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Alison Wonderland transformed The Forum into an otherworldly space

This was a truly mesmerising set from the rising producer.

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Lewis Nixon

Alison Wonderland? At The Forum? Surely not, right? An artist that’s performed venue-busting sets to tens of thousands of people, spun records at Tomorrowland and Lollapalooza, playing in a comparatively tiny venue? I was suspicious, but curiosity drove this reviewer forward. 

First on the menu, HiLife, a DJ duo from Brisbane. Their performance came across hollow - most openers either bring a unique element of performance to the show, or provide a solid foundation for following acts to build off - unfortunately, HiLife achieved neither. While both halves of the duo were technically skilled, mixing and chopping songs together on the fly, they failed to bring identity to their set.

Manu Crooks, however, brought the whole crowd straight back to life in a whiplash, with one hell of a set that didn’t break an inch. One of the (subjectively) few good examples of Australian hip hop, Crooks performed selections of songs from both his list of released singles and his first EP to date, Mood Forever.

Fire and flame motifs were weaved into his high-energy stage presence and ability to perform his songs with amazing clarity. With the addition of some samples and renditions from other well-known artists like XXXTENTACION, Manu Crooks managed to inject life straight back into the crowd. Crooks provided a solid performance in his own right and loosened up the crowd for the main course of the night’s glitched out, dance-fuelled buffet.

We had to wait half an hour for Alison Wonderland, Australia’s very own EDM technomancer, to take the stage. Though it felt like an eternity to endure before dancing our asses off, it was worth it. Every. Damn. Second. Launching straight into a 100-minute long set, Wonderland stunned the venue with amazing, split-second mashups and mixes of her own songs, re-arranging beats, samples and entire sound sequences from two or more different songs to make unique creations that always matched, and sometimes even trumped, the sounds of the original tracks.

Performing many different elements and sounds from her main hits like ‘Run’, ‘U Don’t Know’, ‘Church’ and ‘High’, Wonderland managed with relative ease to keep the entire crowd, front to back, enthralled in what she had to offer. The lighting arrangements surrounding this performance deserve special mention, due to how well they fit with the performance itself and how attention-grabbing they were in their own right; strobing lasers, sweeping LED lights, massive visualisation screens that pulsed with acid-trip visuals and transformed Wonderland from human to an ethereal, otherworldly figure.

 
 
 
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More noteworthy elements to the marathon performance include Wonderland’s charming stage presence - a massive crowd-born energy that reached out to touch everyone inside the venue walls. We were all even treated to a sneak peak of her new collaboration with close friend Dillon Francis, and a full-length, high-octane presentation of her own take on Ed Sheeran’s hit ‘Shape Of You’.

It was in the early hours of the morning when the performance drew to a close, and the venue emptied its rooms like a rave-cave clown car. If anyone left dissatisfied with what they saw, they sure kept it under wraps. To nobody’s great surprise, assisted by purely national talent, Alison Wonderland delivered yet another room-busting show to her home country.

Highlight: Just hearing favourite songs of hers presented uniquely and remixed on the fly. It was like hearing it all over again.

Lowlight: None to speak of, really. Previous criticisms withstanding, nothing stood out as ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ about the whole show.

Crowd Favourite: Seeing Wonderland busting out the cello for some of the performance, as well as standard stunts like ‘Run’ and ‘Awake’.

By Lochlan Bourke

 
 
 
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