Review by Molly McKew
Maya Weiss single launch, The Evelyn Hotel, Friday 2nd September
One cannot help but be absorbed by the catchy melody and sultry vibes of 22-year-old Maya’s debut single Sinners, and the single launch did not disappoint. Despite the freezing weather, Melbourne’s iconic Evelyn Hotel was wall to grimy wall with punters and friends, and Maya, who grew up singing with her blues muso father, charmed the audience from the outset.
Opening the show were three leotard sporting dancers, who thrusted and glittered their way through Beyonce’s ‘Flawless’ in a birthday tribute for our Bey. They set the scene for the display of incredible sass that was to come with our headliner Maya, who was equal parts wise soul queen and sweet songstress. Maya cycled her way through a range of genres, playing both originals and covers. The 9-piece band featured her father steadily supporting his daughter on drums; all tatts, stylin’ sunnies, and cowboy hat. The grinning bassist was a crowd favourite, busting out several solos to shouts of grooving appreciation, and the horns section were a tight support to Maya’s on point vocals. Her voice was as big and luscious as her curly locks and could be described as the love child of Florence Welch and Adele (with Whitney Houston as godmother). Comparison with all the usual smooth and delicious substances apply – coffee, chocolate, honey – and her vocal acrobatics were pitch perfect, balanced skillfully with her firmly belted melodies.
Maya demonstrated her knowledge of blues, jazz, and disco with a tribute to each and ended the show in a full band jam with the addition of a small wooden tambourine (“Don’t judge me, I just really love the tambourine” she implored). The encore was a tribute to Prince with a duet of Purple Rain, where the once restrained lead guitarist took to the microphone alongside Maya and surprised the crowd with his angelic vocals.
The sparkling dancers, guest vocalists, and joyful grand finale made this a night of true entertainment. The message of strength in oneself and enjoyment of the moment was captured in Maya’s beaming and energetic stage presence, and it was hard not to be convinced by the singers talent. I am eager, however, to see some more original songs and experimental twists from the singer as she matures as a musician and continues to translate her personal take on the world onto the stage. Some stripped back vibes to compliment the more epic moments would also not have gone astray. These are, however, minor criticisms, and I am quite sure that Maya will be busting a vocal move on the Melbourne (and dare I predict, international) music scene for a long time to come.