Live Review: RL GRIME @ Festival Hall, 05.11.18

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RL Grime: Nova tour

Festival Hall, Melbourne

05 / 11 / 18

Words by Lisa Favazzo


It was the 5th of November 2018, a sticky long-weekend in Melbourne. While the city awaited rainfall to break up the humidity, punters at Festival Hall got ready for a thunderstorm of their own, delivered by trap heavy-weight  RL Grime and friends. Many hip-hop fans took it hard when Grammy Award-winner Goldlink pulled from the show last month. However, event organisers BBE were able to soften the blow by getting two other exciting names on board: Baauer, the man behind ‘Harlem Shake’, and Buddy, an upcoming young rapper from Los Angeles. The three acts drew a young crowd with an infectious energy.

I arrived mid-way through Baauer’s set to a rhythmic and light atmosphere. As mentioned, Bauuer, also known as Harry Bauer Rodrigues, made a name for himself when he released ‘Harlem Shake’ in 2012. Determined to be more than a one-hit wonder, he has been working to define himself as a legitimate name in the bass music scene ever since. In the last five years, he’s truly seized on the opportunities his viral hit afforded him, collaborating with the likes of M.I.A and Jay-Z.

In my experience, Festival Hall can be an awkward venue to navigate. But, Baauer certainly got the crowd in the mood to be cooperative and bounce. Tracks like ‘One Touch’ featuring AlunaGeorge and Rae Sremmurd weaved together contemporary rap, ’90s hip-hop vocals and a Grime beat in a steamy way. His set played like a love note to the legends of both EDM and hip-hop. It’s pretty difficult to hear songs like Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ and have anything short of a good boogie. The set ended and the hall was fully-lit. I suddenly noticed I was drowning in a sea of sweaty shirtless dudes — Melburnian torsos that hadn’t seen the sun for six months.

The night’s closing act was Henry Steinway or RL Grime. At only 27-years-old, Steinway is one of the biggest names in the electronic music scene. He skipped Melbourne when he toured Australia with SZA and KAYTRANADA for FOMO Festival earlier this year. So, it was about time he came back and to give Melbourne’s trap fans a taste.

The hall darkened again. RL Grime’s silhouette was illuminated by coloured spotlights. The room swelled in anticipation. The energy of the room reached a peak. The beat dropped and ripped like the motor of a chainsaw as the room sprung into motion. Unforgettable choruses from tunes like The Weeknd’s ‘Half Past Five’ and Lorde’s ‘Tennis Court’ brought punters to the table. Bass classics like Nero’s ‘Innocence’ made them stay. Some more ambitious crowd members tried to open up a death pit in the middle of the dance floor. However, nobody was keen to stay for it. Beating bodies were covered in white confetti* as the gig came to a close.

A live bass gig has a way of ravishing its audiences. RL Grime and friends was no exception.

Image courtesy of the artist.


*Just in case you were wondering, it didn’t taste very good. 2/10. Would not recommend consuming confetti.

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