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Review: BENEE @ Rough Trade (24 Photos)

Rising Kiwi pop-star BENEE made her way across the world for her first-ever U.S. mini tour.

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Completely uninhibited by any instincts of self-preservation or pretention, 19-year-old Stella Bennett is comfortable on stage in a way most brand-new artists would kill for: she’s devoid of nerves as she stands in front of 250 fans at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade, despite being on her first-ever live tour run roughly 9,000 miles away from her home in New Zealand.

BENEE’s carefree attitude on-stage ensures everyone has already checked their ego at the door – this is a safe space. It’s that way because BENEE doesn’t even seem to register her status as one of the most buzzed-about rising “anti-pop” stars: she’s making quirky music that’s born of the internet but certainly doesn’t just live and die there – this music has legs. Combining fun storytelling with shimmery production, BENEE’s brand of pop ends up replaying itself over and over in your head.

As she panders between songs, BENEE’s down-under Kiwi dialect serves as a device for breaking down any sense of awkwardness that you might expect from a rookie artist, by turning each transition into a moment for her to charm the sympathy out of you. The overall production of her show isn’t flashy, but each gem of a moment, and each little quip reminds you that BENEE doesn’t care about making a big affair out of any of this – she’s just having fun being a goof, embracing each silly moment.

Whether fumbling mightily for the right words to properly translate her Aussie-english phrases like “sleep-out” (guest house) or referring to her own corny dad-jokes with the self-reflective, yet laughable “that’s SO cheese!” you can’t help but love the moments between each of her songs because she’s a perfect example of what the new generation of music’s anti-stars embody: relatability. The crowd feels like they’re a part of the show, not just there to worship their new favorite singer (even though they do.)

Whether fumbling mightily for the right words to properly translate her Aussie-english phrases like “sleep-out” (guest house) or referring to her own corny dad-jokes with the self-reflective, yet laughable “that’s SO cheese!” you can’t help but love the moments between each of her songs because she’s a perfect example of what the new generation of music’s anti-stars embody: relatability. The crowd feels like they’re a part of the show, not just there to worship their new favorite singer (even though they do.)

Along with every bop from her debut EP Fire on Marzz, BENEE also played some new tunes, like her latest bop “Find An Island,” and noted that the unreleased music isn’t far from being in the hands of her emerging fan base. Expect another fun, light-hearted EP from BENEE before 2019 wraps up.

Check out photos from the show and her latest EP below:

Gallery (Slideshow):
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