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Live Review: Ecca Vandal, Rara

1 April 2015 | 11:39 am | Holly Keys

"Vandal’s vocal performance is impressive as she moves from one forceful song to the next."

RaRa open for Ecca Vandal on the third night of her four-week Gasometer Tuesday residency. The Melbourne-based hip-hop foursome rap over thick beats and have an energetic stage presence. RaRa feel a bit like a boy band, but instead of syrupy pop songs they play multi-layered hip hop. They prove that it’s always worth arriving in time to see the support band.

Next up is Ecca Vandal, who runs onto the stage from the back of the room. Vandal only has a couple of songs available online at this point so her setlist feels new to everyone here. The crowd is excited and she kills it with dance moves that somehow morph breakdancing with punk-style slamming. Vandal plays a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s Mandinka. The idea of someone being able to top O’Connor’s vocal performance seems kind of absurd, but Vandal manages to do it. Her voice brings a raw intensity to the ‘80s pop tune, which is then elevated by the ferocity of her band.

As Vandal plays her new song Battle Royal, ball-of-energy guitarist Stacey Grey breaks a string and doesn’t seem to notice as he jumps around strumming his instrument in an aggressive-yet-playful way. Throughout the song – which perfectly illustrates her music’s eclectic fusion of hip hop, punk and electronica – Vandal alternates between yelling, rapping and singing. She moves around the stage with a concentrated energy and commands the attention of everyone in the room.

Vandal plays her most well known track, the gritty White Flag. She jumps into the audience and runs around, getting everybody moving. A couple of people to the left start a mini-moshpit. Vandal’s vocal performance is impressive as she moves from one forceful song to the next. She then introduces her band, Stacey Grey on guitar, Kidnot on beats and Stan Bicknell on drums. Bicknell wears headphones to protect his ears from the pounding force of his percussion. They all look sweaty and happy. During the last song of the set, Vandal repetitively asks, “Where are the trees that grow money?” The song is bouncy and loud. 

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As everyone starts to leave the venue, more than one person is overheard saying, “Totally coming back next week”.