REVIEW: Basenji | Howler, Melbourne

Written By Annie Cooper on 10/12/2015

With a sold out national tour with Hermitude under his belt, single Petals reaching national acclaim, and his killer debut EP Trackpad garnering a whole lot of love from fans and critics alike- it seems Basenji's success knows no limits. It was unsurprising then, that his stop at Howler for his headline national tour drew an enormous, and extremely happy crowd.

Basenji's music is distinctive for it's blissed-out sound and alert energy that is uplifting to say the least. When translated to a live setting, however, Basenji's music turns into something even more dynamic, something that can unite a packed out room and leave even the least interested punter wanting more. From the instant Basenji took over from supporting act, Herzeloyde, the mood in the room shifted. While newcomer Herzeloyde did a superb job at keeping the energy in the room afloat, it was vastly evident that the large majority of the audience was here for the sole purpose of seeing Basenji kill it. And kill it, he did.

Basenji's intro was drawn out, but it never felt tedious- it lent itself to the tension and excitement of the back room. The crowd broke into it's first applause of many when the performer opted out of the big drop we were all expecting, to address the crowd directly with a greeting of 'Hi my names Basenji, thanks for coming out guys'. He took many opportunities to address the crowd personally, as though he was surprised at the turnout. Though it may have come as a shock to him, with a show as strong as this one, and the strength of the music he produces, the huge audience was predictable.

We were promised a visual show beforehand, but the visual collaboration with Sydney media collective Voena was so much more amazing than anyone could have anticipated. The lights were on point, and in conjunction with Basenji's feel good music, turned the dark room into one filled with excitement and joy. The crowds happiness was palpable, as I witnessed firsthand when a punter turned to me to ensure that I mentioned that 'the lights are sick, the place is packed, and the music is great... I've got two adjectives for you, GOOD and GREAT'. When I asked what he would rate the show, he gave it a solid 4.5 out of 5, with the missing .5 due to the 'shit champagne', a variable clearly out of Basenji's control.

The set consisted mostly of tracks from Basenji's debut EP, Trackpad, although he did play some new Cosmo's Midnight, and Bieber's What Do U Mean, thrilling every Belieber in the audience, myself included. The show at a minimum, was a solid way to promote the EP, the tracks live renditions would make anyone want to consume more. The strength in the production of tracks like the favoured Can't Get Enough and Heirloom are readily apparent when listening to them at home, but in a live setting they were incredible. Basenji has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is so much more than your favourite local DJ. It's surely no easy feat for any artist to completely unite their audience and connect them with their audience, especially for a DJ playing in an area that is at no shortage of quality electronic music. Basenji managed to do this tenfold, the happy vibes were aplenty and the producer even provoked a couple of sing alongs, most notably for his stellar collaboration with Oscar Key Sung, About You.

The set was a literal example of the phrase 'time flies when you're having fun', while it was not actually a short period of time that he was on stage for, it felt like it passed in a mere matter of minutes. With another thank you to his crowd, with an admission that the turn out was surreal for him, Basenji closed his set with crowd favourite Petals, which had everyone on their feet and dancing from the moment it dropped. It was a perfect end to a hugely impressive set.

While Basenji has achieved amazing things within the past year, if this performance was any indication, I'm sure there is plenty more exciting things to come from this young performer, just wait and see.

Full Gallery Of Sydney Show Coming Soon.