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If you’ve heard anything at all about Raury Tullis, you probably already know his ambitions are far from small. You may have also fallen in love with his wide-eyed, take-anything-in-his-stride attitude to life, reflected in his piercingly honest interviews and incredibly diverse musical style. He’s got no shortage of confidence, but he’s not short on raw talent either. It’s no wonder the 18-year-old young gun is being flown to meetings with Kanye West and featuring on SBTRKT tracks. He’s about to go off.
The evening starts with a set of super chill vibes from Melbourne boys Milwaukee Banks. Their tracks Monitor and Van Gogh receive a warm welcome from the fast-growing crowd, and the Oxford Art Factory dance floor is almost full by the time Raury takes the stage.
It seems word about this kid has spread quickly off the back of his Sydney Laneway Festival set, and he’s here to capitalise. Raury sets a frantic pace. We’re swept up in the urgent whisperings of War Pt. 1, before he launches into one of his heavier tracks, Chariots of Fire.
It’s as if the young rapper from Atlanta has taken a choose your own adventure approach to his debut album, Indigo Child. He flips the page from rock to rap with Higher, produced by SBTRKT, before shifting into a more acoustic feel with Superfly, his collaboration with Aussie band Vancouver Sleep Clinic.
Between songs, Raury’s got a few thoughts to share with the crowd on the pursuit of happiness. If he wasn’t fresh out of high school and riding the beginning of a potentially massive wave of success, he might sound a little naïve. But he’s utterly genuine and his positivity is contagious. There’s a lot of love in the room.
He’s also a big one for crowd participation, and not shy to order us around. If he says clap, he expects it from the whole room; there are no slackers on Raury’s watch.
His track Lost Souls, off The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 soundtrack goes down a treat, as does Cigarette Song to which the crowd sings along. Next in line is the saga of Sevens Suns.
He takes a moment to catch his breath. “Sydney, I hope you came here looking for fire, looking for explosiveness tonight, ’cause you’re going to get it.” He doesn’t disappoint, and neither do his band, who deliver an impeccably tight performance.
The message leading into God’s Whisper is a little simpler, “If you know this s**t, you better f**king sing it.” We happily oblige.
It turns out once isn’t enough for God’s Whisper. He returns for his encore having armed the crowd with water bottles to play the hit once more with feeling, amidst a pretty epic, though short-lived water fight.
Watching this kid on stage it’s clear he’s more than just a bright spark. There’s electricity in his veins that’s got him running on a much higher voltage than the rest of us. Raury has world domination in his sights and, after a performance like this, nothing seems impossible.
Image: Raury Live At Brisbane Laneway Festival 2015 / Photo: Charlyn Cameron