Reviewed on Saturday March 8 (photo by Katrina Clarke)
The King of Kawaii, Ryan Hemsworth, came to party at Oxford Art Factory for the second last date of his big Australian tour. He’s into Nintendo, Pokemon and Drake, and I’m almost certain that every single human in the world is a fan of at least one of those things. So with that underdeveloped hypothesis on the table, you can safely assume that he did a good job of packing out Oxford Art Factory on Saturday night.
Accompanied by vivid visuals that synced perfectly with his set, Hemsworth took us on a musical safari that spanned many genres and decades, seamlessly woven together by the talented producer. He has a masterful knack for mixing artists that are complete non-sequiturs with each other in every sense, yet it just works somehow. He’d drop his inspired remix of R Kelly’s ‘Real Talk’ (a remix where Hemsworth samples the theme song from French cult film Amelie as the instrumentation), and then mix it into a jersey club mix of the Spice Girl’s ‘Wannabe’. He’d then layer the vocals from A$AP Ferg’s ‘Dump Dump’ over his witchhouse remix of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’. I think you realise you’re at a Ryan Hemsworth gig when you’re hearing Lana Del Rey huskily singing “Kiss me hard before you go” with A$AP Ferg yelling “I fucked your bitch nigga / I fucked your bitch” over the top, as girls throw plush toy Meowths onto the stage and the projected visuals are of a middle-aged guy doing aerobics in Lycra. And he’s aerobic dancing in time with the beat.
Hemsworth’s set regrettably came to an end (coincidentally one minute after the 1:30am lockout!), and he introduced a secret international guest in Baauer. The producer, who will perennially be unable to avoid being known as the ‘Harlem Shake’ Guy, played a predominantly rap/trap/hip hop set to a crowd that absolutely loved him for it. ’Cause sometimes when it’s 2am on a Saturday and you’re in Sydney and you’re white and 20-something years old, you just wanna get down and pretend for a little bit that you’re Waka Flocka Flame.