Having sold out most of the shows on their current national tour, Melbourne hip-hop duo Remi and Sensible J swung through Sydney this week for another two sold-out shows at the Newtown Social Club. Promoting their new record, “Divas and Demons“, the two gave punters a dynamic and impressive show with equally strong support acts on the bill.
Kicking off proceedings was [DJ] Diola. There aren’t many female DJs on the Sydney club scene at the moment but Diola is worth checking out live if you ever get the chance to. The under-rated deejay spun a 90-min mix with tracks full of soul, funk, and hip-hop which impressed the young and early crowd, but also impressed this reviewer with her [music] taste and depth of transitioning back and forth between the old-skool beats with new(ish) artists Kaytranada and Jay Prince who are currently killing it in the game right now.
Melbourne MC Baro hit the stage next with his DJ Fets and honestly, I did not know what to expect. Having never heard of him or the music he’s created, I found myself wanting him to perform an extended set. The young singer/rapper had a laid-back demeanour to his stage presence. His performance was confident, but also seemed effortless. He provided an energetic and refreshing vibe with the Sydney audience that night, from asking people to dance – “Please dance. I like when people dance.” – to asking the crowd to be safe if they decided to form a circle pit for the last song of his set. The circle pit didn’t end up happening but the vibes were definitely there.
Remi Kolawole and Justin Smith (Sensible J) who make up REMI hopped onto the stage just after 10pm and they were clearly ready to get the show started. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing REMI perform a few times now (in multiple states) and their live performances can easily be described with one word: passion.
I just know that this is gonna be one of the wildest shows out. I’m not just saying that. I can just feel it.
Kolawole has a natural sense of knowing how to get the party vibes flowing and to make everyone feel apart of the show. From the first song to the last, REMI effortlessly commanded the stage, and their fiery, larger-than-life stage persona triggered an unmistakable surge in the crowd’s energy.
Kicking things off with songs from the new record including ‘D.A.D’, ‘Forsaken Man’ and ‘Uh Uh I’m Gone’, the duo also randomly included a short dedication to R&B superstar Usher with Kolawole singing along and Sensible J drumming along to the beats of Usher’s single, ‘U Got It Bad’. Like I said, it was random. But that didn’t stop me from singing and dancing along with them! Haha.
For those who don’t know, we just like to party. We want to see you dance.
Kolawole was completely at one with the music and is naturally made of rhythm, busting out some dance moves and even taught Sydney to 2-step along with him!
He acknowledged the beauty of the diverse crowd in Sydney that night before delivering an impressive rendition of ‘Lose Sleep’, his song with Brisbane-born, London-based singer/songwriter Jordan Rakei. For someone who “fucken hates singing”, he did very well switching back and forth between his and Rakei’s parts on the track.
REMI then took it back to their “Raw x Infinity” record, performing ‘Ode to Ignorance’ and ‘Livin” with plenty of participation from the crowd raising their arms and singing (or rather, shouting) ‘Everybody’s got to make a livin” on the hook along with Kolawole. If you’ve been to a REMI show before, you’ll know that crowd participation is very important to the duo.
Taking it further back, REMI then delved into their very first single, ‘Sangria’, which caused a crazy uproar from the crowd! But coming off from that high, REMI shared with us that they were feeling a bit down that night because it’s the first time they’ve been in Sydney where their good mate Sampa the Great has not been in town and so they were really missing her at that moment. But that was just another cue for Sydney to join in on singing Sampa‘s hook and verses on their collaborative track with her, ‘For Good // F.U.B.U’.
Before jumping in to perform the song, Kolawole took a moment then to acknowledge everyone that had reached out to him when ‘Substance Therapy’ was released, telling him many stories of the struggles they experienced and how the song helped them get through difficult times.
If you feel a bit weird, get a hug off me and keep doing what you do. We love you.
All in all, the duo performed an impressive and flawless set, and whilst REMI didn’t come back on stage for an encore, frontman Remi Kolawole came back out after the show to give hugs (as promised), sign autographs and have a chat with his fans. It was refreshing to witness as most artists these days won’t do that unless their fans are willing to pay a large sum of money for their time, which is sad, but true.
This reviewer didn’t stay back to get a hug but she kinda wishes she did now. Maybe next time.
REMI with support from Baro + Diola
Thursday, 1st November 2016
Newtown Social Club