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Live Review: Little Simz @ Hordern Pavilion

24 July 2023 | 11:21 am | Shaun Colnan

Little Simz's show defies description and leaves your face hurt from smiling at her genius.

Little Simz

Little Simz (Source: Supplied)

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“You’re witnessing greatness. I don’t say that with arrogance. I say that with confidence. It’s taken me a long time to get here.” These were the words delivered by Simbiatu "Simbi" Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, better known as Little Simz.

It felt like the sentiments were shared throughout the Hordern Pavilion audience as a wave of joy and exaltation swept at length from the front to the back. So compelling was her solo performance that she was able to coax effervescent whoops and vexed cries with her every movement.

This was especially felt on tracks like the recent release Gorilla which recalls her time coming up in the industry and shows her characteristic lyrical dexterity and her enduring temerity. She is effortlessly cool and visibly wrecked from touring but buoyed by Sydney’s reception. 

Tracks from her highly acclaimed album, Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, proved to similarly win crowds as thumping yet nuanced instrumentals played. Simz commanded respect and awe, evidenced by revellers screaming her name and visibly shaken by her presence.

Songs like the titular Introvert proved reflective of the very experience presented with Simz discussing the pressures of the industry and the touring game and the attempts to balance this with a pensive personality.

Stunning visuals persisted, most effective on tracks like the titular track from her 2022 album NO THANK YOU, the clever and evocative No Merci, which saw a call and response on the lines “Do yourself a favour, They do not deserve you, You can't be their saviour, You're only human too.”

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101 FM proved one of those earlier tracks which turned a lot of listeners on to the British-Nigerian rapper, and the visuals matched the bouncy, joyous, nostalgic tone of the song, inciting many to sing along as best they could.

Later in the set, Simz was joined by a band, taking the set into another realm, bolstering her already stellar performance. Anyone who gets the chance should get out to her live show: it defies description and leaves your face hurt from smiling at her genius.

Earlier, local rapper and artist Ziggy Ramo returned to Sydney, wowing crowds with a range of spirited covers and tracks from his influential 2020 LP Black Thoughts and recent release Sugar Coated Lies.

Ramo combines the perfect ingredients to create enduring rap music: an artful blending of personal and political messaging and catchy and thought-provoking lyricism.

Crowd favourites fell at the close of his set with Ms Lauryn Hill’s always infectious Doo Wop and his updated rendition of Paul Kelly’s ballad of Vincent Lingiari, From Little Things Big Things Grow. His message was clear: “We talk about systemic oppression, but it’s people who put it in place… We all have the choice to make the right decisions.” Prescient as always and crucial at this time in history.