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Missy Higgins @ Palais Theatre, Melbourne 3/05/2024

Never in my young life could I imagine getting to a point where I would start a story with “20 years ago…” and actually have a living adult memory from that time, rather than it just being a blurred childhood recollection. So, when some of your favourite bands and artists start embarking on their ‘20th Anniversary Tours’ for albums you could swear to god were only released a year ago, the reality check hits you like a tonne of bricks. The latest artist to embark on such a tour is our very own and incredibly talented, Missy Higgins. Her debut album The Sound of White turns the big 2-0 this year, and she is currently touring the country far and wide to commemorate the hit album and its success.

Friday night my friend and I headed toward the ocean and landed in St Kilda at one of its most iconic landmarks, the historic and beautiful Palais theatre. This night she was lit up tastefully in a purple and red glow and commanded the attention of every passerby with her dominant presence on the St Kilda foreshore. As my friend and I approached, the crowd were gathering outside the doors and the icy sea breeze cut straight through us as we stood out the front finishing our traveller cans like a pair of naughty 16 year olds. With no support act and an early start time, there was just enough time to rehydrate at the bar and head in to settle into our seats ready for the night to begin.

We didn’t need to wait long until the lights went down, and Missy Higgins entered the stage to sit at her grand piano, to cheers and a huge round of applause from a very excited 2000-strong crowd. To start the set, she kicked off with one of her early songs Falling, and went on to explain that she’d put out a message on her socials asking fans to request songs for this set. The first half of the show was to be a mixed bag of old and new songs, before we revisited The Sound of White album. Halfway through singing The Battle, Missy had a temporary mind blank and hilariously said “Fuck, what are the words? This is what happens when I’m asked to play songs that are 20 years old”. We were then treated to a new song, Story for the Ages, which is on her new album due to be released later this year. Missy explained she wrote the song about coming to terms with her separation from her husband, and having to rewrite her story because it didn’t go the way she had originally planned. Despite her cheery demeanor and her reassurance that she is moving forward with her life, the raw emotion and grief is still clearly evident when Missy discusses this particular phase of her life. Being privy to that open emotion feels like a privilege and makes someone’s story and their music dive deeper into your soul.

The Broken Ones is another new release, and the relatable and emotionally charged lyrics really hit me for six. Throughout this entire set, Missy was alone on stage(bar a couple of numbers that included her backing vocalists), and she seamlessly floated between her piano and guitar, so the acoustic nature of each song gave it an additional layer of depth and feel. The Cactus That Found the Beat was a fun, upbeat jazz-inspired song that Missy wrote for her Year 12 end of year performance and had the crowd grooving and clapping along to the funky beat and her nifty scatting. We then got a huge surprise when Aussie singer Angie McMahon joined Missy on stage, and together they sang Where I Stood. The combination of Missy’s heavenly smooth tones and Angie’s ethereal vocals made this song other worldly, and the collective goosebumps in the theatre were palpable. This was a truly incredible moment, and one that I feel lucky to have witnessed first-hand. Missy made a joke about selling tissues at the merch stand, given the sad content of a lot of her songs, and I found this comment quite appropriate as she sang another new release in which there’s a line she sings about crying in the kitchen once the kids have gone to bed. It’s easy to forget that artists in the public eye are just as human as anyone else, and this particular lyric was really quite poignant and a stark reminder of this.

It was time for an interval so the crowd could grab a drink and emotionally reset, in anticipation of ‘The Second Act’. All For Believing opened the second set with a haunting arrangement with just keys and a cello, before the 6-piece band entered the stage appropriately dressed in white, to perform Katie. Missy flaunted her custom-made short suit for the tour with an accompanying white tasselled jacket, with different meaningful symbols embroidered on it to represent different lyrics from her debut album. The River prompted Missy to recall how she used to freak out her teachers at school with her fucked up stories, but it’s fair to say it seems to have worked out pretty well for her career-wise.

Nightminds brought a solid lump to my throat and had the nostalgia flooding right back into my bones, before Ten Days had me reminiscing about all the boys I wasted hours crying over in my younger years. Missy Higgins and her tunes of heartache were on high rotation on my broken heart playlist and despite the time that has apparently passed, she has the power to evoke all those feelings again making them bubble to the surface. This is How It Goes had Missy showcasing her incredible vocal ability where in one instance in the bridge her voice was doing things I didn’t think humanly possible, and the crowd agreed with their enthusiastic response. We kept moving through the album (not in track order) before landing on The Special Two. You could feel the physical energy of everyone in the room during this iconic track, and the audience couldn’t help but sing along (at a respectful level). Missy thanked her fans for riding this journey with her and for sticking around for the last 20 years, before leading into her first huge hit Scar that had the room singing along to every word and up dancing in the aisles. The Sound of White appropriately finished off the show, and the room completely erupted at its conclusion with raucous cheers and a well-deserved standing ovation.

Missy Higgins is one of our greatest talents in this country, and her songwriting and musical ability is second to none. Her incredible voice is a soothing salve for the soul, that has the extraordinary ability to heal even the most broken of hearts. This was a truly magical night of emotion inducing nostalgia, and I’m so thrilled that I got to experience it in the flesh for myself. Those that have been to this show will know exactly what I’m talking about, and will understand that sometimes there just aren’t enough words that will do this night and the whole entire tour justice.

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[Review] Pandemonium Rocks Fesitval @ Caribbean Gardens, Melbourne 20/04/2024

Now it’s no secret that there has been a LOT of negative talk in the months leading up to the Pandemonium Rocks Festival, and not without good reason. What was initially marketed as a ‘too good to be true’ line up, turned out in fact, to be just that. 13 bands with multiple stages were eventually dwindled down to one stage housing just 7 bands for the day, and then throw in the extremely poor handling of refunding of tickets (or lack thereof) which understandably left an extremely bitter taste in the mouth of some punters. It was going to be an interesting day indeed, and I was intrigued to see what the day would have in store for me in terms of the organisation, crowd numbers and overall vibe. 

The festival was held at the Caribbean Gardens in Scoresby, which after exploring my transportation options, dawned on me that the this wasn’t an ideal location for a festival, and it was going to be a pain in the proverbial just to get there. There was limited onsite parking available for an additional fee, which was sold out prior to the day. Bookings for the designated shuttle buses closed a couple of weeks before the festival, and public transport was a couple of trains and then some bus hopping – forget it. I thought it a bit unfair to cut transport booking options off so early in advance to the event, as I’m sure there weren’t any refunds given for those cancellations. Not knowing the area, I took my chances and drove and ended up in a side residential street not too far from the site. With the site being tucked into the back of a big industrial estate, it was still a hike to get in there and I felt for those unable to physically walk that far. 

The sun was out and the temperature was comfortable, but I knew that the cold would be fast-approaching once the sun packed it in for the day. As I wandered through the gates, The Cosmic Psychos – donning wifebeater singlets, hard yakka and footy shorts – were in the midst of their set belting out some of their songs including Nice Day to Go to the PubFuckwit City and Dead in a Ditch. Before me a sea of camping chairs and picnic rugs were laid out with people mulling about and setting up their camp for the day, with others wandering around checking out the merch and their surrounds. An abundance of portaloos – tick. A good variety of food options – tick. So far so good. I ventured toward the bar area and noticed a HUGE line of thirsty patrons waiting patiently, and it was then I was thankful that I was my own designated driver and wouldn’t have to line up for years to get a drink. 

I decided to grab a bite to eat before the next set and with only a small handful of tables and chairs available for use, some kind strangers at a table were very accommodating to this girl who just wanted to sit down for 5 minutes and chow down on her burrito bowl, because I was going to need my stamina for the night ahead. I ventured on down toward the front of the stage to get a prime position for Aussie rockers, Wolfmother. One elderly music lover had walked down to the front of the stage with her zimmer frame, and I marveled at her dedication to the cause. Wolfmother hit the stage, and the crowd were pretty damn excited. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve seen them live, and they’re a band that I forget how much I love and miss them and their sound until I hear them again. They’re just a great, no bullshit Aussie rock band, and their playing was sublime. They played through a number of their hits including Woman, Dimension and Joker and the Thief. A select few people around me were getting into it, however I feel the band didn’t get the reaction they deserved due to their early time slot and probably the sobriety levels of the crowd at that time of day. Singer Andrew Stockdale declared “Rock and roll ain’t dead yet, and we’re living proof”, before rounding out their set and departing the stage. 

Chatting to a few concert goers and even a fellow reviewer whilst waiting in line for the portaloos, it seemed apparent that a lot of the crowd there had purchased their tickets in anticipation of seeing the bands on the original line-up who had eventually pulled out. Wheatus were next to hit the stage, and even though I’m old enough to remember them hitting the big time and owning their CD single (go ask your parents, kids), I couldn’t remember them releasing any other songs during that time, so I wondered if they were going to fill their set with a 40 minute extended version of Teenage Dirtbag. Surprisingly, they filled their set well with songs like Fourteen, Leroy & Hey, Mr. Brown and although I didn’t know them, I did recognise a cover of AC/DC’s Rock and Roll Damnation before they finished off with the only song anyone cared about, Teenage Dirtbag. The crowd were loving it sick and singing along to every word of the early 2000’s anthem. 

Dusk was upon us, and it was at this point that I got led toward the front of the stage by a friend of mine, when my intention had been to watch from afar without people breathing down my neck. It was more of an opt-in situation rather than opt-out, so this is where I realised I would stay for the remainder of the evening. English rock band The Psychedelic Furs hit the stage, and their fans seemed to be getting into them. Unfortunately, the mix was off which meant the sound wasn’t great from my vantage point. It also seemed to be affecting the band as numerous times singer Richard Butler asked to have the levels changed, and even had to stop a song halfway through because he couldn’t hear himself. They played one of their most famous tracks, Love My Way, as well as a number of other tracks like Wrong Train, The Ghost in You and Pretty in Pink. 

We were now getting to the business end of the night with the 2 bands I was most looking forward to. A police siren soundtrack rang out from the stage and 70’s rockers Blondie entered, with lead singer Debbie Harry rocking a green pant suit and black Zorro-like mask. They opened with X Offender and then led into Hanging on the Telephone. One Way or Another and Call Me really got the crowd amped up and singing along. Once again, the sound was a bit of a letdown and with Harry’s vocals not being overly strong anyway, they were completely lost amongst the music at times. I did wonder if it was because I was so close to the stage, but in my experience the sound should still be decent whether you’re 10 metres or 100 metres from the stage. Blondie still put on a great and entertaining show, and when the stage was drenched in neon green lighting, Atomic blew us away with the addition of guitarist Tommy Kessler’s ripping solo on his Flying V. Blondie played for over an hour and included In the Flesh, Rapture and The Tide is High in their set. Heart of Glass had Harry donning a mirrored cape with a hood, before they finished off with Dreaming.

Darkness was well and truly upon us now, the air was chilled, and as I looked up to the sky in amongst the dark clouds was a near-full moon shining through. I couldn’t help but think how eerily cool and appropriate it was, given the act we were about to see next. There had been a little movement in the crowd which now mean I was about 6 people deep from the stage, and in a prime position to see shock rocker, Alice Cooper. The props were rolled on stage and a huge double drum kit was lugged on in 2 parts. My excitement was growing as it had been 19 years since I’d seen Alice Cooper, and I’d been front row squished on the barriers for that show. More movement on stage and a black curtain was in place, shielding us from the happenings behind it. The lights go down and 2 characters in creepy old fashioned plague masks with a long beak cross the stage ringing a bell. The intro plays out and Alice Cooper busts through a banner in all this black, leather-clad glory. The crowd were going mental by this point as he opened the show with Lock Me Up which was followed by Welcome to the Show. No More Mr. Nice Guy had the crowd singing along, as did I’m Eighteen. Billion Dollar Babies had green confetti guns going off, before Hey Stoopid and iconic anthem Department of Youth kept the crowd singing along. His band would have to be some the fittest people in the business, as their energy was off-tap and didn’t waver at all. Snakebite had Alice wrapped in a REAL LIVE snake (That’s a big no bloody thanks for me!!) and I was impressed that he could still perform so comfortably with that slimy thing wrapped around his body. 

It was then feeding time and I had the urge to start screaming “We’re Not Worthy” (Wayne’s World style) as the intro to Feed My Frankenstein played out. One of my favourites and I couldn’t help but scream along to the lyrics. Next on the list was my ALL-TIME favourite Poison, and the crowd were going sick for this classic hit. Throughout the song Alice was walking around pointing at audience members asking if they were poison, and I swear to absolute god he pointed directly at me and eyeballed me as he asked, “Are your lips venomous poison?” I wondered who he’d been talking to that had been telling stories about me…

A few more tracks followed including Black Widow Jam, Elected and Ballad of Dwight Fry, in which he was locked into a strait jacket, before ending the set with an awesome version of School’s Out that sampled Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall. His songs are played with such passion and energy that every single song could be a finale because they’re so epically huge. The crowd was left absolutely buzzing as he left the stage, and his impressive and engaging stage show was just as brilliant as I remembered it nearly 20 years ago.

In what was a day that many went into with disappointment, Alice Cooper was definitely the redeeming factor and saving grace of this festival. Without being bias, I definitely think it would’ve been a pretty mediocre line-up without him. I did have a great day all round, but I went in without any pre-conceived ideas or opinion, so I understand that others may not have felt the same. I don’t think I’ll be hurrying back to this venue for another event given its location, but the layout of the grounds were easy and straightforward to get around. Once I was home my body was telling me that I’m probably a bit too old to be down in the moshpit, however you know you’ve had a good night when your whole body is aching, and you have to go to bed with a big dose of Nurofen and a hot water bottle. Just another day spent listening to great live music, to fill my little music-nerd heart. 

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[Review] James Taylor @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 16/04/2024

It’s a cold and rainy winter night. You’re lounging on the living room floor with a glass of wine in front of the heater, turntable crackling in the background, and the sweet, mellow smoothness of James Taylor is absorbing your ear drums as well as your soul. Life is content. This is the exact vibe that washes over me whenever I hear his voice…

Tuesday night in the city and it was baby boomer central at Margaret Court Arena, as a few thousand punters ventured in to see legendary singer-songwriter James Taylor. Taylor is currently touring the country on what has been dubbed as his last Australian tour. 

As my friend and I were standing in line waiting to stuff our faces with Mr Miyagi’s pork baos, I could’ve sworn I saw James Taylor walking through the crowd. In fact, there were about 30 James Taylor’s strolling by me on their way to the bar. At first I thought my hunger was making me hallucinate, I soon realised that in actual fact there were just a lot of men sporting their flat caps, paying homage to the man of the hour who is known to have one as permanent fixture to his head. For those spring chickens less acquainted with the style, think Peaky Blinders hat. 

Given there were no support acts, it didn’t take long to dive straight into proceedings once we’d taken our seats amongst the hoards. The house lights were killed off, and Mr James Taylor walked out on stage (yes, wearing his iconic hat), under a single spotlight and was met with a huge applause. His hat was removed, and he took a bow before settling into his position for the night. He let us know that he was so glad to FINALLY be back in Australia and that it’s such a long trip to get here. The show was opened with Something in the Way She Moves, in which Taylor revealed that this was the first song that he played for Paul McCartney and George Harrison in 1968. The Beatles had just started Apple Records and after hearing that song, Taylor was the first artist to be signed to their label. There’s nothing I love more than listening to an artist give a backstory on their music and creating this whole bigger picture than what you initially realise. 

Rainy Day Man followed before we were led into That’s Why I’m Here, which was written after the death of his good friend and partner in crime John Belushi, which was then a catalyst towards Taylor’s own recovery. A song about our own beloved Australia, Yellow and Rose played out, until we were a “long way from anywhere” with Anywhere Like Heaven. Throughout the first half of the show I was having a good laugh at the female cohort of the crowd, yelling out that they loved him in which he awkwardly and cheekily reciprocated, however I did think it was going to get all Tom Jones there at one point and I was going to see underwear being thrown at the stage. Before getting into Never Die Young, James told us “That’s actually great life advice and if you’re young enough then don’t die. It’s too late for me but save yourselves!” His dry sense of humour was present throughout the entire show and had everyone laughing along the whole night. 

After Country Road, in which I couldn’t take my eyes off drummer Dean Parks with his killer drum part, there seemed to be an issue with James’ inner ear monitors and he hilariously told us he had the footy game running through them, and it kept cutting out which was annoying him. Sweet Baby James was a huge hit with crowd, until the wacky tune Sun on the Moon rounded out his first set. When Taylor held up a comical-sized board of his set list that looked like a wobble board, he mentioned an intermission and I thought this was his humour coming into play again. 

“Now I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain” … but never in all my years of going to concerts have I been to one with an intermission!

 The house lights went up and for 20 minutes the crowd had a stretch and restocked their snacks and beverages before settling back in for the second half of the show. We were then taken on a bit of a journey around the world, with the beautiful Carolina in My Mind opening up the second set. We then jetted off to Mexico, and with its slight Caribbean undertones which I found interesting, it had the crowd moving along. The crowd went wild as he traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric for the first time that night, and there was a cheeky joke made about how far guitars had come since the old gas and steam guitars, but that horse drawn guitars were still being used in Pennsylvania. This led into the blues tune Steamroller in which I felt my body involuntarily moving to the beat. It also further solidified the fact that I need to learn how to play the harmonica (you’re welcome, neighbours) after a ripping harmonica solo from Taylor. 

The iconic intro to his heartbreaking classic Fire and Rain had the crowd going mad and had them also singing along at a respectable volume throughout the entire song. Up on the Roof – written by the legendary Carole King – got the crowd even more excited, as did Shower the People where James’ wife joined the band onstage on backing vocals. We were then told “I’m gonna sing that other Carole King song for ya” which raised a huge response from the crowd as he led into the absolute classic You’ve Got a Friend. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) seemed to draw the night to a close and attracted a huge reaction with a standing ovation from the crowd. 

After James and the band left the stage, I was contemplating whether we would get an encore given the intermission we had. But I needn’t contemplate for long because James was back in no time, much to the pure delight of his fans and went on to Shed A Little Light on us, which had everyone up and dancing. Smiling Face had that exact affect on the crowd, and they reciprocated with another standing ovation at its conclusion. They still weren’t quite done so to finish off the night completely, it was the mellow You Can Close Your Eyes and the beautifully blended harmonies resonated throughout the arena which was the perfect end to such a relaxed evening. 

James Taylor is one of the original singer-songwriter masters of our time, and his melodious music and soulful lyrics have the power to impact and survive throughout the generations. This was a night that was throughly enjoyed by all, and I know that everyone present are secretly hoping that he’ll change his mind about this being his last Australian tour. Until (hopefully) next time, James!

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[Album Review] Claire Anne Taylor – Giving It Away

What do you get when you mix the raw talent & raspiness of Janis Joplin, the melodic sweetness of Eva Cassidy, and the rock grit of Melissa Etheridge? Claire Anne Taylor, that’s what you get. Despite the many musicians that come to mind when listening to Claire, she still has her own uniquely distinct sound. The Tasmanian-born singer/songwriter released her third album Giving It Away on 16th February, and my god what an incredible piece of work it is. 

The opening track Swallowing Stones is a slow ballad with a warm accordion intro and lyrics that really hit hard, which is followed up by the tale of the child forced to grow up too fast in You Were Just a Kid. This particular song is a prime example of Claire’s exceptional storytelling talents. With it’s funky saloon-style piano intro, Dance With Death gets your toes tapping and really showcases Claire’s raw powerful vocals. 

For Old Times Sake picks up the pace and combined with its catchy chorus, you’ll be bopping along with a smile on your face. Stuck Around is a nostalgic tale of what could have been and the subtle organ under the track provides a joyful layer to fill the song. 

Claire’s opening vocals in Before evoke deep emotions, whilst If You Should See Sunshine is a gutsy rock track that packs a huge punch. Its thumping drum intro and meaty guitar sound completely encompass your whole body to move along as the song builds to its crescendo. 

Lay You Down in the Cold Hard Ground is my absolute favourite track on the album. It’s a brilliantly dirty, gritty, blues-rock track that just builds and builds, and transports you to the famous blues bars of the Deep South. I’ve found myself singing and/or humming this tune nearly every day since it first entered my radar. 

Keep On Truckin’ has an upbeat country feel and is the perfect road trip anthem with a dose of wise advice in its chorus for good measure. 

The highly emotive title track Giving It Away has Claire completely baring her soul, and sharing her deeply personal journey of grief. I managed to catch Claire’s Melbourne show recently, and seeing her perform this song live with just her piano was one of the most incredibly moving performances I’ve ever seen. The goosebumps still haven’t disappeared. 

Rounding out this brilliant album is The River Song that floats weightlessly around you before settling comfortably within your space. 

It’s one thing to be a talented singer, songwriter and musician, but Claire has the added superpower of being a gifted storyteller, whose stories have a special way of infiltrating your psyche and opening up every emotion laying dormant within you. If there is one homegrown artist you need to get around RIGHT NOW, it’s Claire Anne Taylor. 

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[Review] Charley Crockett @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 13/02/2024

Tuesday saw just another classic Summer day in Melbourne – 37 degrees, damaging storms, torrential rain, flooding, gale force winds, power outages, all the usual stuff – however none of this deterred a bunch of keen music lovers who ventured out to see the talented Charley Crockett. The Texan country singer has been touring Australia with his band for the past few weeks, with his final show set for Perth on 14th February. 

Knowing very little about him and only a couple of his songs, I was interested to see the demographic of his fan base. Based on my last hectic country music experience at the Forum, I was well prepared for what potentially may lay ahead for me. If you’ve been reading my previous reviews then you’ll know I love people watching, especially at gigs. The fans that rolled out to this gig were a lot more sedate than my previous experience, and proved a solid point that you can’t always stereotype the fans a musician or band may attract. Given the thick, traditional country sound to his music, I was surprised to find only a handful of Stetson hats wandering through the crowd and a limited amount of plaid shirts and cowboy boots adorning the punters. From the ages of early 20’s to late 80’s and everything in between, it really was the ultimate mixed bag of people. 

As I settled into position in the historically beautiful Forum theatre, I managed to catch the last few songs of the first support act, Sweet Talk. The local Melbourne 6 piece outfit have got a damn fine sound, and I was disappointed I didn’t get to catch their full set(Thanks public transport delays). Country, soul, blues, with slight funk undertones and hint of honky tonk, these guys have got a dash of everything in their music, and lead singer Tane Walker’s voice has got an awesome soul quality to it. This is a band I’ll definitely be looking out for in the future – I need more of them in my life! 

Next up were Sydney country band Caitlin Harnett & the Pony Boys. With their solid country sound and Caitlin’s distinct soaring vocals, they proved to be a big hit with the crowd despite Caitlin joking at times “You don’t even know who we are”. Their recently released album All Night Long is sure to be a hit with fans old and new, and the song Sidelines – which Caitlin wrote for her sister- is definitely a stand-out track. 

There was an excited buzz travelling throughout the audience now, and I could tell everyone was gearing up for the main event. Well our appetites were about to be fed, as Charley’s band entered stage left followed by the man himself, decked out in his crisp Ten Gallon hat and acoustic guitar strapped firmly to his front. They opened the show with $10 Cowboy, and the crowd were absolutely thrilled! 

Charley then greeted us with a “good evening Melbourne”, which was met with a rowdy applause. Bass player Colin Colby then switched out his electric bass for a classic upright double bass which gave the next track, Black Sedan, a really deep and rich sound. 

Just Like Honey and Lies and Regret followed which the crowd really got into, and the latter was a real toe tappin’ boot scootin’ affair. Charley was flying through the songs back to back with minimal audience interaction in between, and amongst those were some James ‘Slim’ Hand covers including In The Corner. Into the mix he also threw in Hard Luck & Circumstances, Odessa and Look What You Done To Me, which had slight hints of New Orleans Jazz vibes with it’s arrangement. 

It was then we went to Welcome Hard Times, before it sounded like we were headed into a Mexican stand-off when the moody intro to The Man From Waco rang out and had the crowd singing along to the chorus. After a few more songs, including a Jerry Reed cover of I Feel For You, Charley then thanked and praised his wonderfully talented band and said that “they make a $10 cowboy look pretty good”. He then said he had to ask us something, and asked if we were having a good time? This was met with deafening cheers and applause, in which Charley then summoned a big Hallelujah from everyone in the room. 

It was then into another cover, this time Tom T. Hall’s That’s How I Got to Memphis, before we got down with the funky blues tune Travelin’ Blues. Charley then picked up his banjo for the first time that night and proceeded to play the bluegrass sounding track Darlin’ Six Months Ain’t Long, promptly followed up with Lily My Dear. Trinity River was a hit with the crowd, and once again this track with its upbeat jazz feel makes you feel like you’re marching down Bourbon Street in New Orleans in a Second Line Parade. 

It really amazes me how a song can make you feel an experience that you’ve never encountered before, and during Run Horse Run I truly felt like a cowboy in the Wild West riding in the saddle of my faithful steed. After finishing the ode to his home state Goin’ Back to Texas, he cheekily told us that because this was his second Melbourne show he was twice as good as he was the night before, money back guaranteed. His set then drew to a close with Midnight Run and a huge and thunderous applause from the crowd who were hungry for more. When I say the crowd were hungry, they were bloody starving for more once Charley had departed the stage. The cheering and stomping from the audience would’ve put the hyena stampede from The Lion King to shame, and the sound was deafening as the crowd were trying to summon him back to the stage for an encore. There was a long delay where it looked as if that was it and a few concert goers started to disperse, but their ravenous calls were met with Charley reappearing with his acoustic guitar and singing a solo version of Lonesome As a Shadow. It was then one last song with the full band before the night drew to a close and a lot of happy souls were left to venture out into the night for their journey home. 

Charley’s voice is a deep, smooth salve for the soul and at times reminds me a lot of the late great Johnny Cash. I am far from a country music aficionado by any means, however I feel his style of country music is a lot different to what you hear commercially released these days. His old school country sound pulls from influences like Hank Williams and George Jones, and made me feel like I was back in the 1950’s sitting in some little honky tonk bar in the depths of the Deep South. Charley is certainly a talented performer, not just vocally, but musically and with his cute little dance moves and dashing cowboy looks, he really is the whole country meal deal. I really enjoyed my night with Charley, and can now officially call myself a fan! 

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[Review] Jackson Browne @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 29/11/2023

Review By Terri Nas

Wednesday night was a wet and soggy occasion(classic Melbourne Summer), and it was baby boomer central as I headed over to Margaret Court Arena to see legendary American singer, Jackson Browne. If there’s one thing I love as much as going to gigs, it’s people watching. As I stood outside waiting for my friend to arrive, I watched the crowd roll in and it occurred to me that never have I been to a gig where a huge portion of the crowd had to enter via the accessibility entrance. These boomers were here for a damn good time, and absolutely nothing was going to get in their way.

Browne is currently touring Australia after having to postpone his tour earlier in the year due to illness. Supporting him on his tour is Australian singer-songwriter, Liz Stringer. This is one home-grown talent that I am admittedly ashamed I have never heard of until now. Stringer has an absolutely incredible voice that has the ability to stop you in your tracks. It’s raw, husky quality is equally matched with refined smoothness and during a couple of her slower songs, if I’d closed my eyes I would’ve sworn I was listening to Christine McVie from Fleetwood Mac. Stringer is a true storyteller and her songs really struck a chord with me. Her song The Metrologist is brilliant and the intensity of the bridge had me holding my breath, waiting for her to come up for air during the fast paced lyrics. I thoroughly enjoyed her entire set, and she now has a brand new fan in me.

Once Liz Stringer departed the stage the roadies did their seamless stage changeover, and it wasn’t long until the house lights would go down in preparation for the main event. The stadium was stripped of light, and Jackson walked onto stage alone under a single spotlight to a huge round of applause. Guitar in hand and decked out in jeans and a blue plaid shirt, he opened the show alone with a moving version of Don’t Let Us Get Sick.

His band of 7 then entered the stage and took us on an upbeat ride Downhill From Everywhere, which then led to For Everyman where the stage was completely bathed in red lighting to really set the tone. Jackson’s two incredibly talented back up vocalists then joined him down the front of the stage to sing Until Justice Is Real, in which he dedicated it to those all around the world fighting racial injustice.

Fountain of Sorrow and The Long Way Around were next on the list until we got to Somebody’s Baby, in which Jackson confessed that it took him 20 years to love this particular song. He also acknowledged with humour, that “a guy with a white beard singing about a baby, is not good”. He then went on to explain that in his mind he doesn’t have a white beard and he’s definitely not 75. Those of us that have begun the ageing process certainly found this hilariously relatable.

Jackson then jumped over to the piano to play his favourite song, a cover of Warren Zevon’s The Indifference of Heaven. We then were treated to a beautiful and moving rendition of For A Dancer, which he explained was written about his first friend that passed away.

The lyrics are completely heartbreaking and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one with a lump in my throat at that point.

Hecklers in the audience started piping up with requests, and The Pretender was one that many called out, which was met with a chuckled response of “we’ll get there”. Jackson opted to play Boulevard next before succumbing to peer pressure and playing The Pretender, which was met with a hugely excited response from the crowd. Jackson explained that he’s actually been in Melbourne for the past week seeing the sights and lapping up our incredible restaurants, and couldn’t help but cheekily stir us about our “great weather” in response to the consistent summer rain we’d had for the past week.

Call It Alone and Time The Conqueror were up next, despite the audience still shouting requests in between. Jackson, in a good natured way said in response “we’re gonna play what I want.” Whilst the odd harmless heckle or request can be funny, when people consistently do it throughout a show it does wear thin and I find myself getting as annoyed as what the performer must be. As we started to navigate to the final leg of the set with more hits, That Girl Could Sing was a great experience with an awesome harmonising guitar battle, and then we got to the classic Doctor My Eyes which the crowd couldn’t help moving and singing along to.

Late For The Sky took things down a notch before the set was rounded out with a finale of his iconic hit, Running On Empty. The crowd were going wild and dancing in the aisles to the legendary tune. Those that weren’t up dancing, were then up out of their seats for a standing ovation at the end of the song. Jackson and his band deserved this overwhelming reception and more. We then went through the usual motions of being wished goodnight and pretending to say goodbye, until SURPRISE! Encore time!

There was no way he could finish up his 2+ hour set without singing an ode to all the roadies out there with The Load-Out, which naturally led into the crowd favourite Stay. There was a lot of audience participation and backing vocals during the entire encore because in fact, yes, we did “wanna staaaayyy, just a little bit longer”.

It was then a final goodnight to the brilliant Mr Jackson Browne and his super tight and talented backing band. Jackson and his formidable talent is a great example that age doesn’t necessarily mean limitations, given that his voice was still just as superb as ever, and I did love seeing him float between his guitar and piano throughout the course of the night. His music has that wholesome ‘Americana’ feel with long instrumentals and meaningful lyrics that reach your heart, which also have the staying power to reach multiple generations. Despite being one of the youngest there and not knowing every single song I thoroughly enjoyed my night with such a talented legend, and judging by the conversations I overheard on the way out, that was the general consensus of everyone that was in the room that night. Until next time, Mr Browne!

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[Review] Robbie Williams @ AAMI Park Melbourne, 22.11.2023

Hell is gone and Robbie’s here there’s nothing left for you to fear, 

Shake your arse, come over here, now SCREAM!!!  

The surrounds of AAMI Park were awash with people, food & merch stands, glitter, and more people, and I excitedly approached the stadium because tonight I had a date. A date with a man that I have loved for a very long time and who doesn’t actually know that I exist. But a date, nevertheless. Enter: Mr Robbie Williams.  

It was an expected older crowd who were flooding through the gates and jostling for position to catch a glimpse of the global megastar. Whether you’re a fan or not his music is undeniably catchy, and you will always find yourself at least humming along to his familiar tunes. My partner in crime for the evening is a dear friend who loves Robbie as much as me. I dare say there would be bloodshed between us if one of us had’ve nabbed Robbie for ourselves. We found our seats promptly and despite Robbie not gracing the stage for another 2 hours, the excitement was pulsating within me already. 

The first support act for the evening were Lufthaus, an electronic dance duet who originate from Melbourne. They’ve spent a lot of time overseas building their following, and interestingly enough have actually collaborated with Robbie on a number of tracks. They got everyone in the mood with their continuous electro tracks, and they let everyone know how pleased they were to be playing to a home crowd for the first time. 

Next on the bill was British singer and former Supergrass frontman, Gaz Coombes. His music is a mix of pop and rock, and people seemed to be really digging it. Gaz and his band were energetic and rocked the stage for their entire set, right up until they exited the stage. It was interesting to note the contrast in the 2 support acts, which no doubt ensured everyone’s music tastes were met.  

As the sun dissipated and dusk was upon us, my heart was bursting and the butterflies were in full force causing havoc in my stomach. I knew the arrival of the great man was imminent, and that he was nearby and ready to blow the stadium away. The remaining lights went down, there was movement on the stage and the crowd started to get riled up. We were met with the introduction of Hey Yeah Wow Wow, and as the 3 cubes that doubled as screens started to rise from the stage, There. He. Was. Donning a black sequin suit, accessorised with a white Elvis-style scarf, there was the legend we had all been waiting for. The song was over in no time, and it was then that the instantly recognisable piano riff of Let Me Entertain You began, as Robbie marched down the catwalk stage that led out into the middle of the general admission area. Robbie piped up during the song with “Let me reintroduce myself, I’m Robbie Fucking Williams”. The crowd were completely beside themselves by this point, dancing and singing along to every word. This was my 3rd time seeing the British superstar, and despite being nearly 20 years since our last date, hot fucking damn this man has not lost a thing.  

The next song he led into was a cover of Wilson Pickett’s Land of 1000 Dances, which is a party starter at the best of times. There was more audience participation, and at one point Robbie had a little sit down because as he put it, “I’m fucking nackered, I’m nearly 50!” Robbie told us he was going to take us on journey, on a 33-year musical odyssey of his career. The way in which he did this was hilarious and heartfelt with a great dose of nostalgia. Robbie checked in and asked his crowd, “Am I amongst friends, Melbourne? Am I in a safe space to share with you?” The crowd went ballistic in support because yes Robbie, we are here for you ALWAYS.  

Next up was one of his early hits Strong, in which he jumped down into the crowd to get up close and personal with his fans. It was hilarious watching this unfold on the big screen as there were a sea of female hands grabbing and groping him from every angle. Come Undone followed, and during it’s musical intro he incorporated a bit of JPY’s Love Is In The Air. This is one of my most favourite Robbie songs, and I was belting it out as loud as I could, along with the rest of my fellow concert goers.   

It was then Robbie wanted to take us on a trip back to 1990. On this trip he told us the Berlin Wall hadn’t long come down, Nelson Mandela had been released from prison, a young Australian cricketer was preparing to make his debut (this little tribute sent the crowd wild – R.I.P Warnie), and most importantly in that year a little boy band was formed called, Take That. There were a lot of Take That fans in the audience, and when we were treated with the music video to the band’s song Do What You Like, in which we were exposed to a close up image of 16-year-old Robbie’s arse in the clip, the crowd were THIRSTY. He then went on to play their song Could It Be Magic, in which he bailed on halfway through as he exclaimed “Na, I can’t be arsed!” He then shared a little anecdote of that era, when he went to Glastonbury with a bag full of drugs and champagne and hung out with 2 brothers from a popular UK rock band at the time. This was of course a segway into a cover of the Oasis classic, Don’t Look Back in Anger. Robbie took on the iconic Gallagher stance at the mic as he sung the song and at this point, I wasn’t sure that life could get any better than that moment.  

The Take That fans then got what they wanted with a version of Back For Good. Robbie went on to tell us that despite all the struggles he’s had to endure with his career, life, mental & physical health etc, that now he is actually the happiest he has ever been. If you’re someone who has followed his career both on and off the stage, then you know that this is a huge deal. This led into his song I Love My Life. Better Man followed and the audience took it upon themselves to provide backing vocals once again, and I found this song and its lyrics hitting me differently than they had ever done previously.  

The upbeat track Candy followed, before a moody and atmospheric performance of Feel with an intricate light show that perfectly set the vibe. After watching Robbie’s new Netflix documentary (which I highly recommend by the way), I realised during the show that songs like Feel, Better Man & Come Undone and their lyrics certainly hit a lot differently than they did previously. The lyrics are obviously raw and confronting and despite following his career for a long time, the doco really was an eye opener into his mental state over the years and the struggles he’s encountered, putting everything into a different light. 

It was time to pick the pace up again, as the intro to Kids started to play out. I did turn to my friend and say, “oh my god I wonder if Kylie is in town??” Sadly she wasn’t, so Robbie’s talented back up vocalists rotated the female vocal part of the smash hit. Robbie then ‘had a proper giggle and was quite polite’ as he then led into Rock DJ, in which the crowd were well and truly going off by now. Just to clarify, the crowd were psyched for the show’s entirety, but there were just some songs that amped them up even more. Robbie then departed the stage to indicate the end of the show, however of course he was just playing with us because there would’ve been a riot had there not been an encore. 

The stage lights went up again and the music started. It was now time for everyone to stand for the national anthem, as the intro to John Farnham’s You’re The Voice played out. The 3 cubes at the back of the stage rose again, revealing Robbie wearing an Australian Cricket Team t-shirt. John Farnham in all his mulletted glory appeared on a screen behind Robbie singing along, and it wasn’t until Robbie pointedly turned around to show us, that we realised the back of his shirt was emblazoned with WARNE 23 on the back. Cue goosebumps, tears & and an overwhelming response from the crowd for this lovely tribute to an Australian legend. Robbie then singled out a lady in the front row to dedicate She’s The One to. In a hilarious interaction, there was another woman standing there who was so overwhelmed with emotion and was trying to get in on the action too. Robbie’s cheeky banter with them both made it extra entertaining, and I truly envied the woman in which the song was dedicated to. 

To top off the night Robbie rounded out the set with his usual finale of Angels. This time he dedicated it to the lady who tragically passed away after having an accident at one of Robbie’s Sydney shows. Once again it was a touching moment, and with a sea of phone lights before him (gone are the days of the old lighters swaying in the crowd), it was a magical sight to behold and be a part of. Robbie and the band then took their bows to exit the stage, but it seemed Robbie was just having too much fun to leave. Long after the band had departed, he hung around singing the start of a few of his songs acapella and then encouraged the crowd to finish it. He of course had to get one last cheeky quip in, and asked who in the audience were Carlton supporters. You can imagine the response that got with a lot more boos than cheers, and Robbie found it hysterically funny and said, “I love asking that, that is fucking hilarious”. He then started singing the first few bars of Better Man in which the crowd continued as Robbie then snuck off stage and into his waiting van side of stage to whisk him away. 

“I just wanna Feel, real love” … and Robbie, real love is what you gave us. Robbie’s charisma alone is a show in itself, and his extended interactions with the crowd throughout the night were nothing short of entertaining & hilarious. He also has the uncanny ability to stare straight down the barrel of a camera, and have you believe he is looking and singing directly to you and you only, which is how I felt every time I watched the big screens. I may be bias, but you really can’t dispute the fact that he is a brilliant showman and knows exactly how to get the audience eating out of the palm of his hand. I truly didn’t want the night to ever end, and I was a mix of elation and sadness leaving the stadium with my raspy throat from singing and screaming, and my sore cheeks from the permanent smile that was plastered to my face for the night. The first song to play in the background after the show was finished was Time Of My Life from Dirty Dancing, and the audience were singing along with it even after they’d departed the stadium. Once outside the stadium I could still hear the crowd singing it and thought it was quite poignant, given that each of us really did have the time of our life that night. 

If you’ve never seen Robbie Williams live then he definitely needs to be added to your bucket list, as he is one singer even the most minor of fans need to see at least once in their lifetime. We love you Robbie, Australia loves you, and I hope you come back to our shores sooner rather than later!!   

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[Review] The Corrs @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne 6/11/2023

For those that have known me for a very long time, know that I am a huge fan of The Corrs. HUGE. Even borderline obsessive when I went through a stage of wanting to be them! So, when the opportunity arose for me to finally see my childhood idols in the flesh for the very first time, you bet I was counting down the days until their arrival. The Irish pop group have been touring Australia & New Zealand, and Melbourne was the last stop on their Australian leg of the tour before heading over the ditch to visit our Kiwi cousins.

Headed to Rod Laver on a beautiful balmy 28-degree night, I was met with fellow revellers of all ages that were hyped by a combination of the magnificent weather and anticipation of the night ahead.

Adelaide sister act Germein were the first of the three support acts of the evening to hit the stage. The trio entertained with their fun and heartfelt pop songs, and their inner beauty and humble nature, along with their musical talent, really made them shine on stage. Next on the bill was American-born singer-songwriter, Toni Childs. Toni came out on stage to a quiet reception from the audience, but then proceeded to completely blow everyone out of the water with her distinct sound and powerhouse vocals singing one of her biggest hits, I’ve Got To Go Now. Despite the years gone by and her age, not only does she look amazing, but her pipes are still absolutely incredible and they never faltered once. Toni sang a few of her other older hits including Stop Your Fussin’ and Don’t Walk Away, which had the audience well and truly eating out of her hand. As she ventured into some of her newer material, the audience were thoroughly enjoying themselves, and even more so when she came down into the crowd for her final song. Toni ventured through the audience shaking hands as she delivered her final song which was full of hope, encouragement, and reminding people that they are beautiful, intelligent and worthy.    

Australian sweetheart Natalie Imbruglia was the last support act of the night to warm up the punters – and that is exactly what she did. Natalie kicked off with some older hits Wishing I Was There, Wrong Impression Shiver, before leading into a small catalogue of her newer stuff. The crowd were loving every minute of her amazing vocals and high-energy set, but you knew everyone was waiting to hear THE song. When the opening bars of Torn started, the crowd erupted and sang along to every word of the 90’s hit. Natalie then finished off with my personal favourite Big Mistake, and it was at this point in the night that I realised I had actually entered a time machine and was now well and truly planted back in 1997.    

It was now that my heart rate started to increase, and my excitement was making me nauseous because I knew it was time for my favourite Irish band to hit the stage. Now when I say that I used to be obsessed with The Corrs, I’m not lying. Growing up, my musical weapon of choice of was the flute(these skills are easily transferable to a tin whistle), and my best friend who loved The Corrs equally as much was a violinist. So, we would spend our weekends covering their songs and doing our own arrangements, and when we weren’t doing that, we were watching their live DVD’s over and over again for inspiration. You get the tragic picture now?    

The houselights go down and we’re met with vision on the screens of The Corrs walking down a long corridor, as the goosebumps on my skin are nearly busting right through the surface. Pre-recorded celtic instrumental music accompanies the footage and keeps building up and up into a crescendo. Once the music hits that peak, an almost tribal-like drumbeat kicks in and that’s when The Corrs’ drummer Caroline appears in the singular spotlight on an otherwise dark stage, beating those drums as if her life depends on it. The beat stops abruptly, and the electric guitar intro to Only When I Sleep kicks in and that is when we get our first glimpse of the Corr siblings. By this stage, the tears have well and truly started flowing and all I can think is “Thank god it’s dark in here so no one can see me being a blubbering idiot”.  

With Andrea’s beautiful soaring vocals in this opening number, I knew then that this was going to be an incredible show and that the band haven’t lost a single thing. Give Me A Reason Summer Sunshine got the crowd bopping along, and everyone was in their absolute element. With a now dark stage, the spotlight was on violinist Sharon, who started playing the iconic instrumental Erin Shore. The crowd went mental not only for her stunning playing, but for the fact that they knew this was the introduction for The Corrs early smash hit, Forgiven Not Forgotten. Jim’s keyboard hit us with that iconic piano riff, and it was on. I’ve probably heard and even sung this song approximately 406,282 times in my life, but hearing it live in the flesh was like hearing it for the first time and loving it all over again. This was also the first song of the night where Caroline’s bodhrán made its appearance, and I’m always completely in awe watching her play it.   

Next on the list was the unrequited love track,What Can I Do. Andrea joked that singing this always worked in getting the guy, however Sharon hilariously retorted that in doing so meant “you usually got the wrong dude at the end.” It’s no secret that The Corrs have covered Fleetwood Mac tracks in the past, and even collaborated with Mick Fleetwood. So, it was only fitting that they covered Fleetwood’s Little Lies, in tribute to the late Christine McVie. After Don’t Say You Love Me, we were treated to their stunningly beautiful cover of Jimi’s Hendrix’s tune Little Wing. Despite also being a die-hard Fleetwood Mac fan, I would have to say that this is probably my most favourite song that they have ever covered. With the poetic lyrics and their Celtic touch, the song really is a moving and emotional journey. It was time for Andrea to take a quick break from the stage, leaving Sharon & Caroline on lead vocals to sing the Jimmy MacCarthy song, No Frontiers. Their rendition of this has always been a favourite of mine, and it has to be said that you can be the most talented vocalist in the world with the ability for killer harmonies, but nothing beats the smooth butter-like sound of siblings harmonising together(It’s also scientific fact!). This song is a stripped-back prime example of this, where both Sharon & Caroline’s voice blend so well that they sound like one.   

It was then time to get up and have a jig around to the instrumental Joy of Life, before being led into one of their newer tracks about immigrating called, Ellis Island. We were back into another instrumental number with Haste To The Wedding, and it is seriously impossible not to move around and feel happy when listening to these pieces. Radio was next which then led into another of my favourite’s (and also my bestie’s favourite too), Queen of Hollywood. It’s such a beautiful and sad song and the lyrics get me every single time. We were then treated to another Fleetwood cover of Dreams, and despite being a sucker for the original, I just adore this arrangement and their little Irish spin they put on it to make it sound even more incredible. My gut was telling me that we were nearing the end of the show, but I was hopeful for an encore as they fired up with So Young. This got the whole crowd up and dancing and there was just so much love and happiness in the room. The band struck while the iron was hot and kept the crowd up dancing and singing along with, I Never Loved You Anyway.   

We went through the motions of a fake goodbye before we welcomed them back for an encore. No Corrs gig would ever be complete without hearing Runaway, so that was the first song waiting for us in the encore. However, the crowd took it upon themselves to give Andrea a break and provide the lead vocals for this track, and every single person in the place was singing along. Everyone was left Breathless for the next track, before they rounded out their encore with the iconic instrumental piece Toss The Feathers. It was a sad farewell as The Corrs wished us goodnight and left the stage, and I was left wondering what I was going to do with my life now that the show was over.  

If I had to sum up this show in one word? Flawless. In every sense of the word. The Corrs are an incredible talent, and time has certainly not aged them or their music. This gig was an absolute dream come true for the chubby little 12-year-old girl who loved playing the flute and listening to The Corrs on repeat, and for the now 34-year-old body and mind in which she now resides. A truly magical night all round with a huge array of talent. You’ll be sad that you missed it!   

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[Review] Jet @ Night Cat, Melbourne 20/09/2023

Review By Terri Nas

A drizzly Wednesday night saw me headed northbound in the direction of The Night Cat in super-cool Fitzroy. Legendary Australian band, Jet, are touring the country to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of their first hit album Get Born. Wednesday night’s gig was a warm-up show to kick off their tour, their first show being Friday night at The Forum.

If there’s one way to make yourself feel simultaneously young again but old as hell, it’s heading to see a band celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of their first album that you played on high rotation during your youth. Wait… wasn’t it only yesterday that I was a perky, young and innocent 15-year-old, bouncing around at house parties to Are You Gonna Be My Girl? Where did these wrinkles come from? Why is my back killing me? This album stirs up so much nostalgia in me every time I listen to it, and I’m always instantly transported back to exact moments in time with each song.  

This was my first time visiting The Night Cat, and upon entry into the hazy, red-lit room with its mismatched vintage light shades and killer vibe, I was instantly impressed. The stage is actually positioned in the middle of the room, giving the audience a full 360-degree experience of the talented humans who grace its stage. Booth style seating borders the perimeter of the room with a bar on the outskirts to boot. And for a few lucky ones there were small tables positioned on certain sides of the stage. I cut a few sweet laps to get a feel for the venue whilst the crowd was still slowly rolling in, and I soon found myself a nice little position side of stage and super close to the action.

Local Melbourne trio Neon Goblin kicked off the night and with their heavy bass lines and psychedelic sound, they set the mood for the evening. The crowd were suitably impressed with their set, and it was then time to bid these guys farewell. 

The room gradually filled to its capacity of approximately 500 bodies for this sold-out show, and the crowd was starting to come alive in anticipation of Jet’s arrival. I was also interested to note the average age range of the punters there. Yes, I may be in denial about my own age, but I would say the crowd started at around 35 and up. Surprisingly a huge chunk of people would’ve been around my parents’ age. A true indication that music can touch any heart, of any age.  

The lights dimmed and the intro music was turned up a notch – here come Jet.

Oh. My. God. My body was covered in goosebumps as they took command of the stage and flew straight into their hit Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Now it’s no secret that being a rockstar and the life that that entails can take its toll on the body and speed up the aging process. But is it possible that Jet have discovered the fountain of youth as they are looking better than ever. Just like a fine wine. Being so close to the stage that I could see the sweat on their upper lips, I know it wasn’t just an optical illusion of smoke, mirrors and good lighting.  

The crowd were completely amped right from the first note and the energy that was emanating around me never faulted once. We were treated to She’s A Genius followed by Black Hearts. I loved that they threw in some other hits before they got right down to business – getting into their Get Born album track for track. Last Chance kicked off the album, followed by their first smash hit Are You Gonna Be My Girl. Yes, Jet, I will be your girl. There was not one person who wasn’t dancing or singing along by this point, as we were then led into the cheeky hit for all the DJ haters – Rollover DJ.

It was then time to kick it back a notch with the slow ballad Look What You’ve Done, which also had the crowd providing backing vocals. Get What You Need was the next cab off the rank, and with drummer/vocalist Chris Cester sadly missing in action due to family reasons, his brother and frontman of the band, Nic, took the lead vocals on this song and unsurprisingly smashed it.  Nic then invited Melbourne-based singer/songwriter/musician Andre Warhurst on stage to join them for Move On. Bass player Mark Wilson traded in his bass for the harmonica for this track, and his kick-ass playing further convinced me that I really want to teach myself how to play this little free reed wind instrument.  

Guitarist Cameron Muncey then took the reins on lead vocals and slowed the pace with Radio Song. Get Me Outta Here fired the energy back up again, and then this little Cold Hard Bitch was “shakin’ her hips, and it was all that I needed” to hear my most favourite Jet song. I wasn’t the only one loving this song, as I spotted a keen crowd surfer floating along the top of the crowd before swiftly disappearing back into the pack. The beauty of the stage being completely accessible from all sides meant that from my vantage point at the side of stage, I was privy to the band’s view of the audience. It really is such a warm feeling seeing those extra die-hard fans right at the front of the stage emanating pure awe and singing every single word to every single song, just as hard and as passionately as the band. 

Come Around Again & Lazy Gun started to slowly round out the set, before it came to a close with the heartbreaking song Timothy, with Cameron back on lead vocals. With its melancholy melody and gut-wrenching lyrics, the song hits hard and the audience absorbed every moment. Nic then acknowledged that it was the point in the show where they would pretend to leave the stage and do an encore. Rather than doing that though, the band exited the stage and left Nic to do a beautiful acoustic rendition of Shine On. The rest of the band came back to join us with Andre Warhurst in tow, and we got to preview their new song Little Fish, which was extremely catchy and had me trying to sing along despite never hearing it before. Jet then decided to Bring It On Back before succumbing to multiple requests during the show to “get on your feet” and Rip It Up.  

Jet have etched themselves into the Australian songbook of legendary rock bands, and their live shows do not disappoint. I have been to hundreds of gigs in my life of all different sizes, but this was by far one of the best. As I ventured home I was still buzzing and was wondering how the hell I was going to get any sleep with this intoxicating music high still running through me. The band were tight and Nic’s vocals are still in absolute tip-top shape. Their presence is subtly commanding and from the first beat, they own that stage and every single soul watching them. All I can say is Jet are better than ever, and if you nabbed tickets to this tour then you will be in for an absolutely awesome ride! And for those that missed out, my condolences on missing a shit-hot show.  

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