Where some artists have huge sounds fit for exaggerated stadium shows, others are far more suited to playing intimate venues to a bunch of sweaty, rowdy fans hanging off their every word. Last night saw Atlanta’s Raury prove to be the latter as he took to the stage of Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory for a vibrant and deeply personal solo show ahead of his upcoming stint with A$AP Rocky.
Brisbane’s own ethereal goddess JOY. opened the show, weaving through a hybrid set of original RnB/electro tunes. The 18 year old had almost a full house during her performance yet never faulted, taking to the stage with comfort and ease second to none. A hazy upbeat remix of Captured was the perfect way to end on a climax and simultaneously pump up the crowd for the headliner.
After a seemingly unnecessary 45 minute wait, the lights dimmed, tribal drums sounded and the highly anticipated return of Raury had become very real. He bounced out of the curtains with clean, quick fire bars as a jumping mosh pit of insanely passionate fans formed front and centre to the stage.
The eclectic artist has had a dramatic rise to fame, having only debuted his first mixtape in 2014 and since then collaborating with the likes of Joey Bada$$, SBTRKT and Gucci Mane. Last night’s show saw Raury riding off the success of his debut album All We Need, released in October 2015. Despite all these successes and more, he still remains humble – periodically thanking Australian fans throughout the show for all their support, reminding us of his beginnings, and urging everyone to think about the people rather than the profit.
Contrasting his full-throttle entrance, the rapper took the pace down a few notches; gliding through CPU and Forbidden Knowledge with his smooth pipes and a surreal atmosphere, even lying down on the stage at one point as the crowd cheered to no end. Woodcrest Manor II flowed through nicely, echoing the previous songs’ dreamscape feel whilst having sharp nostalgic verses about a past friendship that deteriorated.
One of Raury’s most gripping qualities as an artist is his ability to convey first hand experiences from his life in a really accessible, relatable way; as a performer, he carries this quality through to live settings, willingly admitting he was dealing with heartbreak at the time of this show. Dedicating one of his more recent songs Her to anyone who’s lost someone they love, Raury then captured the crowd’s attention with emotive singing, ambient backing and heartfelt gestures. Later in the night, a similar effect was created as he grabbed a guitar for a stripped back version of Cigarette Song.
The rest of the night showcased the musician’s versatility as he seamlessly switched to a high energy, in your face alter ego of himself. Without missing a beat, Raury tore through crowd favourites Trap Tears, Crystal Express, Devil’s Whisper and God’s Whisper – only pausing once to exclaim “so much life in this place!”
Oxford Art Factory had transformed into a condensation-dripping, sauna of a room with thumping bass and extremely passionate fans. After a deafening chant from a crowd desperately wanting more, Raury took to the stage one last time for an encore of Devil’s Whisper again; this time jumping into the mosh for a few bars to connect with the people he calls ‘supporters’ not ‘fans’.
Despite their ages, JOY. and Raury both exuded years of talent and confidence that you really can’t buy. As arguably one of the hottest and most versatile artists around at the moment, Raury put on a show that undeniably solidified him as one to watch this year. The only question left unanswered now: how is he going to top this for A$AP Rocky?