Australia Rap group OneFour says national tour now 'unlikely to proceed', points finger at police

20:55  26 november  2019
20:55  26 november  2019 Source:   smh.com.au

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a group of people standing in front of a crowd: OneFour's Sydney and Perth concerts are still scheduled to go ahead.© YouTube OneFour's Sydney and Perth concerts are still scheduled to go ahead.

A Sydney rap group, whose music and videos have amassed 30 million online streams and a fan base that stretches to the US and UK, says its national tour will likely be cancelled as a result of "fear-based policing" by NSW Police.

OneFour, a "drill" rap group hailing from Mount Druitt, said on Tuesday that its national tour was "unlikely to proceed" after venues in Melbourne and Adelaide pulled their billings because of public safety concerns.

The rap group is now in "an almost unprecedented position, where an Australian band cannot play a live concert in its own country" due to "pressure from the NSW Police," its management said on Tuesday.

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OneFour is the most prominent new breakout of western Sydney’s burgeoning hip-hop scene, recently launching its first national tour under one of Australia's biggest promoters Live Nation. Its sound and lyrics are inspired by the UK’s "drill" scene, a genre known for its gritty beats.

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But despite their success OneFour has had multiple live gigs cancelled this year, due to their alleged links to "street-level" crime and an ongoing territorial war between two gangs that refer to themselves as "greater west" and "inner west".

The alleged conflict became publicly violent earlier this year amid several brawls and assaults that took place across western Sydney.

It prompted the formation of police Strike Force Imbara in July, tasked with investigating the activities of local street-level criminal networks and disrupting anti-social and violent behaviour.

Since the cancellation of their interstate shows, OneFour management has been pessimistic about the likelihood of others going ahead in Perth and Sydney.  On Monday they said they believed the cancellation of their Melbourne show came "at the request of NSW Police".

"Our lawyers, Simpsons Solicitors, wrote to the NSW Police on November 22 seeking an explanation and urgent meeting. They have not provided one, nor yet agreed to meet with management," management said.

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On Tuesday a police spokeswoman slammed the claims, rejecting "any assertion of a ‘censorship strategy’ or that officers have been placing improper pressure" on venues or promoters.

"While police provide safety and security advice to venues, promoters, and other stakeholders ahead of major events, the decision as to whether or not an event will proceed lies with the relevant venue," she said.

On Instagram OneFour said the "pattern of concert cancellations" denied them a platform on which to perform and "single[d] out" its fan base, adding that there had been no incident at any of their live concerts.

A post shared by Onefour (@onefour_official) on Nov 25, 2019 at 4:51pm PST

Earlier this year two support slots for OneFour at scheduled gigs in Sydney were hastily cancelled, including at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory, where they were scheduled to open for UK act Octavian.

Several OneFour members have come before police and the NSW Local Court over their alleged role in violent incidents stemming from the turf war.

Among them is one of the group's songwriters Salec Sua, who remains in custody charged with assault offences after a brawl inside the pokie room of a Mount Druitt pub earlier this year.

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Music commentator Danny Clayton said the cancellation of music performances "set a bad precedent".

"[OneFour] amassed a huge underground following without the help of mainstream or commercial support. And it wasn’t like this was a small promoter," he said.

A post shared by Onefour (@onefour_official) on Nov 22, 2019 at 11:34pm PST

"This was Live Nation, one of the largest ... promoters in the country. They know how to handle wild shows and crowds that could potentially cause trouble. It’s what they do."

Speaking to Triple J last week, the band spoke proudly about finally having the chance to perform in their hometown.

“We weren’t allowed to perform there for a long time so coming back to Sydney will be hectic,” said OneFour member YP.

A spokesman said fans in Perth and Sydney would be updated about the concerts as soon as possible, while the upcoming Auckland show was set to proceed.

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