Review: Juice WRLD7 January 2019
The streaming phenomenon that is Chicago rapper Juice WRLD arrived at the Forum Theatre on Saturday night (5/1) for the Melbourne leg of his first Australian tour, after turning out at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney the night prior. Anticipation was building as an ever-growing line snaked all the way around the iconic Forum; ending on Russel St and falling just short of reaching the entrance again.
As the crowd was quickly ushered in it was clear everyone was ready for a good time, with a thick mosh pit already forming despite the absence of bodies on stage. Juice WRLD’s DJ Mike P first stepped up, not to actually DJ but to plug his Instagram, a recurring gimmick, telling people to comment on his latest post which song they would like Juice WRLD to come out to. While the idea of creating live crowd participation through social media was interesting, I couldn’t help but feel like Mike P was only in it for the shameless plug, and a simple call and response would have created better crowd energy.
It was then time for Juice’s support, The Kid Laroi; fifteen-year-old rapper from Sydney who has been dubbed a “Rap Prodigy” by Triple J after becoming a finalist in 2018’s Unearthed High contest. As soon as The Kid stepped on stage it was clear he had gone too hard at his hometown show the night prior, with a harsh breaking voice that only got worse as his set went on. Despite this he still put on a good show. It’s clear he has a lot of growing to do as a performer, but The Kid’s potential is undeniable.
Mike P blessed the stage to remind the crowd again that he does in fact have Instagram, and that if you follow him and make it clear you’re at the show he might pull you up on stage for ‘Fine China’.
Mike P then got the crowd to arm themselves with phone lights and gun signs to coax out Juice WRLD, the sound cloud sensation stepped on stage starting immediately with ‘Armed & Dangerous’, his latest single, cue crowd losing their mind.
Juice then seamlessly transitioned into ‘Black & White’, maintaining the crowd energy, everyone seemed to be joining the intense mosh pit or happy to sing along in the back.
Visuals and lighting were on point during the show, with the emo vibe of Juice WRLD’s songs being accompanied by giant LED flames, demon skeletons and imagery reminiscent of the Wrld On Drugs album art (if you know you know).
Juice also took a moment to tribute several recently passed rappers, including a few songs of the late XXXtentaction, rippling excitement through some but clearly making others uncomfortable.
It was then time to bring people on stage for ‘Fine China’. After mild confusion over who Mike P chose, the lucky few were hoisted on stage. After the ever-important group selfie with Juice, unfortunately the group seemed more comfortable filming than enjoying the experience. The group may have been better selected if it was through their eagerness in the crowd rather than their ability to comment on Mike P’s Instagram.
The hour was coming to a close as the anticipation for ‘Lucid Dreams’ intensified. That anticipation was satisfyingly met as the infamous Sting interpolated melody vibrated through the Forum, people rightfully lost their minds. Surprisingly towards the end of the song Juice cut the instrumental and finished acapella style, showing off his impressive vocal abilities.
As Juice WRLD finished on ‘Wasted’ (an appropriate ending given the state of the crowd),
I was left exhausted, buzzing with adrenaline and satisfied with the performance of the young emo rock-rap sensation.