Over the past few years, the definition of each musical genre has become evermore blurred. No longer is it easy to pigeon-hole an artist into one specific genre, with the increasing rise of sub-genres within these previously defined genres becoming even more blurred. And the good thing about this, is that music, especially in Australia, has become even richer for it.
A prime example of the inability to pinpoint the exact genre an artist is in is Melbourne musician Dylan Joel and going by the show he put on at Sydney’s Goodgod Small Club, it’s a fair call to not place him into a specific genre.
Acting as supports for the night were Sydney future soul artist Wallace and Sydney rapper Sarah Connor. Wallace’s slinky soul, supported by her three piece band, was a little reminiscent of early Clairy Browne material, while her appeal and delivery was ridiculously smooth. I’m a huge fan of anything remotely close to jazz and Wallace was definitely all over this genre. While her set was short and sweet, it left a positive impact on this reviewer, and should no doubt lead to some bigger support slots and headlining spots.
While Wallace was smooth and sultry, Sarah Connor was at the opposite end of that spectrum. Her aggressive raps and honest lyrics showed a great level of composure and promise from the Sydney MC. While the crowd was small, her enthusiasm and energy was huge. She’s definitely a front-runner in the future of hip-hop/rap in Australia.
Entering the stage right on 9.30pm to a half filled danceteria, you could sense the lack of crowd wasn’t going to affect the course of the night. Telling his fans that, “I’m gonna make sure we have fun tonight”, Dylan Joel got things going and swiftly moved into “Always Fresh”. One of the benefits of Goodgod’s danceteria not being completely full was the room it left punters to cut a shape on the dancefloor. The slinky jazz-rap of Joel’s set the mood for some dirty dancing from a couple right from the get go.
Asking the crowd whether they’d listened to his material before it got played on radio, Joel answered the mixed response from the crowd with, “It doesn’t really matter though…you’re here tonight”, before promising to take it old school with “The Cool Kids”; a sweet track with a sweet hook.
Being honest with the crowd, he spoke about how he wasn’t sure whether he was going to go ahead with the tour prior to its commencement, but sure was glad he did. This honesty only got the crowd even more on his side, as Joel quickly moved onto “Blank”, all the while teaching the crowd to Two-Step. It was on “Blank” that we saw a little guitar work from the man himself and a surprise verse of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. It was smooth and delicious.
Being earnest with the crowd, Joel spoke about why he got into music and how he’s evolved as an artist over the past few years. It was great to see the honesty in his approach. Asking the crowd to get involved on “Swing”, this was the point in the night that everyone got going. Maybe it was because it was the lead single from Authentic Lemonade, or maybe it was the choreographed dance break in the track, I don’t know. I do know, however, the crowd loved it. Moving onto “Dear Baby”, it was a track full of heartbreak, sweet hooks and a closing peak that tied it all together.
The most poignant moment of the night came on his freestyle/ soliloquy. It’s not often you see a hip-hop crowd standing in utter silence, in full attention to a heartfelt spiel. It was heavy, but it was the set highlight.
Closing the night out with “What’s Good”, a verse of Kendrick Lamar’s “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” and some more sweet choreography, the night had come full circle. I was still not entirely sure what genre to classify him under, but to be honest, it didn’t really matter. Dylan Joel is something special and that’s all that matters.