Live Review: Halsey, Oh Wonder

8 January 2016 | 10:11 am | Uppy Chatterjee

"She's brooding, mysterious and stony-faced, but in being so has the sold out crowd eating out of the palm of her fucking hand."

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The venue — my god, there are so many girls — is electrically charged, probably because so many attendees don't have school tomorrow. A room-wide singalong of Hotline Bling ensues as we wait for Oh Wonder, but the London duo's groove-heavy brand of electro pop is worth the wait. Their chemistry is undeniable and Josephine Vander Gucht's infectious smile, along with Anthony West's passionate concentration-face, is a joy to watch. The young band look like they're genuinely having a blast and it's no wonder (sorry) they're selling out shows the world over already. Songs like Dazzle and Lose It garner healthy responses despite a majority of the venue here for the explosive main act. Definitely a band to watch. 

As an aside — in no universe is it possible to not smile while a sold out venue belts Adele's Hello and The Weeknd's The Hills in between sets. Kudos, house playlist-maker, kudos. 

You know the bad boy stereotype of the guy with a leather jacket and motorbike you're always told to stay away from? As soon as Halsey saunters out, we realise that she's the rebellious female counterpart, the girl in school you always wanted to be friends with but were too intimidated to approach. She's the coolest of cats, the OG of OGs, a heartbreaker, as her embroidered jacket tells us. She's brooding, mysterious and stony-faced, but in being so has the sold out crowd eating out of the palm of her fucking hand. Hiding in the shadows of copious amounts of pastel lights and a psychedelic LED display, her cropped hair, black baseball cap and loose shirt give off solid Bieber vibes — we assume hanging out with him while recording The Feeling has influenced this. Backed by only a keyboardist and drummer, her voice is gritty yet controlled, and her adoring fans are yelling songs like Roman Holiday, Castle and tongue-in-cheek anthem New Americana back to her in ecstasy. She asks the room to put their lighters up (ie. iPhones) during Drive, and for once we see the 21-year-old illuminated, her smile gleaming as she admits it's a selfish thing to ask of us, but she loves looking each person in the face. 

She tells us tonight is being filmed for triple j and backed by a dystopian Tokyo scene, she bursts into the dirty throbs of Ghost. The pulsating Colors Pt 2 sends everyone gyrating while Halsey steps off stage, but the ensuing Colors (very Taylor Swift's Red if you ask me) seems a highlight for the crowd. What you hear on the record is what you get with Halsey vocally, but it would've been nice for her to showcase the pipes we know are hiding within. As rumbling bass beats roll in, a huge Hold Me Down and Young God complete Halsey's very first set in Sydney, though the former's triumphance may have been a better song to finish on. But there's always next time, because believe you me, this will be the smallest show she'll ever play in Sydney. 

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