Monday, February 23, 2015
(Photograph - Kristy Smolcic)

I’m going to be honest, I didn’t know much about Thandi Phoenix (FKA Thandiwe Phoenix) before seeing her live. This is irrelevant as I learnt plenty during her short set. Thandi is one talented lady - she has a voice that forces you to take notice, she plays numerous instruments, is Australian and has style, confidence and sass. Her talent was truly on show as the crowd got to see her combining her vocals, the keys, and electronic drums in her performance. I enjoyed witnessing her creating the instrumentals and I thought it was brave to do this instead of replying on the musicians in her band. Playing instruments whilst performing strengthens her artistry and that is something I respect. 

Tinashe has been gaining hype from everywhere. She has also been wrongfully compared to her R&B counterparts, such as Beyonce, Rihanna, and Rita Ora. I don’t see any of these artists sharing the same qualities as Tinashe. It can be argued that she has the dance moves of Beyonce and the style and it-girl power of Rihanna and Rita Ora, but she isn’t them. If anything, her artistry can be compared to the late Aaliyah. Just like Aaliyah, Tinashe has soul, with stage presence that only comes natural to her. Her show tonight helped reinforced the fact that she will be on another level in a few years to come. It’s scary thought for her competition, as the level she is on right now is out of this world.

Don’t let the fact that she only has one LP fool you to think that she’s going to present a setlist without depth. From her third mixtape Black Water, she played the seductive ‘Vulnerable’. The crowd grooved along as she crooned her way through the track. Another set highlight was “Far Side Of The Moon”. Her music catered well the the intimate sized venue as it allowed her to interact and connect with her adoring fans. 

The Hi-Fi isn’t Melbourne’s biggest venue, but she did an exceptional job at turning her show into something you could expect to see in a venue twice it’s size. Two back-up dancers matching her fierce dance moves as well as a smoke machine and strobing lights. 

An obvious crowd favourite was ‘2 On’. The track has been receiving immense radio play around the country. It was a strong finish and I can guarantee she won’t be playing venues of this size the next time she returns to Australia. If she can produce a show of this quality with limiting space, imagine what she could do in a larger space - the future is bright and promising for the 22 year old R&B star. 

Thandi Phoenix | Tinashe | The Hi-Fi Melbourne | 20.2.15
Photographer - Kristy Smolcic