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Rex Orange County @ Riverstage Brisbane

| September 27, 2023

The night is set ablaze with rupturing cheers and a thunderous beat of drums. The Brisbane Riverstage electrifies as GrentPerez takes the stage with his band.

A soulful aura envelops the venue, defying the cool night sky, transforming it into the warmest of summer afternoons. The Sydney-based Indonesian singer radiates sunshine upon us, his smooth, sun-kissed melodies infusing every breath we take.

He impresses the audience song after song with his remarkable vocals that entwine seamlessly with his mellow, sun-drenched tunes. He leaves behind a crowd intoxicated with a dazzling blend of R&B, soul, and bossa nova as he ends with his spectacle, Cherry Wine.

The stage bathed in a radiant orange glow, Rex Orange County dashes onto the stage with the spirit of an energetic child. He finds his way to the keyboard, launching into Rex (Intro). The soul-soaked R&B tune fills the venue with the intimate ambiance of a jazz bar, reaching into our hearts with his warm vocals and gentle piano.

A purple hue engulfs the stage as the drums kick in, heralding Television/So Far So Good. The alternative indie anthem delves into introspection, the push-pull of conflicting melodies mirroring the struggle between the present moment and the allure of distraction. The crowd bangs their head to this chaotic piece, roaring in unison.

Without a beat, 10/10 follows, unfurling its R&B soulfulness with a cascade of layered synths that envelop the audience in a dreamlike embrace. Shortly, an orchestral flourish washes over as the dream pop rhythm gradually reveals itself in Amazing. Rex bounces along the stage, curating an electrifying atmosphere that keeps us all in awe.

The guitar chimes, its notes lingering in the air like sunbeams, as Sunflower serenades the Riverstage. The saxophone solo grips our souls, and the shimmery music gradually calms down, allowing us to bask in the afterglow. Brief silence falls upon the stage, only to be shattered by the emergence of layered voices, seamlessly transitioning into Face To Face. 

The soft pitter patter of the piano and glockenspiel hints at the warmth of Christmas in Uno, while Rex’s rap delivery carries profound themes of identity and struggle, an unexpected yet poignant twist.

The stage explodes in a rosy hue as The Shade introduces a groovy indie-pop fusion reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams. It blends nostalgia and modernity, capturing an evocative, dreamy essence. Teasing us with quirky synth sounds is 4 Seasons, beckoning our innermost thoughts and vulnerabilities. A subtle sense of sorrow reverberates through the space, fading as his voice and piano are gently illuminated under a subdued pink spotlight. 

Rex persists in the acoustic voyage, delivering renditions of Always and Happiness. He strips the songs down to its core, revealing the raw emotions within his vocals. He breezes through a few more mellow pieces, including Untitled and the folk-pop track Corduroy Dreams, where the warm guitar strumming sets the tone.

Following that, he treats the audience to back-to-back hits from his latest album, Who Cares? The classical opening of KEEP IT UP swiftly morphs into a whirlwind of upbeat drums, igniting the crowd. IF YOU WANT IT appears quirky yet strangely compelling, with detuned synths lending a subtle touch of uneasiness. A familiar melody then envelops us as Never Enough echoes through the stage, a rendition that had a bit of a rock edge. 

Best Friend tugs at our heartstrings from the very first strum, blending melancholy with pop in a captivating performance that resonates deeply. Guitar in hand, he pauses mid-song, urging everyone to put down their phones and cherish the shared experience. “Not because I don’t want you to film, but because anyone who wasn’t in the room won’t get to see it; this is a moment between just you and me.” The song ends with a roaring explosion with streamers cascading in the air.

“This is by far the best show I’ve ever toured; I’m not even kidding”, he boasts before launching into Loving Is Easy. Its retro sound transports us back in time while rainbow lights dance harmoniously with its melody. As the show nears its conclusion, It’s Not the Same Anymore wraps the crowd in a wistful melody, a poignant reminder of life’s changes. Rex and his band exited the stage, leaving an empty stage behind.

The audience refuses to budge, immediately calling for an encore. After a good eternal minute, they re-emerge through a veil of roaring cheers, launching into Pluto Projector. The calm neo-soul vibe sweeps over the Riverstage, lingering long after the last guitar note dissolves into the night. 

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