Australia isn’t short on options when it comes to pop music. Hidden away, on a night at the Metro, was the ideal proclamation to the sublime of our pop musicscape.

The first night of what will be five huge shows, Allday’s Starry Night Over the Phone tour is an incredible reminder of the local talent brewing on our shores. JXN, E^ST and Mallrat flawlessly create a mood and set the stage as support artists in spectacular and perfect fashion.

Playing his very first show to a decently sized crowd, Jackson Brazier as JXN is the first on for a night of Pop Showcase. You wouldn’t be wrong to recognize him from previous endeavors, AKA his relatively successful stint on Vine (R.I.P.) or from his numerous covers posted to YouTube. For what is JXN’s first live show, Brazier sets up for a fun night with a bunch of his original songs with the likes of ‘Solitude’ and ‘Going Off’. Amongst these, is a surprisingly fun cover of James Blake’s Mile High.

E^ST has slowly become a staple amongst Australia’s display of live music, bringing more fun and nuance with every performance. Having two aliens walk out with her to opening track ‘Alien’ brings a ridiculous amount of joy to the crowd, with cameras pointed towards the green pair at any given moment. Featuring a slew of her hits like ‘I Don’t Lack Imagination’ and ‘Life Goes On’, E^ST shows off her endearing and infectious energy with flawless strength.

Before the close of her set, E^ST treats the crowd to the yet-to-be released ‘Talk Deep’. The song showcases what E^ST does best. It’s brutally honest, powerful, and articulates the complexity of young love so simply.

Seeing a huge presence amongst Australia’s festival scene, is Brisbane’s finest Mallrat accompanied by DJ Denim, taking their finely tuned set to a stage smaller than the likes of Splendour. Almost as if it’s an unspoken rule, Denim plays some absolute bangers before Mallrat takes to the stage. Through the opening bars of ‘Tokyo Drift’, Mallrat blesses the stage while the crowd roars with excitement, and it’s clear as day how much love everyone has for this twenty-something year old. Mallrat’s set engages with fans of older material like EP ‘Uninvited’ and upcoming ‘Driving Music’, and its incredible to see the crowd be thrilled amongst the four years of material.  Mallrat’s energy persists through the set, except for an acoustic track featuring Japanese Wallpaper

In days of old, Allday’s live performance was mostly similar to Mallrat’s – albeit with less charm and energy – it was Allday and a DJ behind him. However, for the Starry Night Over the Phone tour, Allday has brought a huge six-piece band to support his tracks. True to his aesthetics, Allday has a myriad of stars blasting across the screens behind the band. Playing long time favourites like ‘Wonder Drug’ and ‘Protection’, the crowd chants and yells each of the words back at Allday. The opening moments of each song are so memorable to Triple J listeners, that before the first verse hits, the crowd is perfectly aware of what’s about to go down.

Following on, Allday invites Mallrat back to the stage for a powerful form of Mallrat’s own track ‘UFO’. Here, Allday is really able to show off the strength in his rap skills, during which, it’s damn impossible not to hype up to the pair’s dynamism, while they perfectly bounce off each other.

After the crowd screams for that one more song, Allday re-joins The Metro City, and pumps out his iconic ‘You Always Know The DJ’. Everyone jumps up and down in perfect unison. It’s a true testament to Allday’s progression as a live performer. 

Allday has a fair few more dates before this tour ends, so take the opportunity to see the show and night that has seen so much love, care and planning put into it. With a carefully crafted line-up, and a strong band behind Allday’s crowd-pleasing tunes, The Starry Night Over the Phone tour is the best that Australia has had to offer this year.

Review – Kileab Thum