Mac Miller made up for lost time when he lit up 170 Russell

It’s been pretty special to watch who Mac Miller has become over the last few years. The Pittsburgh bred rapper, singer and producer has been long overdue for a visit to Melbourne, with his previous Australian appearance coinciding with the last ever Big Day Out in 2014.

Image source: 
Live Nation

Since then, he’s released two studio albums, GO:OD AM in 2015 and The Divine Feminine in 2016 – a stunning, jazz-rap concept record reflecting upon his experiences with women across his life. Miller has proved himself to be a nuanced hip hop artist whose goofy, slacker nature goes hand in hand with his highly-detailed production and philosophical lyricisms.
He’s always been a character that his fans have been able to relate to; much of his appeal has been in his down-to-earth honesty; instead of feeling like an elusive rap icon, Miller has always come across as a real person, and this came across in his performance. His drawling rap style is instantly recognisable and endearing, there’s something very uniquely authentic about Miller that no doubt all his fans would agree with.
Accompanied by his backing rapper and DJ, Miller brought an unrelenting, appreciative energy to 170 Russell.  He ran on stage and delivered an explosive opener before telling fans that Australia is his favourite place in the world, and humbly apologised for being away for so long.
Miller’s set comprised of best-loved dance tracks from GO:OD AM and a mix of older gems from 2011’s Blue Slide Park and other mixtapes. His more pop tracks such as Brand Name and Weekend caused the greatest stir in the crowd. Early in the set, he gave a gorgeous performance of piano ballad Congratulations, the opener from The Divine Feminine before smoothly launching into Anderson Paak. collab Dang, which allowed punters to revel in one of the only tastes of funk R&B music in the set.
There were instances where Miller’s voice was lost in the noise made by his fellow performers, but luckily the quality of the performance delivered by the trio meant that fans didn’t mind so much, as long as they could follow Miller’s train of thought. Before playing 2011 hit Donald Trump, Miller gave a sincere “PSA” to express “In no way, do I fuck with his person at all,” to which punters responded with a hugely supportive cheer.
In his final track of the night, Miller told fans that he didn’t want to see a single living person in the room standing still, “The people that go around that say ‘I don’t give a fuck,’ that’s some bullshit cause everyone gives a fuck sometimes, and I want you to know that you’re not crazy for giving a fuck sometimes. I give a fuck sometimes.”
With that thought-provoking sentiment in everybody’s minds, fans delivered exactly what Miller ordered in time for trap banger When in Rome, where he matter-of-factly proclaimed, “I’m on the top of my game.” Looking around 170 Russell, it didn’t seem like one person in the room would dispute him on that.
Highlight: Mac politely asking the crowd to give a round of applause with no shouting or yelling. Definitely not a sound you ever hear at a gig, and it was surprisingly pretty beautiful.
Lowlight: DJ Clockwork’s support performance. Definitely entertaining but frankly a bit of a mess.
Crowd favourite: Stay.