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[Review] Lizzo @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 17/07/2023

Review By Terri Nas

I just took a DNA test turns out, I’m 100% THAT obsessed with Lizzo! 

Monday nights usually see me headed home after a long day at work to switch off and relax. But this week I ventured out to see the most brilliant and baddest bitch around, Lizzo! 

When I arrived, Rod Laver Arena was abuzz with glitter, sequins, and palpable excitement as far as the eye could see. 

Whilst we were all settling into position, we were treated to a fun and energetic set from Australian singer/rapper Tkay Maidza, who is supporting Lizzo on the Australian leg of her Special world tour. 

Once Tkay departed the stage, the countdown was on for the arrival of the lady of the hour. I could literally feel the electricity in the arena from the crowd pulsating through my veins and increasing by the minute. By the time the house lights went down, the place could’ve burst into flames with the hot anticipation radiating from the audience. 

It was then that Lizzo made her grand entrance centre stage in all her voluptuous glory, and opened her set with Cuz I Love You and her fun and bouncy hit Juice. We were pre-warned by the lady herself that she’d been on the coffee before the show, so now she was “hyper as shit”. Well the coffee worked, because her energy and stamina didn’t waiver once throughout her 90 minute set. 

By this stage, the audience were “‘bout to have a panic attack” wondering if they were ready 2 Be Loved. We then found our Soulmate and jumped on the Phone to the Grrrls. Lizzo then sung us through all the different types of Boys she likes, and then added a little Tempo. During the next song, Rumours were flying and we got to see a surprise on-screen cameo from Cardi B. Lizzo’s energy and vibrancy was completely contagious, and the whole crowd were beside themselves with excitement for the entirety of the show.

As Lizzo sung her hit Special, it was like being embraced in a big warm hug from your best friend. Between the lyrics and her delivery, the song really is a beautiful reminder that everyone is special and loved no matter what. During one particular moment, Lizzo was visibly emotional and slightly overwhelmed as she looked out into the sea of faces (and phones) and absorbed every ounce of love that was being directed her way. The next few songs led us to an excellent cover of Chaka Khan’s empowering female anthem (and a favourite of mine) I’m Every Woman.  

After Everybody’s Gay & Water Me, we were then treated to another cover, this time of Coldplay’s best-selling single, Yellow – with Lizzo declaring that they are one of her most favourite bands. 

It was then time for the famous Sasha Flute to make an appearance, and my little flautist heart skipped a beat listening to the dulcet tones being projected from the melodious woodwind instrument. (Yes, I was a Flute player. Yes, I went to band camp). I just love how an artist like Lizzo has incorporated her classical flute training into her music, giving her a different edge to most. Thank you Lizzo, for making us band nerds and the flute cool again! 

Sasha led us into the iconic hit Truth Hurts with some bad-ass trills which, due to some technical difficulties, was performed in darkness. Lizzo finished the song by hilariously asking “did we pay the light bill, bitch?” A temporary blackout didn’t stop the superstar from continuing the show like a true professional. Interacting with her fans to kill time until the lights were rectified, turned out to be a heart-warming moment in the show. The genuine and humble way in which she interacts with her fans is a clear indication that they are her priority. This is all for them. To prove this point, she did an encore performance again of Truth Hurts once the lights were back, because as she eloquently yelled out, “these people need to get their motherf**kin’ videos!” 

Lizzo has a literal glow that emanates from her, and as well as being beautiful and downright hilarious, you can tell everything she says comes straight from her soul and she believes every word she preaches. 

Her set was rounded out with I Love You Bitch, and the catchy and super motivating Good As Hell, which if you’re not ready to take on the world after listening to it, then you were listening to the wrong song. With the crowd on an absolute high we wanted more, and more is what we got. Lizzo came back for an encore with About Damn Time, and a final appearance from Sasha Flute before they both wished us goodnight. 

Despite being amazingly talented in many areas, Lizzo’s constant message of self-love and believing in yourself is also what makes her stand out from the rest and makes her so endearing. We need more genuine role models like her in this crazy world. No matter the mood you’re in when you enter a Lizzo gig, the only way you’re coming out of that show is on cloud 9 feeling buzzed and empowered. I’m still riding that Lizzo high and won’t be stopping anytime soon. If there’s one person you need to add to your Concert Bucket List, then Lizzo is it. 

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[Review] You Me At Six @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 16/07/2023

Review By Cassandra Hale

The Forum Theatre Melbourne is an auspicious live music venue that is synonymous with the best of the best in the Melbourne music scene. So, what better place to see You Me At Six tearing it up with Set It Off and Aussie favourites Between You And Me?! I could think of no place I would rather be on a cold Sunday night, but getting in was a little harder than I anticipated. The line of die hards snaked up Hosier Lane taking in the latest artwork piled on the walls while waiting, but that was just the beginning of the journey. Once inside the merch line took over the whole foyer leading upstairs for those who wanted to grab a coveted keepsake. The turnout was up and about early which was fantastic for the night’s openers and local Melbourne boys Between You And Me 

These guys burst on stage with explosive energy, instantly winning over the whole venue. You could feel the rapid lift in the crowd with their momentum running like a freight train. While their set was only 30 minutes they packed in enough for an hour. It was a non-stop excitement filled with ripping music, cheeky banter, a trip into the mosh and even a shoey. Matt for YMAS happily jumped in to play bass while two of the BYAM boys were slamming on the floor, which brough a few excited squeals from around the venue. Between You And Me certainly had plenty of fans in the crowd, happily singing along knowing every word, and if you weren’t a fan at the start of the night you sure as shit were by the end of the set. Their Shit Yeah tour kicks off shortly and between you and me you won’t want to miss it.  

Recently chatting with Set It Off front man Cody Carson and being a new fan myself I was keen as mustard to check out their live show. They had a huge army of fans wearing their merch and screaming as they lights dropped, but that came as no surprise. Blasting out of the blocks with Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing, Set It Off gave an unrelenting set packed with all the hits. Cody left no corner of the stage uncovered as he held the punters in the palm of his hand. At one stage moving them from one side of the floor to the other, which I thought would end badly, but ended up being a whole lot of fun. Oozing stamina Cody took a quick-fire trip over the top of the pit, yes over the top. Walking from hand to hand supported by the hoards underneath, never missing a word as he stood aloft. Then taking the jump into surf mode and being passed back to the stage, singing for the entirety. If I wasn’t already impressed, let’s just say that was the kicker. Such a dynamic live performance by the whole band. Each song delivered with gusto and like it their last, the enjoyment of this tour constantly evident, Cody mentioned that he didn’t want it to end on more than one occasion. Guitarist Zach DeWall made the trip to my side of the stage almost as frequently as his own, dripping in energy no matter where he was. His smile as wide as the stage, happiness exuding from every pore. Their enjoyment radiated across The Forum, and I think every person in this iconic establishment could feel it. Clapping as a collective force, hands working on autopilot as Cody roused us constantly to join in and be part of the show.  

The boys ploughed through the hits including, Killer In The Mirror, Projector, Hypnotized and Win Win to name a few. We even got a little Backstreet Boys mash up which had the fans up and about.  Cody swapping out the mic for the drums as hard hitter Max Danziger came up front for a sing at one stage, then hold us down on the ground for a collective jump. Let me tell you this aging body is not primed for holding a squat these days, but I took one for the team and leant on a few pit buddies to join in the fun. Cody being a multi-instrumentalist also got out the saxophone and took it for a run. Holy shit is there anything he can’t do?! I felt like we got one with the lot as Why Worry and Punching Bag closed out the set. With promises to return Set if Off reluctantly left the stage but I have a sneaky suspicion we will see them back in Australia again very soon. 

You Me At Six are regular visitors to our shores, treating their fans to some sensational shows over the last few years. In saying that tonight’s gig took it to a whole other level. Could they really be better than last time? A resounding hell yes was the answer and it slapped you in the face with every song just to remind you. As the banner unfurled behind the drumkit you could feel the tension build to fever pitch, teasing us with what was to come. Then the boys took to the stage one by one and the roar that followed was deafening as the capacity crowd welcomed YMAS back as only a Melbourne crowd can. Dressed in matching black suits and white singlets in line with the cover of the Truth Decay album the boys looked sharp and ready to rock. Deep Cuts from the same album was the opener, Fresh Start Fever followed with the masses screaming back the lyrics of the songs we all knew so well. The mix of songs over the night was absolutely perfect, it covered old and new giving everyone what they wanted to hear. heartLESS, Bite My Tongue and No Future? Yeah Right were all graciously received with arms bouncing and feet pumping. The energy that YouMe At Six brought to this gig was electrifying, Josh Franceschi’s smile infectious and Melbourne’s love for this band could not have been clearer.  

Stay With Me was polarising as Josh sang with such sentiment, the fans taking over singing the familiar lyrics back. Next up from the latest album was Mixed Emotions, drummer Dan Flint showing us his awesome skin hitting. With risers set across the whole stage rear, Dan’s kit on the left sharing the step up with guitarist Matt on the right. It was a brilliant concept and gave Josh plenty of room to work every piece of the stage. Of course, it wouldn’t not be an Australian show without the obligatory shoey and Josh not only did it, but did it from some randoms shoe from the crowd. That took courage even I was gagging at the thought! Take On The World was absolutely stunning, a beautiful sing-a-long with the crowd, all with phone torches held aloft for the occasion. Australia certainly holds a huge place in the hearts of You Me At Six, and Josh constantly lets you know how much they love coming here to play. They are always warmly welcomed, Australia showing them the love and respect that they deserve for making the massive trip to the other side of the world to see us so often. Room To Breathe and No One Does it Better finished out the set to rapturous applause, but I was pretty sure there was a few left in the tank. As it was, it was not just a few but four!  

Josh’s effervescent stage presence just kept bubbling out as they returned to the stage. SUCKAPUNCH had us down on the ground again and while my thighs were already feeling the burn I just punched through and launched up bouncing like a bloody teenager. The spell that is cast by YMAS is like no other and if they can get me jumping on the spot maybe I should employ them as personal trainers! The fans lapped up this large encore, and no more that Aussie fan Scott who made an appearance on stage and played his freakin heart out to Underdog. So generous from all at YMAS and a memory to last a lifetime for Scott.  

Musically perfect all night guitarists Chris Miller, Maxx Helyer and bass player Matt Barnes were the glue holding this amazing outfit together and as they launched into Reckless and Beautiful Way. The Forum’s walls shook a little and I swear the floor moved under my feet as the fans sang it out loud showing You Me At Six that the long haul to visit is appreciated by each and every fan here tonight. With waves goodbye and not just drumsticks, but a cymbal, taken straight from Dan’s kit passed to the adoring crowd, it was over. 

This tour for You Me At Six felt different and in some ways final, and if that is the case, I will live off the memoires of all the times I have seen them perform live and the joy those shows brought. But perhaps if the YMAS boys have a little room to breathe we might see them back in their home away from home for one last hoorah. Here’s hoping!  

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