Navigate / search

FRONT ROW | ALLDAY @ FESTIVAL HALL

Taking his sophomore album Speeding on the road, Allday had a packed lineup for a sold out show at Melbourne’s Festival Hall, with four of Australia’s hottest acts in play. 

Opening up the night with a crowd that spread across over half the standing room available, it was clear that the fans present weren’t just early birds for Allday’s show. Mallrat had more than a few fans of her own, and was ready to deliver an experience that exceeded the expectations of any opening act. In fact, it was interesting to note that of the three big name supports pulled, it was Mallrat that garnered the greatest amount of attention. From hearing the callback of “I fucking hate Westfield” in Inside Voices to simply watching the room bustle away to each track played, she worked the stage well. Reflecting on having seeing Allday on his Startup Cult tour only a few years back, it was a testimony to not only his growth as an artist, but hers as a name. To have this many people enthused by your music at 7:30 on a Friday night is no easy feat, yet she pulled it off well. Introducing the closing piece of the set, Mallrat could have stumbled when her introductory question about passout stamps or wristbands got no response, but she picked up well quickly teaching the few unfamiliar faces present the chorus to Uninvited. As she worked her way through the piece it was hard not to admire not only her stage presence, but the response that she has from her fans. It’s two way street of appreciation it seems, where Mallrat, grin glued to her face, seems as happy to be on stage as everyone in the room is to be seeing her up there.

Whilst Nicole Millar’s name may be largely associated with a number of heavy hitting collab, it’s impossible to deny that she deserves a reputation to herself. Her set may have relied a bit too heavily on backing vocals to come across as truly organic, but as she strutted across the massive stage of Festival Hall, silver pants reflecting impressive light set up on offer, she stole the show. It was High that gained the most attention from the crowd, but that should have been expected with the basslines rippling through the room so significantly that it could be felt through the floor. Yet, Tremble was a favourite of the night, not just her set. As she played up to each segment of crowd, Millar showcased her vocal and performance chops. The presence of a live two piece band was a nice touch, and added a level of authenticity to a set that could have felt a little empty. Millar may not have the full range of material to get her onto stages this size on her own as of yet, but it is pretty clear that she’s made for working spaces of this size.

Despite a hugely popular collaboration with Allday, Japanese Wallpaper felt an odd mix as a support act, and that couldn’t have been made more clear when the stage team set up a full live band set up on stage. It was a totally different atmosphere during his set. Not one that didn’t approve of what was occurring, but rather one that seemed eager for another burst of energy. Japanese Wallpaper’s mellow electronica had a beautiful feel to it, and content off his self titled 2015 EP seemed as relevant now as it did on release. His vocals seemed a little drowned out at times, but sound issues are almost as regular at Festival Hall as gigs are themselves. Thankfully, as Gretta Ray joined him as a live vocalist there was newfound clarity. The set was an amazing one to witness, but hard to embrace in the context. It has to be questioned if this was a case of poor ordering, as it really was Mallrat earlier in the night who took the title of best support.

An Adelaide local, now based in LA, Allday opened the first leg of his Speeding tour to a sold-out show at Festival Hall. After strong performances by each of the support acts, Allday stepped out, to billowing smoke, flashing blue streams of light and an intensely hyped all ages crowd.  Allday delivered a high energy set lifting as he confidently rapped through Sides, Raceway and dipping into a softer rap with Wolves and into a crowd singalong, and a fun performance with guest collaborator Mallrat on Baby Spiders.   

As a long-standing fan of Allday, the highlight of the show came in the third song of the set Claude Monet, from Startup Cult.  Although it predicts the darker times and places which are themed through Speeding, the very catchy chorus of “remember the kid you are” resonates. The cult like following of Allday came out strong in the audience atmosphere, it was great to see such a young crowd and in action, clearly loving every moment. They were loud and enthused, and it was evident that the fan base truly do love seeing Allday.  Allday had the audience with their hands in the air, as they mirrored him as he covered the stage, stopping at key points to interact with the crowd and work with the light show.  The set was well spaced out with the crowd really into the songs with the catchy hooks and chance to sing along; Right Now, Send Nudes and Wolves.  The strongest performance of the night was easily In Motion with Allday joined by producer Japanese Wallpaper, which, well we all know it, but Allday can really sing, and we experienced on this beautiful, dark but sweet ballad. 

In a set that lasted just over an hour, Allday performed two covers, All Right by Chance the Rapper, and Childish Gambino’s 3005, and played In Motion though twice.  Although 3005 was particularly well received and Allday alternative wording was appreciated by the crowd, it would have been a great opportunity to showcase a solo of some of the many features Allday teams up on. Hey, my vote would be for Bags Packed with Bam Bam. The night closed off with Always know the DJ, as an encore. The dance floor was bouncing and energy was still high.  A perfect high to end the show.

The entire performance sounded personal, honest and confident, with well-produced songs and an easy flow of pop-hip hop tunes with more of an electro sound that earlier grungy releases. Yes Tom, we were all blessed to be at Festival Hall with you.

Words by Ayden Measham-Pywell and Rachel Measham-Pywell

Ayden Measham-Pywell

Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast