Review: Elizabeth Rose, Baro | Oxford Art Factory, Sydney

Written By Zanda Wilson on 06/25/2016

ElizabethRoseElizabeth Rose wrapped up her national tour last night in her hometown of Sydney, and it went off with a bang. To warm up the stage for Lizzy, her good mate Baro took to the stage and pretty much spat straight fire for around an hour. “It doesn’t sound like Aussie hip-hop,” my mate commented to me as we arrived just after the beginning of Baro’s set – and he couldn’t have been more spot on.

There’s a reason why guys like Allday and Spit Syndicate are touting Baro as one of the next artists out of Australia really ready to explode – and his voice is the main factor in this regard. His support set combined incredibly smooth, almost Miguel-like singing, with captivating and driven rhymes. His audience engagement was sufficient without being amazing – and this was in part due to his MC who, with his accompanying vocals, often drowned out Baro. He wasn’t a bad MC necessarily, perhaps he was just over-zealous.

The stage was then set for everyone’s favourite producer/instrumentalist/dancer/LGTB activist to take the stage, but we were then left waiting for almost half an hour as Rose struggled to get her visuals tested and working. Why this wasn’t done at some point during the day is mind-boggling, as the crowd began to get seriously frustrated. It was a massive shame to be honest, and coupled with the fact that the crowd was fairly small by Oxford Art Factory standards anyway – this delay and the fact that we could actually see Rose’s Mac up on the screen on stage kind of was an unnecessary vibe killer early on.

When she eventually took to the stage, Elizabeth Rose gave a performance that only she could give – proving that her musicality, unique style and dance moves were not the reason why the venue had not sold out. After a national DJ tour in 2015, Rose brought her debut album INTRA to life in a starkly different way, and one that she had had teased at her 2015 Splendour set.

The singing and dancing Rose belted out tracks, accompanied by a set of backup dancers – who together performed some awesome choreography, led by Rose herself. Her MC played the part perfectly as well, trading harmonies with Rose when needed and not intruding on her stage presence at all. An early highlight of the set was one of her older hits Sensibility, before she launched into a heap of tracks from the new LP.

Despite the delay in setting it up, the trippy visuals were absolutely epic. Whether they were worth an extra half an hour’s wait is up for debate, but they suited the dancing and music perfectly – and rounded out what was undeniably a complete visual performance. More high points came as Rose sang her Chrome Sparks collab Another Earth, before one of the climaxes of the evening unsurprisingly came care of her biggest radio hit to date and lead single from INTRA; Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda – easily the best crowd singalong of the evening.

The crowd’s response to her rendition of the marriage-equality themed Division was overwhelmingly positive, with members of the LGTB community out in force to see Rose – who has become something of a marquee figurehead for the LGTB rights movement.

Baro then came back out to raucous applause, doing justice to REMI’s verse on Playing With Fire – before the two thanked one another, and her dancers, then leaving the stage. Lizzy Rose had perhaps sold her farewell too well – as the crowd began to dissipate before Rose returned to perform Again for her encore.