Live Review: George Maple, UV Boi, Jia Lih

14 July 2016 | 4:28 pm | Tobias Handke

"There's time for a costume change before she brings out Tkay Maidza as a surprise guest."

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Newcomer Jia Lih gets the party started with a hip hop-heavy set of beats and breaks. The likes of Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and Fat Joe are looped with 808 instrumentals for a solid hour of aggressive electronic-meets-trap bangers. Brisbane's weird and wonderful UV Boi follows with the second DJ set of the night. He provides an amalgamation of dark, glitchy electronica and modern hip-hop beats, sampling everyone from Dizzee Rascal to Blink-182. It gets a little tedious by the end but UV Boi has the dancefloor shaking up a storm as strobe lights illuminate his smiling face.

For an artist with only one EP to her name, George Maple sure has a lot of fans. Tightly packed into Corner Hotel's bandroom, a hush descends over the sea of people as the lights dim and curtains draw open to reveal Maple in all her glory. Sporting a matching gold-sequined top and miniskirt, red light saturates the stage as the once silent crowd bursts into applause and wolf whistles. A mass of camera phones held aloft record Maple's every movement as she starts things off with Sticks & Horses, her collaboration with American rapper GoldLink. Although the vocals are a little low in the mix to begin with, these technical difficulties are quickly sorted as Maple captivates with her beguiling presence. Bathed in purple and blue lights, her minimalistic stage show is similar to that of FKA Twigs, with the LA-based Australian oozing confidence and sexuality as she gracefully moves around the tiny stage backed by her bassist/keyboardist and drummer. From the whispered chorus of Vacant Space's house vibe through to the seductive vulnerability of the What So Not and Rome Fortune-featuring Buried, Maple's vocal prowess and eye-catching movements are transfixing.

Unfortunately Maple hasn't enough material for her headline spot and resorts to a number of covers to stretch the time out. Her version of Britney Spears' Boys is adequate, but her take on NERD's Rock Star is an unnecessary addition to the evening. There's time for a costume change before she brings out Tkay Maidza as a surprise guest and the two perform a new song that's a change of pace from Maidza's usual frenetic wordplay. Talk Talk, arguably Maples' most well-known track, is a fitting finale. Fans sing along with phones once again raised as Maple's delicate vocals shine over the electronic production one last time.