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Live Review: Maggie Rogers, Mallrat

24 July 2017 | 6:21 pm | Hannah Welch

"We are reminded of Robyn, because the dance songs Rogers presents are serious."

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Opening act Mallrat is not great. It's hard to be encouraging, because there is so far to go for it to be anything other than mediocre.

If you like pop music then the internet hype that vibrated Maggie Rogers into an act able to sell out shows worldwide is to be believed. We first heard singer-songwriter Maggie Rogers in a now-famous YouTube clip that shows her playing Pharrell Williams a version of what was to become her big hit Alaska at an NYU music masterclass in 2016. In the clip, Rogers sits in a chair quietly grooving to her dance track as Williams' eyes bulge listening to the sounds. Then Williams praises her for creating something new, validates her vulnerability and unequivocally tells her she's the real deal.

Rogers' Australian tour feels like a continuation of her frank, unique journey. Her pop songs sound complete, in and of themselves. We are reminded of Robyn, because the dance songs Rogers presents are serious; they are about interactions and articulations of the heart, the mind and the earth. Her songs are so sincerely presented to the crowd; an offering for our enjoyment and pleasure.

Mid-show Rogers plays two songs on guitar and you can hear the country music tones and twangs that elevate her voice in these pop songs to world-class status. She is intelligent and seems much older than her 23 years (and much older than the majority of this crowd). Rogers talks about her own country and the problems it is facing, saying that it's "way too easy to shut off" and imploring her audience not to do so. Rogers also tells us this is her biggest headline show ever, the largest crowd she has played to that have come to see just her. We're lucky, because she really goes for it. Her confidence is palpable, but she's also humble. And Rogers' dance version of Neil Young's Harvest Moon is really cool, reminiscent of Saint Etienne's Only Love Can Break Your Heart.

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Rogers is a young, friendly, dance-pop singer-songwriter extraordinaire.