While it might be rare to see her there, given the time and constant hard work she’s been putting in overseas, it was clear last Friday evening at the Metro Theatre that George Maple is most at home on stage in her hometown of Sydney.
Having just released banger collaboration Sticks and Horses, featuring Washington rapper GoldLink and the first of many new bits of solo material since 2014’s Vacant Space EP, Friday was like the pre-drinks for what will no doubt be a crazy George Maple party later this year.
It goes without saying that, though lockouts have severely impacted Sydney’s late night party-going, electronic music sets have remained confined to the later hours of the evening. Friday night was, refreshingly, much earlier. With Sydney support Yuma X kicking off at 8:30, and tour support UV boi at 9:30, the size of the crowd made it obvious that many punters either hadn’t made it to the city yet post-working week or were saving themselves for the main event.
Initially, there was plenty of room in what was a very high intensity set from UV boi, filled to the brim with jersey-club bangers and some pretty filthy trap to boot. His debut EP L-UV cemented him as one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming producers and the crowd gave him exactly the reaction he deserved dropping major tracks like If She, If He and No Answer.
While trap and jersey aren’t sounds that you might expect as a prelude to a headline set largely consisting of spacious and sexy-sounding synths, it warmed the crowd up perfectly. As the Metro filled up, big moments and drops seemed to become even bigger, with the audience breaking into chants and the dancefloor heaving more and more. The hour seemed to fly by, and it was 10:30 before anybody knew it.
It wasn’t long before a drummer and bassist took the stage, to the usual whistles and cheering. Nothing could have prepared everyone for George herself, however, making the entrance of a lifetime in a silver-sequinned jumpsuit. The crowd, understandably, went wild.
Starting off with her EP’s namesake, Vacant Space, George had already set herself completely apart from the rest of Australia’s female artists in blending singing and electronic production. While other voices and personalities remain more whispery and quiet, George Maple was a diva completely in control of her voice and her audience. Moving around the stage and grabbing the hands of her adoring fans, changing outfits to a space-age coat with knee-high-boots and gloves and dancing along to her own songs, she owned everything about her performance.
Her voice was consistently strong and the addition of live bass and drums over track instrumentals, while not completely necessary given the fact we could hear the original backing track, was a nice touch in pursuit of a more “legitimate” live show. A surprise appearance by Tkay Maidza sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy, with nothing but smiles between the two as they jumped back and forth, leading a dance charge all across the floor.
With new music on the way, and thus far only one EP under her belt, it was also interesting to note that her set consisted largely of vocal features on other tracks. What So Not’s Gemini and her latest in Buried alongside Rome Fortune were by far two of the night’s biggest.
Though there wasn’t enough of her own material (thus far) to fill a whole set, her performance of these chart-topping hits was not only a pleasure to witness but also an interesting blurring of the lines between ownership and rights to perform these collaborations – which seems all the more relevant today than ever before. While these tracks are by far her most known, though not entirely under her name, it was a perfect ending to the evening when she closed with her biggest single by far in Talk Talk.
It was hard to see a face that wasn’t singing along word for word, and nothing would have been able to wipe the resulting smile off George’s face.
Though not having spent much time on Australian stages yet, George Maple is a name that people country-wide will soon be saying all the more often. If new material is of the quality we’ve become accustomed to, the features and collaborations stay this huge and her performances are as entrancing and commanding as tonight, there’s no telling just how high she can reach.
Check dates for the rest of her Australia-wide tour below.
George Maple Tour Dates:
Wed, Jul 13th: Corner Hotel, Melbourne (w/ Jia Lih)
Fri, Jul 15th, Oh Hello, Brisbane (w/ Jake Yuma)
Sat, Jul 16th: Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Perth (w/ KUČKA)
Image: The Interns