Rising Star Maggie Rogers Gave a Magnetic Performance in Sydney

Maggie Rogers.

If you don’t know her name, you soon will. She’s 23 and only has a 5-song EP, “Now That the Light Is Fading” to her name but that was enough to bring her out to Australia for Splendour in the Grass and book a couple of sideshows whilst she was in town.

It’s hard to write about Ms Rogers without mentioning Pharrell Williams but there is a connection and that connection is perhaps what made everyone sit up and take notice of this young talented songwriter.

Rogers basically became an overnight sensation last year after a video of Pharrell Williams teaching a masterclass at her University in New York, and going very wobbly over Rogers’ song ‘Alaska’, found its way online. “I’ve never heard anything that sounds like that,” he said, eyes glazed over in shock. “That’s a drug for me.”

Hopefully, in the future, Rogers won’t be associated with Pharrell and she’ll be known just for her craft, her voice, her music, what have you. But seeing that this review is also your introduction to the young starlet, we felt the need to mention it. For the record, you can watch that particular star-struck moment between Pharrell and Maggie here. You might just be in awe yourself. I know I was.

But back to the night she performed at the upgraded venue of The Metro in Sydney on Tuesday night.

On support for the night was Mallrat, a Brisbane-based teenager who was also on the bill for Splendour this year and whilst I only recognised one song that she performed live, the Sydney crowd latched onto her tongue-in-cheek, catchy pop songs as she performed awkwardly on stage, but I’ll put that down to inexperience. The girl is only 16 so we have to give her credit where credit is due. To be on support for Maggie Rogers is pretty major yo.

Maggie Rogers started her show with the ethereal, bird-chirping ‘Color Song’, a layered multi-vocal track, before throwing out crowd favourite ‘Dog Years’.

Armed with a guitar, Rogers made note of how frustrated and “drenched with rage” she was with the current political climate in the States with ‘Hashtag’ which to me was reminiscent of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ which in a sense was also fitting based on the subject matter of both songs and her introduction to ‘Hashtag’.

Prior to the show starting, I sent out a tweet asking the Twitterverse what to expect from Rogers’ headlining show when all she had was a 5-song EP and it’s almost like she read that tweet because she addressed it on the night, saying, “the problem with having an EP is that there’s not enough songs to do an entire set so you get a lot of freebies tonight,” before delving into songs she wrote as a teenager, such as ‘Little Joys’ and ‘Better.’

Maggie Rogers has admitted that she is a synesthesiac, someone who feels a strong connection between colour and music, and I could completely feel that as I watched her perfom on stage against dreamy, simple, colourful washed out visuals as a back-drop. It almost felt like we were watching those old-school videos from the 80s with Rogers dancing freely and expressing everything she had through hair flips and wild dance moves.

As expected, Rogers finished the set with her latest single ‘On + Off’ before sincerely thanking the crowd and diving into the track that started it all, ‘Alaska’, both of which had full audience participation. Watch her performance of ‘Alaska’ below!

There’s nothing I love more than making music, so thank you for being here.

Maggie Rogers – Alaska (live) from the5to9life on Vimeo.

Coming back on for a one-song encore with her pianist, Maggie Rogers chose to sing a cover of “a very slow song”, The Sundays’ ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends’.

Maggie Rogers is definitely an artist to watch. Remember the name and be sure to keep her on your radar.

Maggie Rogers
Tuesday 25 July
The Metro Theatre
Sydney