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Live Review: Slum Sociable, Milan Ring

6 July 2018 | 3:43 pm | Melissa Borg

"Their energy was infectious and we were right there feeling the moment with them."

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Up-and-comer Milan Ring could easily be the next big thing. Choosing to take to the stage solo, she instantly looked in her element, laying beats, looping, playing samples and doing luscious vocal runs with ease.

The silky vocals on newbie I've Been Feeling It draw us in, and her rap catches us off guard, but we are indeed feeling it. Ring evokes a strong Ngaiire meets Nao vibe, but let's not get caught up in the comparisons, as she definitely has a signature sound. Drawing upon a range of styles and cultural influences, she mixes Caribbean beats with guitar loops and earthy Australiana raps, showing off her production chops as she adds, fades, loops and silences layers of sound. Stack It Up is an ode to Ring's love of layers. Obscured is an instant hit — and her social media profile confirms the hype — but it's fresh track Drifting that seals the deal.

Slum Sociable have been making waves as of late, but a mic drop early in the first song probably wasn't the best way to start. Thankfully they recovered quite quickly and got their mix balanced to serve up a deliciously groovy set.

The set started out strong, dropping their most hip-grinding tracks to get us in the mood. The duo expanded to a live four-piece band for the evening; their energy was infectious and we were right there feeling the moment with them — it was a major vibe. Frontman Miller Upchurch was particularly enthusiastic, utilising various percussion instruments to put on a one-man dance show for us.

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Slum Sociable's unique sound, which some describe as jazz hop, sounds full and lively on stage, incorporating recorded horns into the mix. The live four-piece pull off the complex soundscape with ease, however, Upchurch's vocals are sounding a little thin tonight, not quite giving us the generous falsetto that we crave and are used to hearing on record.

The Melbourne duo promised us some old, some new and some never heard, and the middle of their set delivered on the latter. However, this seemed to see the set hit a bit of a lull, as slower track Do Something About It was played. Thankfully, the final third of the set revived earlier good vibes, kicking it into gear with groovy newbie Can't Figure It Out and well-known track All Night.