George Maple at The Corner (Melbourne)

Wednesday night was a seriously cold one in Melbourne, so I was glad to get inside The Corner Hotel for George Maple’s Melbourne leg of a national tour. The producer/singer/songwriter/collaborator from Sydney has been truly on the rise over the few years, and after seeing her open for MS MR back in 2015, I was keen to see how she handled her own headline set.

Before that, the initially small crowd was being warmed up by Jia Linh. Doing impressive work on the decks between hip-hop beats and some choice selections glitch, it was a shame that the crowd was not larger to appreciate some great mixing.

Before we knew it, UV Boi transitioned onto the decks, and building audience definitely started to feed off his energy. Despite limited to a DJ support set, UV still managed to warm the crowd up, with a constant wave of hip-hop and trap. From Dizzee Rascal to Ryan Hemsworth, to his own EP L-UV, the Brisbane native was winning over new fans throughout the whole energy-filled set. Closing out with massive single ‘Luv’, the crowd was well and truly amped from UV’s set.

Warmed by hip-hop beats and a pint of Cooper’s, I was hyped for George Maple to come out, and oh, what an entrance. Donning a pink kimono, Maple demanded attention just by standing there, soaking in the applause and greeting the eager crowd. Throwing away the kimono to reveal a sparkling silver dress, she launched into new banger ‘Sticks And Horses’, which features Washington rapper GoldLink. The track immediately got the crowd dancing away, and was a good follow on from UV’s set, building on the hip-hop vibes initially created. As was the theme for most of the night, I was less focussed on my dance moves and more focussed, no, captivated by Maple’s stage presence. The true definition of alluring and sultry with her tone and movement on stage, she truly owned The Corner from the get go.

Changing pace for ‘Vacant Space’, the more minimal arrangement allowed Maple’s vocals to shine, as the solo track oozed out over the crowd, proving to be a true set highlight. Moving to one of her newest collaborations with What So Not, featuring Rome Fortune, ‘Buried’ is something that could honestly be a Bond tune, well at least before Fortune’s bars kicked in with aggression. Yet another George Maple vocal hook that I can’t get out of my head, and one that sounded even better live.

After a brief costume change to a black outfit (albeit still with plenty of sparkle), Maple and her excellent backing band launched into her other What So Not collaboration, and arguably her most notable track, ‘Gemini’. This went off at that MS MR sideshow last year, and this time it seriously had the Corner shaking. Calling on the audience to belt out the “Yeah Yeah” before the drop was incredibly loud, and even Maple herself remarked “I think that’s the loudest I’ve heard it on tour”. Another set highlight, Maple’s hook and THAT drop, yes please.

After appearing at prior shows on the tour, it was only fair that good friend Tkay Maidza came out on stage at The Corner to massive applause (a good percentage was from me, no shame). The two friends killed a verse from Beyoncé’s ‘Diva’, before performing an unreleased collaboration. It was clear to everyone the two artists loved performing together and playing off each other, with Tkay’s beaming smile and infectious energy rubbing off on Maple. The pairing definitely did bring a more light-hearted and fun energy out of the typically dramatic and sultry Maple, which could be something seen in newer music, we shall see.

Closing with DJ Snake’s remix of her huge tune ‘Talk Talk’, the radio hit has been blowing up as of late, and it was obvious by the amount of people singing every word back to the effervescent Maple. The calypso inspired drop had everyone moving, including Maple herself, and was a perfectly fun way to close the night out.

George Maple showcased an impressive array of musical colour and a versatile set, ranging from collabs on bangers, to more minimal vocal masterpieces. What ever your flavour, Maple’s vocal talent is something that can’t be ignored, and her show proved to be another reason why this star is one on the rise.

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