Live Review: Sampa The Great, Wallace

16 November 2015 | 3:02 pm | Eliza Goetze

"I'm gonna need everybody to shake it off. Let loose. Be free."

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"I'm gonna need everybody to shake it off. Let loose. Be free."

You could not move for the booty shaking as Newtown Social Club packed out to witness greatness — without a doubt two of the most exciting hip hop and soul acts in Sydney right now.

Wallace hit the stage with a bang, her incredibly rich, sultry voice accompanied by a tight three-piece band. The room was already near full — a big achievement for the first act on stage. She sounds like a jazz singer from another era, but accompanied by spacey keys from Andrew Bruce and Novak Manojlovich, this is something altogether different and new. You might call this future-soul, a genre bringing us some incredible talent from the likes of The Harpoons and New Venusians and now, Wallace, who hails from Wellington — a place to which she dedicates one of her newest songs. A number of them climaxed to a mesmerising rapidfire beat by drummer Tully Ryan and Wallace was clearly in her element, her hip-shaking moves as smooth and sassy as her delivery, effortless trills lacing her honeyed vocals.

As if the crowd weren't already feeling it (they were) Sampa The Great had to come in and turn it up to 11. The hype on her has been rising thanks to the release of her mixtape titled The Great Mixtape. In case you couldn't tell, rapper Sampa Tembo oozes confidence. She is fierce. Hailing from Zambia, raised in Botswana and now living in Sydney, she mocked prejudice with the assertive and catchy Female and cutting lines like "A fool would only try and step up to a queen/Bigger than the bigots I'ma take your whole team."

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And she knows how to have fun as well. Sampa coloured every track with effortless, spontaneous expressiveness, and her four-piece band and three back-up singers (including Wallace) helped bring them to life. On Born To Be Blue she rapped easily of "Laughing with my friends and having BBQs/And even though I'm vegetarian — FRY LEGUMES UP!" and her back-up singers shouted the last bit and threw their hands in the air. The packed room followed suit, shaking it off, letting loose, being free as though they didn't even need to be told.