There was an undeniable buzz of anticipation as dedicated patrons of all-ages eagerly lined up well before the doors of Saint Martins Place opened. It should come as no surprise; the beginning of 2018 has been undeniably huge for Mallrat, with a sold-out east coast tour and electrifying performances internationally at SXSW. Presented by the FReeZA Unsigned Committee, the show was the first opportunity for Melbourne fans to see Mallrat after her brief but enormously-hyped journey overseas, and the sold-out crowd provided the perfect welcome back to the country.
Tasked with easing the crowd into the hip-hop and pop sounds of the other artists, opener Elkkle held it down with a compelling set from beginning to end. Opening with his debut single ‘Don’t Look Down’, Elkkle eased the crowd into his lush and intricate soundscapes, commanding the audience through his twitchy beats and layered production. Latest single ‘Frails’ allowed him to step out from behind his equipment and command the crowd from the front of stage, while his stunning cover of Radiohead’s ‘True Love Waits’ was a welcome and introspective inclusion. ‘Shoulders’ brought his set to a fitting end, and being a collaboration between Golden Vessel and Mallrat herself, was the perfect taste of what the afternoon had in store.
Opening with the searing trap sounds of new single ‘Bag’, it was obvious that Sophiegrophy was immediately in her element on stage. A testament to her skills both as an artist and performer, she crafted an incredible vibe in the relatively small space, impressing the crowd for her entire forty-minute set. With rapid-fire delivery and flow, Sophie blazed through her unfaltering set in seemingly effortless style, never letting up the energy that filled the room from the beginning. The biggest moment came when she dropped the exhilarating ‘FA$T LIFE’, undeniably a favourite amongst fans, who’s hugely catchy chorus had the whole crowd moving. The perfect segue into the headline act, Sophiegrophy is undeniably a killer force on stage and one to watch out for as she continues to excel in 2018.
With Mallrat’s last Melbourne appearance at St Kilda Festival being limited to an over-18 crowd, there was an especially eager attitude from the passionate younger fans. With her live DJ Denim warming up the crowd, the response was huge when Mallrat finally took to the stage, launching immediately into ‘Tokyo Drift’. Both incredibly humble and confident on stage, she didn’t slow down once throughout her tight 40-minute set, delivering each hit with an unassuming ferocity that we’ve all grown to love. Despite her limited catalogue of music, each track garnered a massive response from the dedicated audience, while the intimate space provided a perfectly wholesome and personal atmosphere.
Other favourites from 2016’s Uninvited EP proved to be huge moments, with the star having the whole crowd bouncing throughout ‘Inside Voices’ and ‘Suicide Blonde’. The diversions from her EP tracks came through ‘Rush Hour’ and ‘Bunny Island’, collaborations with Oh Boy and Donatachi on the latter, with their massive chorus’ and PC-Music vibe perfectly intermitting her set. It was moments like these which perfectly capture the pure fun of Mallrat’s live show, with her perfectly fusing sugar-sweet pop and her laid-back rapping and vocals.
While latest track ‘UFO’ was met with a rapturous response from the crowd, it was Hottest 100 smash ‘Better’, which provided the biggest sing-a-long of the afternoon. A track which perfectly captures feelings of youth and nostalgia, it was perhaps the most elating moment in her near-perfect set, with the entire crowd calling the words back to her. It’s a song that will undeniably soundtrack the teenage years of many fans in the crowd, and it was an incredible moment to witness.
After announcing her final song, the close of her set came all too briefly despite the enormous final dance of ‘Uninvited’. Despite an undeniably excited crowd, there was a bittersweet feeling when her set came to an end all too soon. With the impending release of her second EP In The Sky, it’s only telling that she’ll continue to out-grow spaces like this. Sticking around after the performance to meet with fans, it’s a testament to her connection she has with her loyal audience, and as a true rising star in the Australian music scene, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Mallrat.
Live review by Jake Matthews, FReeZA Unsigned Committee