Red Bull Music Academy, 'Road To Weekender': Peven Everett Review
Peven Everett occupies a relatively unique position within contemporary electronic music. His soulful vocals lend themselves to driving basslines, with soft keys called upon to create a winning formula, which has seen Everett produce a large back catalogue of his house and funk fusion. Friday night saw Everett play Max Watts, touring through Red Bull Music Academy, with a supporting bill of respected local acts in a similar vein to Everett. Despite early appearances, the venue filled well, accommodating a vibrant, diverse crowd of music fans, eager to see a rare live performance from Everett.
Silentjay and Jace XL, off the back of their lauded 2016 release on much loved label Rhythm Section, played a charming set, courting the crowd through a varied selection of songs. Clearly influenced by hip-hop & neo-soul heavy hitters D’Angelo & Outkast, the group manage to find their own identity through a cohesive interpretation of such inspirations. Outstanding pacing allowed for the range of the band to be clearly displayed, with both Silentjay and Jace occupying a number of roles throughout the set. An interesting dynamic emerges from two male vocalists, with energy being directed towards the crowd and lyrical expression rather than each other, an asset in retaining the audience’s attention.
DJ JNETT continued the soulful trend, while progressing the trend of the night towards bass driven tunes. Musiq Soulchild’s ‘Just Friends’ was met with a warm reception, with the bubbling crowd grooving in to the set. JNETT’s selections dabbled in funk, R&B and hip-hop, warming up the crowd and the stage.
Following a brief introduction from vocalist Billie Jean, Peven Everett stormed the stage, energy emanating from his small frame. Stripping off his dress shirt to athletic attire, he launched into ‘Stuck’, to a strong reception from the crowd. Everett was an immaculate showman, vibing off the input of the crowd and the output of the keys. The band however largely failed to distinguish itself from a role other than support, devoid of individual input. While not a major loss, considering the strength of Everett, it seems like something of a lost opportunity when performing with an undoubtedly talented live group.
His rendition of ‘Put Your Back Into It’ was deeply soulful, highlighting his vocal range and strength. Prior to playing hit track ‘Gabriel’, Everett asked the audience to record him as he launched in to an attack on Roy Davis Jr., accusing him of stealing the iconic track from his studio many years ago. After warning Davis Jr. of a ‘cream pie to the face’ the next time he was in Australia, Everett launched into ‘Gabriel’. Substituting the horns on the track for guitar was a downgrade unfortunately, failing to match the resonance of the original. Following this with a slowed version of favourite ‘Testin’ Me’, and a brief encore, Everett thanked the crowd and departed, leaving the audience satisfied having seen a master at work.
Peven’s energy was undeniable, making for the rewarding experience of seeing someone who has made their life about music, and clearly understands the fortune they have had in doing so. A well themed and programmed night, one must imagine.