Words by Andy Nguyen
On a gloomy Thursday night in the middle of SWOTVAC, Mallrat kicked off her nationally sold out tour @RocketBar. Having scored #46 in the Hottest 100 with Better earlier this year, Adelaide was ready to brace both the freezing cold and the hellish footy traffic in order to finally get a taste of her highly-anticipated debut EP In The Sky.
Eilish Giligan was a strong opener for the night, combining bustling electronica and bold, punching beats with her delicate, airy vocals. Following this was a DJ set by Ninjarachi; although stumbling on some unexpected technical difficulties, she powered on and ended with the Vengaboys to really pump up the crowd. Boom Boom Boom Boom!
Mallrat’s performance achieved a very satisfying flow: intertwining her freshly released EP tracks — like Make Time and Texas — into the crowd pumping favourites of UFO and Uninvited. An acoustic guitar was even introduced halfway through the setlist, and this nicely broke up the heavy DJ-oriented sounds of the night. The new single Groceries was given a subtle, mellow twist followed by a surprising acoustic cover of Outkast’s bopping anthem Hey Ya! This transitioned perfectly into the highlight of the night: a sweet, charming rendition of Better that still managed to get everyone grooving. It was a funky fresh setlist certain to please all fans.
In terms of describing Mallrat as an artist, the word that keeps coming to mind is “youthful.” Her presence on stage wasn’t the typical perky bounciness usually seen in other performers — often her vibe came off as a little awkward: in fact, during one of the transitions between songs, she told everyone when her birthday was. But this sense of awkwardness isn’t really meant as a criticism — rather, I feel like she indulges and really captures the feel of being an awkward, angsty teenager.
Much of her performance alluded to adolescence — whether it be songs inspired by chilling at Westfield, to lyrics like “everyone talks nicely, but I don’t think they like me,” (#Same). Songs like Suicide Blonde involve vocal projection that’s monotone and tedious — but this is purposely designed to capture that ever so relevant teenage monotony. Although such vocalisation sometimes limited the crowd’s ability to sing along, the catchy choruses and relatable hooks were just as hard-hitting as ever.
This overall feeling of youthfulness makes complete sense in retrospect — I mean, she’s only 19 years old (she’s turning 20 in September btw). No doubt she’s still trying to find her feet as an artist and still getting comfortable with being on stage.
Despite being so young, Mallrat already has a very distinct atmosphere as well as an incredibly passionate fan base (sold out across Australia levels of passion!). There’s no doubt she will have more success in her future as she becomes more experienced as a performer. It seems her potential knows no bounds — perhaps one day, it may even reach levels In The Sky…