Let Mallrat’s Sydney show be proof of how vital all ages shows are
They say with age comes wisdom, but whether that wisdom comes with inherent senility was, for me at least, up for debate until Friday night (22/6/18) at MALLRAT’s Sydney leg of her In The Sky tour.
The outcome? It certainly does.
The older you get, the bitterer you become – that’s almost a guarantee. You aren’t looking at the world through innocent eyes anymore, and no longer are you living in complete comfort by focusing on only what’s going on in your life, no matter how much you try. As we get bigger, the world feels smaller and your conscience is weighed down with every terror, trauma and tragedy that’s broadcasted everyday on our TVs and through our timelines.
Whatever you want to call the generation that consists of teens right now, it’s not hard to see that they are, by and large, the #woke generation. Having social media around them in some form for all but a few years of their lives, the kids are more connected to each other than ever. Their understanding and empathy far outweighs that of their elders, despite lacking the life experience. With wokeness comes jadedness – we know that – but at a Mallrat show, these kids are temporarily suspended in complete love, serenity and elation. Mallrat’s In The Sky EP was an ode to making life’s most mundane moments feel the most magical. Every second of those five tracks are coated in subtle optimism and beams of hope – both of which the world needs right now. On top of that, the tour translated those tracks to a live setting perfectly.
When EILISH GILLIGAN, the first act of the lineup, took to the stage, the crowd was already massive due to the fact that some of these people – largely comprised of teenage girls – had been waiting at the doors of Sydney’s Factory Theatre since 4:30 in the morning. But that commitment wasn’t deserted once doors opened and once they got a spot in the mosh pit that they were comfortable with. The outpours of love that beamed on to the stage for Gilligan’s bewitching set was palpable, even from the back of room.
As Gilligan’s angelic voice filled the entire room with golden tracks like ‘S.M.F.Y’ and ‘The Feeling’, it was hard to ignore that the crowd was dominated by two seas: iPhones recording the performance, and hearts made out of hands that are, more often than not, reserved for only the world’s biggest pop stars. However, as the show progressed and NINAJIRACHI took to the decks, it was time to put the phones down to get down. With a mix that spanned from Charli XCX to Wynter Gordon to her own enchanting version of electronic pop, Nina had total command over the crowd despite a non-functioning microphone. Every eye in the mosh pit was either looking at her in adoration, or looking at their friends in total, dance-filled euphoria. But when Mallrat and her DJ, Denim, took to the stage, no one in the rear, 18+ section of Factory Theatre was ready for the screams that could’ve taken the place to the ground.
It was an absolute scene. As Mallrat sang and bounced her way through her unique and refreshing brand of demure pop, the crowd echoed every word flawlessly. From the glittering optimism of ‘Better’ to the raucous party of ‘Uninvited’, the crowd was giving everything it had to the superstar on stage. There were tears, there were gleaming smiles and, most importantly of all, there was a fan base that saw themselves on the stage. After all, Mallrat is only 19 years old yet her talents and understanding of the subtleties in pop rival those of the genre’s veterans.
The realisation hit then that this is something truly special for these teens. Adults have the freedom to experience any gig they want, especially if they live in a capital city. Seldom a night goes by where there isn’t at least one concert that might pique your interest, and seldom a gig goes by that we might take for granted simply because we have a smorgasbord of options. However, for these kids – with independence not truly theirs yet and with things like school and shitty casual jobs and just being teenagers dominating their lives – this is real escapism. These three hours or so mean everything to them, yet they are denied this opportunity way too often. Most gigs, and an increasing amount of festivals, keep things 18 and above for a plethora of reasons and it’s something that really isn’t given the attention it deserves. Once you’re an adult, it’s easy to let it become an out of sight, out of mind issues because we’re no longer affected by those restrictions. But it’s disappointing to think about all the opportunities that are being stifled. Somewhere, there’s a 17-year-old budding musician that can’t see their favourite band live because they’re not able to drink legally, yet there are adults who can see that same band three or four times in the same week.
Mallrat’s fan base loves her, and loved this show, in a way that’s usually kept for the world’s biggest musicians. However, the Taylor Swifts, the Ariana Grandes and the Beyoncés of the world are unattainable. Mallrat’s lyrical content and overall demeanour feels incredibly relatable and something these kids are living everyday. Under 18s deserve to feel every bit of euphoria and elation that the rest of us have the opportunity to feel every single weekend. While we can take concerts for granted, it really seems like the teens at Mallrat’s Sydney show will cherish that hour-long set for a long time coming.
It’s often said that the kids don’t stand a chance, but with Mallrat leading them and a little co-operation and thoughts spared from the cynical powers that be, they just might.
Words by JACKSON LANGFORD
Image: Tyhe Reading for Purple Sneakers. View the full gallery here.