Freudian, An Australian Tour 2018
Tipped to be the Khalid of 2018, Daniel Caesar is on his way to making a name for himself on commercial airwaves. The buzz that surrounds Caesar in North America is yet to reach Australian shores, which is what was so exciting about seeing him at a sold-out show at The Met last night.
However, as much as it pains me to say, his performance was underwhelming.
The Toronto artist is touring his debut album, Freudian, which refers to the philosopher Sigmund Freud and his theory of psychoanalysis: making the unconscious mind conscious. This album title alludes to a melancholic and profound sound that emanates through the collection of songs. And I must point out that Caesar's songwriting is phenomenal. It's an authentic revamp of gospel-tinged RnB that is sorely missed in commercial radio. Unfortunately for Caesar, this laid-back vibe in his music made it easy for his performance to be rather lacklustre.
The 22-year-old opened with Japanese Denim from his 2016 Get You EP. The woozy back-beat guitar riff paired with lyrics such as, "I'm bending it over / You're my four leaf clover / I'm so in love, so in love," leaves the audience swooning with a tale of lost love and longing. At the conclusion of the song, the mallow Caesar lit a sage smudge stick and cleansed the area. This had the audience going wild. He coolly took a sip of tea, grabbed a stool and sat down to begin Best Part - another back-beat guitar hook that follows Caesar chasing a girl, where "If life is a movie / You're the best part." Frequently, Caesar opted as the role of a choir director, speaking the lyrics before the line for the audience to then sing. Whilst fun for the first song, it grew to be disappointing as it continued through the set, when he seemingly skimped on singing falsetto that fans dream about hearing live.
Unfortunately I cannot say anything much more interesting happened from there on in. Don't get me wrong, I loved hearing songs like Get You, We Find Love, and Hold Me Down live, but when I go to a concert, I want to get a sense of the artist. I want to come away feeling like something personal has happened, that I know their personality a little bit better, and more importantly, I don't want a carbon copy of an album I can just listen to in my bedroom. For this gig, it was just that.
Daniel Caesar, you are a talented man and I will never say otherwise. But let the audience in on who you are a bit more. Or at the very worst, surprise me with a mad guitar solo I didn't know was about to happen.