Memo Music Hall is one of St Kilda’s hidden gems, and I couldn’t think of a more suited venue for Bachelor Girl to break their headlining drought of 8 years than this famous establishment. The room was set with tables and chairs with plenty of standing room for when we pulled out our boogie shoes. The lighting was low and the candlelit tables provided a warm ambiance that made you feel immediately welcome.
DJ Trente had the tunes flowing as we awaited the support act, the gorgeous Abbey Stone. Giving us a thirty-minute set of glorious tunes, she was a sight to behold dressed in green and gold and all that glitters. Abbey’s voice was amazing, her songs extremely well written I enjoyed her set immensely. Million Minutes which she wrote about her grandma was a definite highlight and her guitar skills were also fantastic. Taking to the keys for Love Myself, when we became impromptu musicians providing clapping when a technical difficulty saw the keyboard momentarily falter. If you are yet to hear Abbey Stone I recommend you do, you will not be disappointed.
It was the moment we had all been waiting for, and with just enough time to recharge your drink of choice, we saw Bachelor Girl take to the stage. While it has been quite a few years between drinks the time away has only enriched their musical connection, and they were looking extremely comfortable back in the limelight. Opening the night with Blown Away, pocket rocket Tania Doko had a smile as wide as the stage, she lit up the room with her stunning blue camouflage jumpsuit and pearly whites. Her partner in crime James Roche was in his happy place behind the keys, as they moved into This Must Be Love. Tania’s voice while still having the husky tone, has a deep richness to it which really came to the forefront during the spinetingling Permission To Shine. This 1998 megahit had the fans singing along, Tania clearly loving every minute being back in the spotlight.
Then a treat for us all with the first of two new songs yet to be released played to the eagerly awaiting fans, Calling Out Your Name was a killer addition and it was a privilege to hear the new material live. There were some lovely words from Tania and James between songs, bringing us up to speed with how they have filled in their years away from the industry, keeping very busy from the sounds of it. I’m Just A Girl was a highlight and it brought the memories flooding back from my younger years, proving that music really is a magical timekeeper. Drowning Not Waving saw the fans finally find their dancing shoes and move up the front for a shimmy followed by Waiting For The Day. The crowd that had amassed were clearly old school fans, knowing every word, some being quite moved seeing the band back in the flesh. Speak saw the band depart the stage leaving just the backing vocalist Janine Maunder with Tania and James, and if you were going to get goosebumps now was the time. It was the most beautiful ballad and the fans revelled in it.
Wild Child was the second new song of the night and Tania did elude to being one herself back in her early days. Drummer Haydn Meggitt was a fabulous timekeeper all night and now showed his skill on the Cajon as he accompanied Tania on the front of the stage. The new singles will be out later in the year and they are both ones to watch. Richie Goncalves had the bass line covered and Shannon Trottman was fabulous on guitar. A very well put together band, who were tight all night. Janine was a perfect addition on backing vocals, never overpowering, she was a flawless accompaniment to Tania. An exemplary cover of The Motels, Total Control had me mesmerized, Tania really channeled her inner Martha Davis and did a stellar job covering this classic hit. Treat Me Good was another huge hit and one I thoroughly enjoyed; its funky feel brought out the dance moves and the front of the stage was now flooded with people. Speaking of hits, there was none bigger than Buses And Trains, and we were more than happy to take over the vocals on this one. Tania had the room eating out of her hands and we all knew the words and were happy to sing along. On its completion, everyone departed the stage but seeing the merchandise on arrival and the t-shirts printed with Lucky Me on them I was quite confident they would be back for a few more as I was yet to hear that smash hit play.
Low and behold after rapturous applause they returned to play out the night, starting with Nobody Can Do It Alone, what a magnificent song, Tania and James hitting the nail square on the head for this one, it was perfect! Piece of Me and the pop sensation Lucky Me. The dancefloor was bouncing as we all took in the last song so happy to see Bachelor Girl playing these awesome hits live again. Tania singing into a bright pink megaphone towards the end, her stamina was undying right to the last word.
There was a warm energy that resonated over the Memo Music Hall as the fans made their way out into the brisk St Kilda night, and I certainly hope that this will be the first of many headline shows for Bachelor Girl. Gauging on tonight’s performance I’m sure we will be lining up to do it all again very soon.
Review Contributed by Cassandra Hale