Tkay Maidza - 170 Russell, Melbourne

Written by Cyclone Wehner

Tkay Maidza - 170 Russell, Melbourne

Tkay Maidza fever has been running high across the country, with the Adelaide rapper, singer and emoji queen dropping her hotly anticipated debut TKAY. It arrived on the back of her OMG mid-year nomination for BET’s “Viewers’ Choice: Best New Interactional Act” award – massively validating Stateside. Maidza’s Melbourne gig was heaving by time she bounced onto the stage at just past 11pm.

Maidza had two supports – Brisbane’s Midas.Gold, followed by Perth’s Sable.

Sable, once an aspiring mechanical engineer named John, is affiliated with that amorphous ‘Australian sound’. He is down with the Pilerats Records crew – and increasingly producing others, notably elevating Nicole Millar’s Signals.

Sable played a live laptop-based set ranging from chillwave to euphoric millennial rave to hip-hop. The coolest – and most unexpected – bit was his cover of Ginuwine’s ’90s bump n’ grind Pony – trademark Timbaland. Sable, like Chet Faker (aka Nick Murphy), can sing. And Pony has apparently become an ADM staple, with Alison Wonderland also spinning it. Funnily, when Sable chatted to punters, the auto-tune was on. Everyone loved him.

With a 30-minute wait for Maidza, it was no wonder that the crowd was chanting for her. The deceptively diminutive star appeared wearing a yellow creation dotted with glittery red and blue hearts and mega platforms – behind her, a giant screen emblazoned with ‘TKAY’.

Maidza was joined by her DJ LK McKay, another Adelaidian, plus a thrashing drummer in Tim Commandeur from the outfit Panama. Alas, for the entire set, Maidza’s voice was too low in the mix – even her stage banter barely audible. #SoundEngineerFail

Live, Maidza, a fest fave, has long impressed with her ability to fiercely rap, then sweetly sing, while dancing energetically. Her Melbourne show again delivered back-to-back contra-EDM bangers – and fluoro post-trap.

Maidza launched with Always Been TKAY’s hooky intro, helmed by her Diplo-sponsored Melbourne chums Swick & Lewis CanCut. On record, Always Been is trappy, but this evening it was more tribal. The party continued with TKAY’s lead single Carry On, Maidza’s PSA to hatas (she has hatas?) – albeit minus that super-fan Killer Mike from Run The Jewels. And, still early in the show, Maidza pulled out Do It Right, her collab with French house vet Martin Solveig, to a huge response.

Maidza revisited oldies, too – like the slower U-Huh off 2014’s Switch Tape EP. But she soon switched back to TKAY cuts such as Afterglow (boasting input from – gasp – George Maple, What So Not and Djemba Djemba) and the sung At Least I Know. The Salva-produced Tennies was thumpin’.

Eventually Maidza ran out of songs – old or new. She did Ghost, her MOB-overshadowed single from late 2015. She sang the trop-house Switch Lanes, her Paces classic – the crowd accompanying her.

Maidza’s last big tune was her current single Simulation – produced by McKay, it’s her poppiest moment and a little Elliphanty. But, of course, Maidza remerged for an encore – journeying back in time for her break-out stomper Brontosaurus.

Maidza is a hip-hop queen – but a queen needs the volume turned (turnt) up.

Image: Tkay Maidza @ 170 Russell, Melbourne / Photo By Kylie Carns

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