Gig Review: ZHU @ The Forum

For those of you fine Melburnians lucky enough to catch ZHU at The Forum on the last stop of his Neon City Tour, congratulations. It was one those nights to top all others. For those of you that missed out, we well and truly feel for you. Hopefully next time the pointy-hooded beat wizard comes to town you’ll score some tickets.

To kick things off, a special mention should go out to The Forum itself. It’s an awesome venue, with sound and lighting rigs that go above and beyond. It has a great vibe, with enough floor space to keep a boogying crowd happy, and most impressive; that playhouse stage with the Victorian trim and the statues. As far as first impressions go, it seems like a strange place for an electronic act to play, until the gig kicks off and you realise that those marble statues evolve into something very cool when you paint them with lasers.

ZHU’s show is all about taking unconventional pieces and putting them together into a performance that will blow you away. Melbourne local and Triple J Unearthed talent Running Touch set the tone here, as he shifted effortlessly between rapping the Crazy Town classic ‘Butterfly’, and his own brand of electronic-pop. His unearthed track ‘What’s Best For You’ was a clear fan favourite.

All the pieces laid out so far set the mood, but when it came to ZHU’s set itself, it was a work of art. Everyone knows ‘Faded’ and ‘Work For It’, and there is no doubt that when both of those tracks played the hands went up and the crowd got low, but the rest of his set was where the magic really happened. Those same electro grooves were joined by classics like Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’, and punctuated by a live sax accompaniment that was snatched right out of the 80s. Honestly, it would have made Michael Bolton proud.

ZHU himself stands out as a man of many talents; as he sang, mixed, and broke out a couple of wicked guitar solos. He also threw in a few cheeky teasers for his album release on July 29. Based on what we heard last night, we recommend pre-ordering it right now. Overall, It was an electronic gig defined by the artist’s desire to perform a live show, and it knocked our socks off. We’ll call them a sacrifice to the gig gods, and the floor of The Forum.

Seth Robinson


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