Live Review: Remi, Baro, MzRizk

19 December 2016 | 12:55 pm | Natasha Pinto

"There isn't one table or chair that's not being used to improve sightlines right now..."


R&B/hip-hop/jazz DJ extraordinaire MzRizk provides the most soul-satisfying selection of local and international party-starting jams for us to loosen up to. Punters are spotted downing their beers in record time just so they're able to have both hands free to boogie to their heart's content to Lauryn Hill and Blackstreet's nostalgic tunes. We're treated to a couple more songs to groove to before the music comes to an abrupt end, the room darkens and Baro's DJ takes to the mic.

There's some intense, gyrating dance moves happening in the crowd when all of a sudden the music stops just as punters are getting deep into it. "Yoooo, my shit just crashed!" yells his DJ and then out walks Baro in the silence, to check out what's happened. Thankfully, the problem is quickly resolved and the vibe picks up in no time. Baro has command over the audience and everyone's totally on board with the crowd participation, shouting, "Fuck everybody!" during This For You, Fuck Everybody. The best traits from Baro's tracks are the dreamy samples and lush jazz chords that most of his songs are laced with. It's hard to believe that someone as young as Baro has this much funk and flow. Seasons is a perfect example of this and is clearly a highlight as a large portion of the crowd sings the chorus at the top of their lungs. Nasty Mars joins Baro on stage to do a track featuring gross-out lyrics; something about eating pussy like some mussels out the shell (?). Crowd favourite Wdubi is up next and finally a quick shout-out to a fan who offered him beef jerky during the set.

As the music softens, we're told that a Welcome To Country, conducted by Neil Morris and brothers, will take place shortly.  Hues of yellow beam onto the stage as the three men take their positions and wait for silence before they begin. After a moving didgeridoo solo, the drums kick in as a mesmerising dance is performed. A guitar and vocal loop slowly build up background intensity. It's truly an admirable and respectful beginning to the main part of the night.  

Strolling on stage to an eruption of screams, Sensible J (producer, collaborator and drummer) gets ready at his kit while Remi Kolawole calmly takes a sip of water as if completely unfazed by the hyped crowd standing before him. He announces the show is being recorded for triple j's Live At The Wireless. Straight into the first track it's clear that Kolawole doesn't even need to move around to hold our attention. A simple wave of his hand has the crowd completely fixated. Kolawole's flow is so polished and his constant appreciation for his opening acts and Sensible J show how genuine this guy is. A heart-melting unexpected breakdown of Usher's classic U Got It Bad has the crowd in stitches, singing along passionately with eyes closed while belting out the lyrics. XTC Party takes it up another notch. There isn't one table or chair that's not being used to improve sightlines right now and the energy is elevated when Remi begins singing Jordan Rakei's parts on Lose Sleep. His vocal tone is deep and divine, which makes us wonder why, with pipes like that, Kolawole doesn't croon on a few more of his tracks.

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Kolawole brings up some local artists to share the limelight, Jelena Nikcevic for his Like A Version of The Avalanches' Since I Left You. Tre Samuels lends vocals on a few tracks, Average Rap Band jump on stage for a super-funky freestyle over a remixed version of James Brown classic The Payback and then Baro returns for Hate You. Both Kolawole and Sensible J are supportive and thankful for each musician that performs, and the fact they invite so many up-and-coming artists to perform with them says a lot about their characters. Deciding to skip the encore cliche, Kolawole powers through the last two songs. The physical and emotional investment in his performance is exemplary. Sensible J's tight production and beats, paired with Kolawole's flow and stage presence make for a dream duo. All that's left to do now is wait for the rest of the world to realise that these guys are some of the best in the scene.