Joe Wilson sees the world through Rose-coloured glasses.
The Perth leg of Elizabeth Rose’s tour at Jack Rabbit Slims was a night jam packed with clear and crisp R & B vibes, propped up by the production and wordsmith talents of supports Alywn Lewis and BARO. Although lukewarm in vibe at the commencement of the night and little bit of heat needed from the crowd to reflect the energy provided by the supports; the party atmosphere eventually heated up in time for Elizabeth Rose to take the stage.
Alwyn Lewis eased into the night with minimalised production and bare-bone instrumentals; with the backing track keeping his set loud, smooth and smarmy. With his vocals at first instance sounding soulful to the ear, as his set moved on, it became noticeable he was some strange hybrid of R & B vocals and rap, with his lyrics moving forward just quick enough to emerge into a rap;
but not just quick enough to emerge onto that level of hyper-kinetic poetry, his performance just satisfactorily sat in that space, a pleasing twilight zone between contemporary R&B and hip hop. His drummer also kept the set moving forward, attentively working away at the beats like a middle-aged, greying pottery artist; whimsically loving their craft.
BARO’s entrance was rather elusive, with a man on production already pushing out sets to warm up the stage. Acting as pseudo-hype man, the DJ fronting BARO’s tracks shouted out praises of adulation and encouragement, in an effort to draw the crowd in further. Eventually BARO emerged on stage and threw the set into a mixture of old-school hip hop with his own signature sound.
You couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the two performers; having flown all the way out of Melbourne and failing to hype up the crowd. Nonetheless, BARO ripped up his performance and created some pleasing hip hop to lounge to.
The eclectic combination of old school R&B and modern electronic music was signature to Elizabeth Rose’s sound, and pervaded throughout her set. Evoking a stylistic aesthetic, Rose’s set was strewn with old hits and new, with Sensibility kicking things off. Tearing straight into the tracks from her new album INTRA, a record detailing the ins and outs of Elizabeth Rose; she managed to achieve that modicum of performance relatively easily; with her actions on stage easily tied to the music.
Division was played halfway through her set, using the song as a plight to her support for marriage equality; which garnered a lot of cheer from the audience. Another Earth was also played, with its undulating bass rhythms accompanied by Rose’s alluringly, unique soulful vocals.
All the music, from the audio to the visuals was layered just right, with nothing coming off as neither excessive nor underwhelming. Her performance was concluded with Playing with Fire in which BARO joined in for the rapping segment in the bridge, easily bolstering up Rose’s track with some smooth hip hop. Nostalgia was kicked up in the encore, with Ready to Go smashed out with a vitalizing energy; for a performer who is armed with only one other person on production, Elizabeth Rose certainly gives off a presence which can’t be contained.