Fresh off a show being moved from the new Palace Foreshore venue, the storm clouds forming over St Kilda didn’t seem to bode well for another outdoor show at the new space, but luckily, Keshi’s fans had better luck than The Black Crowes. The weather may have been chilly, but the mood was electric as the evening’s entertainment began.
Rei Brown, Japanese born and New York based R&B singer opened the show, with a brilliant display of his talents as a musician and performer. Often, a support act for a pop or hip-hop artist can struggle to wow a crowd, due to not being given the full access to a venue’s features, such as lights and screens, but that didn’t stop the young artist from showing his true colours.
Brown played a short, tight set, highlighted by the killer track Haunt Me from his most recent record Xeno, released earlier this year. The song acted as the emotional centrepiece for a passionate and spacey decent into’s Brown’s melancholia. Honest was also a fan favourite, garnering immediate applause from keen audience, who sang along to every word. The icy crowd was truly warmed up by Rei Brown, a well selected opener for a fantastic crooning headliner.
When it came time for Keshi to finally take the stage, the crowd were so excited that they would all raise their phones whenever an engineer or technician crossed the huge festival-style stage, expecting their idol to have finally commenced his performance, so the clear passion for the music on display was clear before I heard a note of the music.
Keshi took to the stage on time and wowed me immediately. He opened with a fresh banger, GET IT, the first track from his new album GABRIEL. The song had the crowd jumping, and initially gave me major Brockhampton vibes, but grew into something bigger. The inspiration of the boy band, especially that of Kevin Abstract, Bearface and Joba was clear, but the depth and quality of the song writing was something entirely further than that the band missed when I’d seen them live years before.
Keshi’s band was something beyond any of his peers I’ve seen before. Many hip-hop artists perform with nothing more than a DJ, and many can do so much with this, but many also fall flat, especially when performing at festivals and outdoor venues. Keshi throughs this idea completely out the window, with one of the best hip-hop R&B bands I’ve ever seen. His drummer balanced traditional flashy drumming with trap-style hip-hop flow, mixing acoustic drums and sample pads like bread and butter. His guitarists and keyboards flawed me further, with an almost orchestral use of layering, and dynamics on display.
The 28 himself also took to the guitar and piano for a few tracks, singing beautiful ballads such as less of you, and the fan favourite drunk, which he called for the new-school phone torch filled crowd for, creating a seriously intimate experience for a show with almost five thousand people in attendance.
He also took a page out of the artists of yesteryear and chose a few sweet stories to share as part of his performance. These included stories about sharing the first song he wrote for the new record, touch, with his manager, and receiving radio silence only to find out it was his favourite. These tales added to the charming demeanour of the artist, who only once missed a cue and apologised to humbly begin the song again perfectly. Keshi teased the crowd, taking off and putting back on his jacket, to show a little skin, only to hide again when quote “my nipples are standing to attention!”, showing his cheeky sense of humour and love for his fans. Ending with a scream for an encore, and satisfying the fans with one last track, Keshi left the fans ecstatic.
With his humble beginnings as a Soundcloud rapper, many would assume lesser of a musician such as Keshi, but this show proved that he is more than just a rapper or R&B singer – he is a true showman, and a real rockstar, with a hell of a legacy on the way.
You can still catch Keshi with limited Tickets remaining
BRISBANE, November 23rd – Eatons Hill Hotel
SYDNEY, November 24th – The Roadhouse