Noname Live Review—Radiating Power and Rhythm

By James Gardiner

Noname began as a poetry slam champ from Bronzeville, Chicago, before making a name for herself as a celebrated musician. On Tuesday night she graced the stage of Sydney’s Metro Theatre in a sideshow leading up to this weekend’s Listen Out festival. After entering the scene with an appearance on Chance The Rapper’s 2013 mixtape Acid Rap, Noname released her debut mixtape Telefone in 2016 and has been breaking ground with her hip-hop, jazz, spoken word fusion ever since.

The 27 year old brought a youthful, vibrant energy to her performance, radiating pride in every lyric. There was an immediate sense of rapport, with Noname letting her cheeky playfulness shine throughout each song.

With the crowd frequently encouraged to join in, she kept her audience tethered in presence to every line. In full control of the flow and volume of the crowd, the band and her own voice, the rapper-come-conductor made the show her own and defined the night for herself.

Noname shows no fear when addressing the political injustices that have shaped her life. ‘Casket Pretty’, from Telefone, ruminates on racialised police brutality, while ‘Blaxploitation’, from her new album Room 25, reflects on representations of women of colour in politics and media.

She carries with her the air of a star on the rise. She’s fresh, she’s new, and audiences are loving everything she’s put out into the world. Noname’s debut album, Room 25, was released in September 2018 and has been met with wide acclaim. Give it a listen!