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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Angus and Julia Stone at the Vanguard, Sydney


Even though it is a lovely venue, I have a problem with The Vanguard. I don't like the way that support artists are drowned out by the din of diners eating their meals and chatting, and so sweet little Mebourne singer Pikelet's task was a tough one one. Thankfully though, dinner was over by the time Angus and Julia took to the stage, which was decked-out in illuminated paper stars. Julia looked typically immaculate and beautiful in an emerald-green dress, while Angus was his scruffily handsome self under a mop of hair.

The tone for the evening was set with opener All Of Me; a tender, yearning love song which instantly captivated the audience. Julia’s faultless voice was exceptional, and showed great dexterity, ranging from gentle to powerful and attention-grabbing. Meanwhile, Angus perfectly complimented it with his soft, laid-back vocal.

Their songs were succinct and perfectly crafted. Drums, bass and percussion were used when necessary to raise the tempo, and were always nicely understated. Julia broke out the trumpet and harmonica sporadically, and yet there was nothing superfluous within their sound, and no showing off from any of the musicians. Therefore, the result was simple and beautiful acoustic folk music at its most charming.
The musical highlight of the evening was unquestionably the yet-to-be-released Black Jacket, which saw Julia sitting at the piano and telling a melancholic tale. “I have a black jacket,” she sang. “It makes me look like I ride a motorbike, but in real life I’m frightened I’ll fall off and die.” It was a song of quirky, painful beauty on a par with my beloved Regina Spektor or Bright Eyes, and dropped my jaw to the floor.

The night ended with the heartbreakingly poignant Chocolates and Cigarettes, after which punters rushed to the merchandise stall to pick up copies of their new EP. Trust me... this is a band with a MASSIVE future.

Review by Rob Townsend (with Julia, above).

2 comments:

Daniel said...

You have an amazing knack of meeting people like this.

bobbysix said...

True. I'm lucky. If I didn't have the knack of meeting friendly souls, there is no way I would still be in Australia now. And it's snowing back in England... :-)