Reviewed on Thursday January 23

Georgia Ann Muldrow and Dudley Perkins are a team, two peas in a pod, a unit. They were here in Australia together to spread their message of unity, peace and hip hop-heavy beats and they tried their best to ensure the crowd received that message loud and clear at Paradiso Town Hall as part of Sydney Festival.

Accompanied by DJ Romes, the duo was an intriguing sight and put on an even more interesting show, although it wasn’t always for the right reasons. While their message might have been positive, the show was a hit and miss, with Perkins and Muldrow doing their best to lift the energy, but more often than not leaving the crowd perplexed, especially when they were onstage together. The key issue was that Perkins, Muldrow and Romes performed as if they were at a warehouse party, but the venue was vastly different to that of an intimate or gritty underground gathering – and so their performance, while anything but lacklustre, simply did not translate in the vacuous and large Town Hall.

The tables turned somewhat when Muldrow was given the spotlight to herself. Vocally and style-wise, she echoed greats of hip hop and soul like Lauryn Hill: not just in her conscious and cool demeanour but in the content of her flawless rhymes and seamless scats. There’s got be something said for an artist who can find that perfect balance between street and soul, and Muldrow walks that line effortlessly and eloquently. She was both endearing and emotive in her performance, although it didn’t come in time to retain the crowd that had emptied out of the venue not long into the show. Those that remained, however, were treated to an intimate show that saw them grabbing onto Muldrow’s uplifting energy which was complemented by Romes’ DJ skills.

It’s a strange situation when two peas who are so cosy in their pod would be better off split onstage. Perhaps a reworking of the set could have saved the night, but either way, Georgia Ann Muldrow and Dudley Perkins’ message of unity was not completely lost, just overshadowed by the flaws in what could have been a show as captivating as the roses Muldrow sings about drawing.

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