26 Sep 2020
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BENEE - Gig Review: Benee @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 28/06/2019

28 Jun 2019 // A review by Ben Ruegg

Benee knows how to own the stage. Tonight, playing at a sold-out Powerstation, she commands the stage in baggy pants and a light blue t-shirt. With her band in all black, Benee truly stands out and the absence of elaborate clothing works so well. This show isn't about the flashy (other than the awesome glittery backdrop). No. This show is about music. There was no absence in the tightness and perfectly played songs of the night. Benee is one to be watching closely.

The moment that Benee comes out to Tough Guy the crowd is roaring with excitement. Strutting around and having fun, she gets the crowd moving and dancing before getting into Wishful Thinking. While standing near the sound desk and picking up all the nuances of the sound, Cruel showcases just how tight this band is. Every musician is contributing to in a way that does not complicate Benee's sound. The song is chilled, and everyone is moving around. It is an infectious sound. While you can clearly hear they are running a backing track, the fact that she has a live band and plays like it is a live band is incredible. Anyone who is interested in music needs to check this out.

Benee's vocals cut clear through the mix and are showcased perfectly when she performs Snake Charmer. This track is funky and watching the band have fun onstage while moving around and enjoying themselves is contagious. A lot of the songs so far have been quite funky, and it works. Snake Charmer ups it with a bit more rock and bit of an 80's rap lead line to boot.

The mood is quietened during a softer song where two stool are bought out. With Want Me Back, we hear Benee's more emotive side. With heartfelt vocals and the performance to go with it, Benee quickly threw in a 'shut up' to the crowd who didn't seem to understand what they were witnessing. The noise of the audience drowned out a lot of the softer moments which personally drove me mad. But this did not get in the way of Benee's performance. She continued to demonstrate her professionalism.

Right away when Soaked started, the entire audience came alive again, with everyone singing and phones out recording the biggest hit of the night. I loved this song already, with its jazzy and chilled out chord progression. I love it even more now. Such a huge sound from this song when played live. Incredible stuff.

The standout track for me was Monster. The way that the bass and drums connected and stayed tight during the track provided evidence around how rehearsed and practiced the whole band is. Clever guitar and keyboard parts fill the space here and it is a pleasure to watch and take it. It is music appreciation 101. Take notice of what is happening, and you will be rewarded. Definitely my favourite track and performance of the night.

It is clear to me know after having seen Benee live that she is someone to keep a close eye on. The ability to interact with the audience and have fun seems extremely natural to her. It doesn't feel fake and put on and I love that. Would you consider Benee to be pop? No. Sure, it's popular. It feels alternative to me. A mix between that and indie. Whatever it is, it is a unique sound that Benee has created and ultimately it translates perfectly live. I cannot wait to see her again.

Bravo.


Photos courtesy of Chony Musson

 

About BENEE

From her hometown in Auckland, New Zealand, breakthrough popstar Stella Bennett, aka BENEE, sounds unphased, unchanged and almost impervious to the cataclysmic success coming her way since releasing her debut EP last summer. Already her tale is one of eye-watering statistics and achievements with half a billion streams of her latest single Supalonely featuring Gus Dapperton, a track that is still camped at the top of Spotify and radio airplay charts all over the world, collecting platinum records as it goes and seeing her make her U.S. TV debut on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in June. Her story is international and expanding on the hour, across modern and traditional platforms. Her audience seems endless. BENEE, however, remains easygoing, centered and—most importantly—herself.

It’s not yet six months since the release of her second EP of 2019, Stella & Steve (follow-up to debut Fire On Marzz), garnered knockout reviews. Breakthrough track Supalonely is a slice of upbeat and original pop—like its creator, a little exotic and cheerfully weird. The song hits like a ray of sunshine, jammed to the hilt with personality and punctuated by BENEE’s verbal tics. Her loneliness is not just empowering, it becomes super-powered as she sings, “I've been lonely, mm, ah, yeah...Lonely (I'm a lonely bitch)”

“I had broken up with my boyfriend,” recalls BENEE. “I wanted to twist the fact that I was sad and irritated about the relationship ending—so I wrote the song poking fun at myself.” Self-deprecation comes naturally to BENEE, expressed through her playful personality both on stage and online, an explosive riot of randomness that makes her all the more intriguing. However, if we can’t pin Stella down, who is this STEVE?

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for BENEE

Releases

Fire On Marzz
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Stella & Steve
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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