Michael Fowler Centre
September 13 | Reviewed by Alexander Bisley

Che Fu’s inspired music, a distinctive, pioneering mix of hip-hop, reggae, roots and soul, lends itself well to other music. So it was a canny choice by Marc Taddei to kick of Vector Wellington Orchestra’s new series with Che Fu and the Krates.

Che Fu, ever the charismatic performer, smoothly led out his six Krates brothers, and they held the audience all night. Mash ups of Fu classics like ‘Trust’ and ‘Fade Away’ benefited from the orchestral ballast behind the Krates. Mareko enthused to me about violins on Savage’s ‘Swing’; the violins a-blazing here enhanced the idea.

Fu’s music just doesn’t sound great, spearheaded by that beautiful voice. That soulful feel comes from a spiritual/moral/Taha Maori/creative/political force. With ‘Chains’, Fu takes up Tuwhare’s ‘No Ordinary Sun’ cloak: “Come test me like a bomb straight from Mururoa/How come I got Cyclops fish in my water/A nation of Pacific lambs to the slaughter/Three eyes for my son, another foot for my daughter.”

‘Mock Battle’, featuring a team of battling MCs, was a lot of fun. I love the NZSO, but they don’t get people dancing up the front of the MFC (from Misty Frequencies), and dancing around the theatre (the end). Che, e hoa, there were moments in this concert that were ka mau te wehi; like scorching 2D, replayed as encore. Bring on Shihad and Don McGlashan and Dawn Raid!