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Mallrat's first of three sold out Melbourne shows was a remarkable display of her potential

The songwriter is making headway in the music industry rapidly, to say the least.

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Dylan Martin

If you looked me in the eye back in 2016 and told me that a girl called Grace Shaw would become one of Australia’s dream pop darlings within the span of about three years, I probably wouldn’t have had a clue who you were on about. If you went on to say that she would sell out The Corner not once, not twice but three times on her single tour, I would have laughed at you instead. But that’s exactly what’s happened, and I for one, couldn’t be happier for her.

To celebrate her brand-new, head-in-the-clouds single ‘Nobody’s Home’, Mallrat brought not just a wall-quaking performance, but her friends Basenji, Allday (we were surprised too, believe me), as well as power-pop songwriter Kota Banks, who all combined together to form the highlight of her Australian tour so far.

First up was Kota Banks, belting out some high-octane, rapid-fire tracks such as ‘Child’ and the Swick-collaborated ‘Decisions’, all slickly performed with amazing sound and production. An amazing compliment to the show’s lineup, nearly every song managed to get everyone down and moving. Banks jumped and danced along with us to every beat and lyric she performed, and displayed a stark opposite in sonic direction to Mallrat. While both share the same roots and fundamentals within their music, Kota Banks was more of a room-shaker, with quicker buildups and payoffs to her songs and a heavier focus on pop-centric sounds. I think she said it best herself; Mallrat’s music is more ‘vulnerable’, while hers is far more boisterous and bouncier, an amazing contrast to what was to come, as well as something the crowd thrived off happily.

Next up on the bill was Basenji, the mastermind behind the backbeat of ‘Nobody’s Home’, amongst other amazing tracks. Performing with the skill of a veteran DJ and producer, Basenji pounded out a nearly hour-long set of his own making, something unique enough to pique interest but not so ostentatious that it turned people off listening. Overall, however, I feel like there wasn’t a terrible amount to say about Basenji’s performance. It was an amazing set, but for this reviewer, he didn’t bring anything out that made the eyes shoot wide and get the body moving.

The headliner of the night, none other than Mallrat herself, was quite the spectacle to behold. Bringing her signature blend of hip hop-like vocal work and dreamy, rich melodies, Mallrat powered through just over an hour of both her latest and her greatest tracks. Bolstered by heavenly lighting and the help of some unexpected friends, Shaw pumped out bangers like ‘Groceries’, ‘Tokyo Drift’, and ‘For Real’ without a care in the world, as well as the entirety of her In the Sky EP and of course, her flagship hit of the moment, ‘Nobody’s Home’. Each and every song was performed to acoustic perfection thanks to the choice of venue, and as usual, I feel like a shoutout to the techs of the night is necessary for the work they put in.

While I felt that Mallrat’s vocals lacked the same amount of power as they do from the studio, this didn’t detract from the set she and her partner in crime, DJ Denim, put out in the slightest; there wasn’t a single misstep out of either of them from start to finish.
The biggest part of the gig, however, was the crowd, and the energy that Shaw gave off to everyone. Sure, you can bring out Allday (we’re all thankful for that one), and you can perform until your heart stops, but if you don’t wrap up the crowd, you’re only doing half a job. Mallrat succeeded with flying colours at this; not a single person stayed still or lost interest through the entire night, and smiles were worn as a uniform from the pit to the back. As with most of her music appearances, Mallrat created a night to remember for everyone, and proved yet again that the only direction she’s headed in is up, up and up.

Highlight: Hearing every song of hers I wanted, live and right in front of me. Amazing can’t cover it.

Lowlight: Sloshing beer on some poor guy’s jacket. Sorry dude.

Crowd favourite: Quite a few bits, but everyone especially lost their minds when Allday flew out from behind stage.