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March 3, 2014 | by  | in Arts Music |
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Ryan Hemsworth/Baauer Review

I don’t hate first-years. That whole dialogue is so played out, so similar to the hatred of third-formers – it’s boring, and plenty of 18-year-olds are articulate and engaging. Just not the ones at the Baauer/Ryan Hemsworth show.

It was always going to be a kind of weird show. Canada’s Ryan Hemsworth is a fairly successful producer known for versatility, warmth, and an ambient kind of hip-hop style. America’s Baauer produces trap music – notably the viral hit ‘Harlem Shake’. Whenever a wide swath of the crowd is *only* there for one act, the show has weird vibes.

Shows at The Hunter Lounge have to end pretty early (noise complaints start roll in around 11), so Wellington’s Race Banyon had to play while it was still very sunny, to a very small audience. He was great, as always, but the mood was off.

When Ryan Hemsworth came on near nine, Hunter had filled up. Then it all fucked up. The sound distorted and cut out – enough to make Ryan leave the stage – not once, but twice. The crowd alternated between booing Ryan, chanting “You fucked up”, yelling for Baauer to come on, and belting out Kiwi classics. What a welcome for a guy who’s come all the way from Canada!

Eventually, things worked out, and Ryan played. His set was dreamy but danceable, full of intriguing remixes and samples. His rework of Lorde’s ‘Ribs’ was fucking excellent. The crowd got into it a bit, but didn’t fully engage until Baauer came on next.

Away from the one-hit hype, Baauer’s a pretty good producer. He played loud, dancey, very trappy music, full of tension (buildups!) and release (drops!). He seemed a little scared of boring the audience – which was probably fair enough – playing each song for no longer than 60 or so seconds. ‘Higher’, his Just Blaze collaboration, went off the most, while chart-topping ‘Harlem Shake’ barely made it in. Either way, the crowd went crazy. White hands in the air, screaming the n-word, telling their friends “I’m so mean at dancing bro”, and just generally playing into every stereotype of first-years you’ve ever heard.

VUWSA did their best, and sorted out two very impressive international acts. Being an old crank, I just wish the crowd had stepped up a bit too.

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