music

Review—Doja Cat at Listen Out 2019

October 8, 2019

Alana Bolger

Juicy like a bag of starbursts, Doja Cat brought a fresh mix of colours to the unsuspecting Listen Out stage.

In quintessential Melbourne fashion, Doja Cat stepped onto the St Kilda Stage last week (27/09/19) under the greyest of grey skies, projecting an energy that managed to get a crowd of cynical Melbourne rap fans bouncing in candied delight.

The Listen Out lineup delivered what its fans had hoped for: an assortment of grime, techno, rap, and essentially whatever else is unrepresented on the landscapes of other Aussie festivals. Despite this, Doja Cat ~still~ managed to be the line up’s wildcard.

In fact, I can’t think of a possible compilation of artists where Doja would not be the wildcard. She manages to keep producing viral hits, while still staying true to her RnB, pop and rap influences without the music sounding contrived or scattered. Her voice is powerful, yet playful in just the right amount, and her on-stage confidence was so infectious – it made my face hurt from smiling.

“Shout out to all the big butts, the small ones, the medium ones” shouts Doja to the crowd in a prelude to her vibrant track ‘Juicy’.

Doja is aware of her presence – she knows what she’s doing and isn’t afraid to sell it. She clearly doesn’t let any ideas of what a rapper ‘should’ be – or what a ‘female rapper’ should be –  dictate any aspect of her image or output.

Doja was born on Soundcloud at age 16, and it is perhaps this independent beginning that allows Doja to bring such fresh, authentic perspectives to her sound. Doja’s sound is proving to be ahead of its time, and the internet has fully embraced her eclectic, fast-paced, ‘hyper-Millennial’ persona. Despite Doja’s somewhat radical sound, the Melbourne crowd reflected her energy back on the stage that day and truly accepted her in the process.

The set closed with ‘Mooo!’, a song that would seem very confusing and possibly unsettling to anyone who heard it for the first time during that set. But, if any artist has the potential to go viral, it’s Doja. She knows how to inject the right amount of sincerity, abstraction and humour into a project, leaving the boomers feeling confused and the internet-born Millennials feeling more understood than ever before.

“Old MacDonald had a farm
I give him a titty, tryna keep him calm
I’m just tryna turn up in the country
I ain’t in the city ’cause they ain’t got lawns”

‘Mooo!’ is perhaps the self-aware, self-referential internet lullaby we never knew we needed, but so desperately did. The music video’s 55 million views speak for itself.

As it was Doja’s first performance in Australia, the looming threat of an unfriendly audience was present. However, it’s pretty safe to say that the crowd was won over, and we’re all crossing our fingers that she’ll be back soon.