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Live Review: Brent Faiyaz

4 January 2019 | 4:58 pm | Calogero Algeri

"Faiyaz quickly showed exactly why there is so much excitement surrounding him, repeatedly delivering flawless vocal renditions."

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Whether you’ve heard the name before or not, Brent Faiyaz deserves to be on your radar. The past three years have seen him rise from anonymity to shake up the RnB game, bringing with him an inherent respect for the genre’s veterans and a beautifully painful vulnerability in his music. In the process, Faiyaz has received nods from Childish Gambino, teamed up with the likes of GoldLink, and even been nominated for a Grammy - all while brushing off labels and opting for an independent path through the industry. Following the release of his latest EP, Lost, Faiyaz hit the road for the first show of his debut Australian tour, stopping in at Jack Rabbit Slim's on Thursday night.

With no support acts or information on set times released beforehand, fans flocked to the venue early to be sure not to miss a second of the action. As they waited for the crooner to grace the stage, fans swamped the merch stand for tees, sweaters and vinyls – an ode to the devoted global underground following that Faiyaz has amassed in a relatively short period. The 23 year-old Maryland native initially drew attention with his 2016 release AM Paradox before cementing his place with the highly anticipated debut full length project, Sonder Son, the following year.

After a loud murmur engulfed the crowd as a live band appeared on stage, Faiyaz eventually entered on the stroke of 9.30PM amidst the opening chords of the Sonder Son opener, Home, and wild screams from the crowd. Faiyaz quickly showed exactly why there is so much excitement surrounding him, repeatedly delivering flawless vocal renditions of some of his most beloved tracks (Missin Out, Insecure, Stay Down) and executing vocal runs that would make Jodeci jealous. 

With no backing track to speak of – a refreshing change compared to most live shows nowadays – Faiyaz’s impeccable pitch and range was on full display, particularly during slow burners such as Burn One (Interlude) and First World Problemz. These sombre moments of the night saw gentle swaying from the crowd intermittently interrupted by screams as the singer came down to crowd level to personally woo the audience further.

As much of his catalogue’s production indicates, Faiyaz’s love for Lauryn Hill was illustrated through a set heavily reliant on acoustic guitar laden backing, and a bass guitarist who had Faiyaz himself scrunching his face to some of her solo runs.

Closing with a playful rendition of GoldLink’s Crew, on which he carries that hook, and the 808-heavy, charisma-oozing Gang Over Luv, Faiyaz’s sixty minute performance never faltered. Despite the lack of inclusions of tracks from his latest EP, plenty of distance was covered in his set, with Faiyaz’s ability to vividly portray a brash honesty and soul-baring mindset through deeply personal cuts unveiled in spectacular intimacy.

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