Review: Genesis Owusu @ Hindley Street Music Hall (Adelaide)

Genesis Owusu played Hindley Street Music Hall (Adelaide) on 16 December, 2023 (image taken at Brisbane concert on 14 December, 2023 - image © Simone Gorman-Clark).
Senior Writer
James is trained in classical/operatic voice and cabaret, but enjoys and writes about everything, from pro-wrestling to modern dance.

Flight delays and an Adelaide Airport in chaos could not halt the unstoppable force of Genesis Owusu, who touched down and sped east to Hindley Street Music Hall (16 December) to deliver odes to human perseverance from the latest chapter in the book of Genesis, his 2023 existential concept album, 'Struggler'.

While support act, Spillage Village's EARTHGANG, with their Young Thug collab 'Proud Of U', new single 'Bobby Boucher' and party anthem 'Top Down', fit neatly within the Atlanta hip hop scene, Ghanaian-Australian Genesis Owusu defies genre categorisation.

Like New York's TV On The Radio and kilt-wearing collaborator Kirin J. Callinan, Owusu's 'Struggler' is influenced by the post punk genre mashing: audiences can get whiplash as the charismatic Morpheus-esque figure in the shadows onstage rollicks from moshpit bangers to sexy-slow R&B sways.

Bedecked in his own black and red leather designs, Genesis emerged onstage after a headline worthy support set by EARTHGANG, ripped the sheet off a lighting pillar and launched into 'Struggler''s opening cut, 'Leaving The Light' as a prison-yard searchlight shined.

Owusu is scarcely fully illuminated onstage; his presence is too electric, too overpowering for that. He is often a magnetism-exuding silhouette flitting between strobes like an otherworldly presence.

On his newest single 'Survivor', he proclaims: "When I shake I shake oceans," which sounds like hyperbole until you see him shake. At intervals, though, Owusu is bathed in light when he opens a thick red book, maybe a holy text, which contains a glow like a 'Pulp Fiction' suitcase.

'Struggler' has been described as a rumination on religion ("there's an old man in the sky waiting to f... my life up," he sings, on 'Old Man') but also, with its recurrent roach references, humanity's will to survive; a theme all-the-more poignant for an artist who arrived in Australia with his parents in search of a new, better life.

On slower, falsetto-crooned grooves like 'See Ya There', Owusu channels his inner Prince, and the lights brighten. While newer tracks from 'Struggler' formed the backbone of a tight set, hits like 'Gold Chains' and 'Don't Need You' provoked an enormous response, with the latter ending in a giant sing-along.

Owusu only needed to ask his customary "Adelaide, are you alive?" once; a stark contrast from his early afternoon set just a year ago. Having inspired an army of young men to dye red stripes down the middle of their closely cropped hair, he no longer needs to win over crowds; the audience now sit in the palm of his hands.

Like all the greatest artists, Owusu is not content with remaining as he was at his genesis; he will continue to evolve his book of songs. It may have been a struggle to get here, but now is his time to preach from the mountain top.

Let's Socialise

Facebook pink circle    Instagram pink circle    YouTube pink circle    YouTube pink circle

 OG    NAT

Twitter pink circle    Twitter pink circle