being set up. I had been to a few of these events before, but none felt like this. “How good is this going to be?!” Everyone was asking, knowing full well we were in for something special. J Rocc took to the stage to a raucous round of applause before launching into his set. It was on!
Unpredictable, eclectic and seriously impressive, J Rocc’s set spanned from hip hop, to funk, soul, and even Beyoncé. Old and new, gangsta rap to reggae, J Rocc had the crowd in his hand and wasn’t letting go for a second. Of course, multiple tributes to the legend that is J Dilla also featured, with a clear emotional connection to his late friend. Inciting singalongs to down right dropping it low, this was hands down one of the best sets I have seen in a very long time. His charisma and enthusiasm were infectious, as his pre-recorded spoken interludes made for an interesting addition. It was refreshing when compared to muffled, “How’s everyone doing?” questions to the crowd from other DJs, with J clearly having a lot of fun re-enacting his . J Rocc connected in every way, with the audience throwing the love right back.
My body is still aching from busting more than a few moves for the near two hour set, my mind still blown from how seamlessly he worked; how precise and deliberate yet how casual and nonchalant J Rocc was on stage. Unfortunately his Australian shows wrapped up over the weekend in Adelaide, so we may have to wait another 2 years for him to return. There is one thing for certain though: whenever it is, J Rocc’s return is not a show I will be missing!