Walking into a near empty venue is never particularly comfortable as a keen punter pre-gig.
Though Baro’s confident stature and effortless demeanour on stage successfully eliminated any awkwardness. The 18-year-old rapper played support for Vallis Alps at the Woolly Mammoth on Saturday (25 March) and while the two are wildly dissimilar musically, the calibre of talent was arguably on par.
It was admittedly the first I’d heard of Baro. But even still, I was enthralled by his captivating stage presence, even in spite of the lack of listeners.
His ability and air of maturity surpasses his age by miles though there’s still plenty of youth laced in his music, a quality that evidently allows for a solid understanding of his audience, offers a fresh breath of air in terms of producing new age, modern material and even adds an element of charming innocence to his lyrics.
Highlights included ‘This For You, Fuck Everybody’, with the audience chanting ‘fuck everybody’ in sync, oddly therapeutic to recite; and ‘wdubi’, an early release from 'HOWGOODISGOOD?' that’s fluent, upbeat and undeniably catchy. Traces of jazz are laced within a lot of his tracks (‘See Less’ is an obvious example), an influence I highly approve of.
For an electronic duo with a discography of only six released tracks, Vallis Alps have accumulated an impressive fan base. Two sold-out shows in Brisbane is an admirable feat, not to mention comparable success across the country.
Vocalist Parissa’s stage presence is so elegant and soothing, the visual epitome of her vocals. Her graceful movements are a pleasure to witness live, though as equally so is producer David’s passion and energy.
2016 and 2017 singles ‘East’ and ‘Fading’ are proof the pair have now decided to take themselves in an entirely new musical direction. Despite sticking to their dreamy, electronic roots, their self-titled 2015 EP was significantly mellower than the latter.
‘East’ made an appearance mid-set; a little shaky to start, though understandable considering its recent release date. The stunning harmonies at the song’s tail were breathtaking, but I’m still torn on the track’s ‘drop’; airy sounds are comparable to Purity Ring but a little light and jangly for my liking.
Feel-good tune ‘Fading’ closed the set, preceding with Parissa’s statement: “We wrote this song because it makes us happy. We hope you feel happy too.” I can understand the widespread appeal here; it’s a very pretty piece.
‘Thru’ was well-received by fans, transforming the room into an echoing choir while ‘Reprieve’ proved to be an insight on what was to come for Vallis Alps; it was the last track on the first EP and the most similar of the four to the new singles. A smooth segue.
Impeccably produced and beautifully written, ‘Young’ proved itself as a deserving catalyst of the duo’s career; the ultimate showcase of not just David’s smooth production or Parissa’s honeyed vocals, but how seamlessly the two can blend.
Not only are Vallis Alps well and truly in touch with what contemporary audiences want to hear, the two of them have enough exceptional musical talent to execute the genre well.
While the debut EP holds an irreplaceable spot in my archives, I’m convinced the duo’s upcoming EP will still see them selling out even larger-scale venues in future.