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[Review] Nothing But Thieves @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 27/04/2023

Review By Emily White

A truly iconic frontman is the cornerstone of all successful rock bands, and Nothing But Thieves’ vocalist Conor Mason fully embraced this role as he offered the audience a peak into his soul this Friday night. Making a triumphant return after a five-year Aussie hiatus, it was abundantly clear that fans of Nothing But Thieves are as loyal as they come – selling out their one-night-only Welcome To The DCC World Tour at The Fourm.

Sudden pounding drums began to fill the room as the heartrate of the crowd abruptly increased. Melbourne punk trio CLAMM took to the stage to warm up the sea of rock enthusiasts. The three-piece band’s incredibly tight metal riffs repeated in waves, followed by minimal, yet fierce vocals from guitarist Jack Summers. The songs following themes of rage and frustration in navigating ‘the nature of society today’, making them a highly relatable outlet for today’s young people.

The members of CLAMM are standout musicians individually – bassist Stella Rennes with her power stance and immovable glare, and drummer Miles Harding being the backbone of the tight and increasingly-paced songs. The band’s presence reached its peak in their final track – a complete blackout of the stage being decorated by individual golden spotlights – the glam-rock look that remained persistent as the set came to a close. The unique and impromptu signature sound left the crowd in an ominous buzz as Nothing But Thieves took control of the stage.

The Forum lit up as fans of the UK alt-rock band began to clap and cheer, far before they were set to take the stage. Having released their last record Moral Panic in 2021, and recently announcing their fourth album Dead Club City, this tour had a plethora of songs to get through in a seventy-five-minute set.

Sudden flashes of red strobe lit up the crowd as the band confidently wondered towards the stage. A total treat for the eyes, it was hard to know where to place my gaze as the five-piece band thundered directly into their first hit single, Futureproof. Front-man Conor Mason was born for the stage, belting through his unmistakably iconic vocal range with arms outspread – the band’s movement so fluid, slipping seamlessly between instruments mid-song.

The show powered along with hit after hit, each with slower paced verses building tension towards a soaring chorus.  It was impossible to stand still, with every track bringing the energy of an encore performance. The tight-knit grunge feel flowed directly into Is Everybody Going Crazy?, where choppy-sounding guitar met similarly paced lighting, creating a surreal and glamorous experience. Unlike their peers, the beats and melodies in Nothing But Thieves’ songs are so uniquely unpredictable, throwing you off balance at every opportunity.

A highlight of the band’s discography is the heart wrenching lyrics often of self-hatred, and the pains that come with life and love.  Lyricist and guitarist Joe Langridge-Brown is an absolute genius when it comes to the relatability of his words. The heart-breaking rock ballad Real Love Song was a standout; the mic being flipped on the crowd leaving every voice screaming ‘I cried so hard I died sad. Losing all that’s making me human inside sad’. There was no concept of a fourth wall for the entirety of the show, with the harmonies and backing vocals being a joint effort between the band and audience.

‘It’s such a fucking pleasure to be back’, Conor yelled as the house lights illuminated the faces that had come to see him. His crowd work so naturally comfortable, we may have been let in on a secret or two that night… one being the announcement of a 2024 Australian tour!

Soda was fan-favourite, a song filled with insane falsetto verses, bleeding into heavy, painfully relatable belting choruses; ‘I don’t wanna be myself, just wanna be someone else’. These words were sung by every person in the audience, with the band seeming so comfortably unphased by their impact. A beautiful, ominous instrumental played as Conor exited the stage, feeling spacey and reminiscent of an extended Pink Floyd guitar solo.

Upon the front-man’s return the band played out the night with all their greatest hits, filled with improvised jams and synchronicity of movement in the crowd. Golden lights filled the space, the warmth being felt right through to the back corners of the venue. Particles, a personal favourite felt like the perfect way to send out the night; ‘If I need to rearrange my particles, I will for you’. But it didn’t end there.

City Haunts, a new unreleased track off the upcoming album was teased to the crowd as ‘the best one we’ve done by far’, and it was truly spectacular. Fans can expect an upbeat, sultry, glam rock feel on the album – so totally fresh and likely to be accompanied by even more chilling live sets. 

The night played out on a high, with tracks including Unperson and Welcome to the DCC leaving the pit jumping uncontrollably to the heavy beats and rusty guitar. Ending the night with Impossible, the band’s harmonies paired with the crowd under gorgeous sweeping lights is an experience that cannot be replicated – perhaps not until their return down-under in 2024.

You can catch Nothing But Thieves on the final leg of their 2023 Australian tour, playing Groovin’ The Moo in Qld and WA next week!

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[Review] Pentatonix @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne 26/03/2023

Review By Emily White

The beauty of traditional a cappella bands is something so rarely seen in the modern music landscape, so to have the world renowned, Grammy Award winning quintet, Pentatonix grace Aussie shores this week was an absolute treat. Pentatonix: The World Tour gives fans of the band a chance to hear their favourite pop style arrangements and vocal harmonies live – and they did not disappoint.

Warming up the crowd, a gorgeous young woman made her way to a standalone mic. The breakout artist Bella Taylor Smith, winner of the 10th season of the Voice Australia, is a pop-folk singer-songwriter whose vocals can only be described as angelic. Bella is so beautifully humble in her performance style – directly asking permission of the crowd for her to ‘sing (you) a few songs’. Typically, pop singers will hold back their highest, most impressive notes for the peak of a song, but when Bella came out with her first track belting out a range not far from the vocals of Beyoncé – we could tell we were in for a treat.

Accompanied by her husband Josh on acoustic guitar, Bella took the audience on a journey, from her time on The Voice, to her strong faith, and recent marriage. Bella is a familiar character, whose stories are told so passionately on stage particularly through her natural movement and comfortable stage presence.

Performing her winner’s single from The Voice, Higher, Bella stood self-harmonising under a single spotlight. Although simplistic in its design, this set could be mistaken for a fully-produced album – with the acoustic guitar feeling as well rounded as an entire band. A sure highlight of the performance was an exquisite cover of Ave Maria by Beyoncé; the singer’s blind audition track which changed her life in an instant. Spine tingling and pure magic, this song truly showcases all that Bella has to offer – hitting whistle tones that felt as though they stopped time for a second.

Bella’s set boasted so many highlights for a thirty-minute act. Covering songs by the great Elton John and Cyndi Lauper, as well as introducing her new single A Long Time Coming, the audience was left clapping and cheering in unison, the perfect way to lead into welcoming the world’s most famous a cappella band.

The stage went dark as the word ‘Music’ flickered on and off. Going into this show, my only real exposure to a cappella extended to the 2012 film Pitch Perfect, and for anyone else in the same boat as me, we were about to have our minds blown by the pure magic of Pentatonix.

Reimagining and redefining a cappella… it was impossible not to feel full body shivers listening to the angelic hums and melodic choir as the group burst onto the stage with their original pop single Sing. The band consisting of members Mitch Grassi, Scott Hoving, Kirstin Maldonado, Kevin Olusola and Matt Sallee has a way of being so individually unique and diverse, whilst also perfectly complimenting each other both visually and vocally.

It was impossible to look away from the stage, with the two-hour set being so high energy, brightly coloured, and almost childlike in the best way. The beautifully designed, clean geometric lines of the stage complimenting the bold colours of the costuming, then paired with tight choreography gives the band an early 2000’s feel. The glossy, Vegas-style showmanship is such a unique way of breathing new life into already established pop hits – steering Pentatonix away from simply being a cover band.

Na Na Na is another of the group’s hits, which had the audience becoming a part of the band so seamlessly, just as if the songs had been written for the stage. Showcasing the full range of tight harmonies and crystal-clear beats, the instrumentation of their voices could easily be mistaken for a five-piece band.

A recurring item in the show was the connection of light with movement. Having such high-production value was hypnotic for the crowd, whose eyes were glued to the stage. The same could be said for what was arguably the highlight of the show – the group’s cover of The Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. There are no words to describe how beautiful this song is, which was only taken to a new high by the deeply layered vocals. The lyrics could be felt by all who were present; the arena so silent you could hear a pin drop.

The balanced mix between covers and originals was a great way of keeping the show fresh. The band’s original song Love Me When I Don’t was one of these moments where we were able to hear music so refreshing – filled with gorgeous uplifting lyrics about love and friendship, ‘you always know how to love me when I don’t’. This part of the night also made the stadium into a choir of its own, with different sections of the seating bank being directed to sing a particular note. After this, I’m sure anyone who hasn’t heard the band’s original music will be desperate to hear their albums from start to end.

A very special moment of the night was when the band decided to film a video for their TikTok, rehearsing the crowd’s harmonies and phone light choreography to Beyoncé’s Ave Maria, which saw Bella Taylor Smith return to the stage. The fourth wall is truly non-existent at a Pentatonix concert – with everyone present being just as integral to the show as the core band members.

Taking a short break from the a capella, the group’s beatboxer Kevin graced the crowd with a solo act, showcasing his unbelievable ‘Celloboxing’. Rearranging classical pieces of music including Beethoven's fifth and Bach’s Cello Suite no.1 in G major, the music was stunning and unlike anything I’d heard before – which the crowd obviously agreed with as the short set was met with a standing ovation.

When you’d think the best had past, Pentatonix was the gift that kept on giving. Changing into more mellow, monochrome costumes, the cello stayed put as the band moved into an a capella cover of Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Matched with angelic harmonies and sweeping golden spotlights, this was an absolute masterpiece. On a similar note, the band’s cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen silenced the venue. This kind of music is something that would be expected at the gates of heaven, but we were lucky enough to witness on a Sunday night in Melbourne.

The final seven minutes of the show were filled as any seven-minute finale should be – with Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. One final reminder of the pure talent of the band, and their ability to imitate any instrument at all. The music of Pentatonix is so sublime, it transcends age, race and religion – pulling in mixed crowds from all over the world. The last twelve years has been so unbelievably successful, but I would be willing to place a bet that this is just the beginning.

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[Review] nothing, nowhere. @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 12/02/2023

February twelfth marked American hardcore emo rap band nothing,nowhere’s debut Melbourne concert; a room not just sold out, but filled to the brink with diehard fans ready for a night of musical mayhem. As the air filled with booze and whiffs of fruity vapour reminiscent of a grungy dive-bar, there was a growing buzz of built-up energy that was set to explode.

Touring Australia with his most recent self-produced album Trauma Factory (2021), front man Joseph Mulherin’s lyrics deal with personal issues of mental health, a highly relatable topic for his young audience. With such personal connection to the music, it’s no wonder fans of nothing,nowhere were so eagerly awaiting to share the night with their idol.

Warming up the crowd was New Zealander, indie singer-songwriter, Lontalius (Eddie Johnston). Wondering onto the stage, well dressed in ironed pants and leather shoes, the alt-pop musician plugged in his MacBook and began to tune his guitar. Appearing relaxed and nonchalant, this felt like the beginning of a street performance, a one-man busking style show – this was until a heavy humming electronic bass kicked in, paired with a single spotlight shadowing across his face. The first track Comfortable boasted a gorgeous oceanic aesthetic, playing relaxed guitar chords, and singing out emotional crackling vocals ‘I said I loved you and I’ve never meant it more’.

Lontalius’ set felt exceptionally human, all his lyrics so raw, and almost intrusive. It’s a strange feeling to be let into someone’s life on such a personal level without previously knowing them. The velvety chords continued, the bass kicking in without warning – such sounds forcing the heart to jump so uniquely.

 Someone Will Be There For You showcased a more layered style of music, where if you closed your eyes, a one-man band would not be what you’d imagine. With the crowd repeating ‘someone will be there for you’, a beautiful shadow cast across his face giving us a glimpse, but not providing the full picture – a metaphor for the music which let us see hints of such raw emotion, but leaves gaps for the imagination to conclude.

I Walked Right Into It was another highlight, with a stunningly moving guitar solo during the bridge which left the once lively room in silence, the tension building throughout the song. Lontalius’ performance was minimalistic, yet so well rounded. The heavy buzz of the electronic bass playing through from start to end rattled the bones of the venue, preparing the crowd for what was to come.

The room grew silent as an ambient hum suffocated the room, the sound increasing in intensity, and so too did the heartrates of the crowd. The band emerged from the darkness and before you could take a breath and soak it all in, the music had begun. Hurtling into the first track with a heavy kickdrum and lightning-speed metal guitar, CYAN1DE did not hold back. Front man and singer/rapper Joe providing his signature style of screamo vocals – it was unimaginable that he was going to maintain such power and angst for the entire set. From the first track it was clear the fans of nothing,nowhere were not the regular emo crowd, but a heavy cult-following of young people who impressively knew each and every word of the hard-hitting, emotion filled raps.  

An ongoing structure of the band’s music is the lower intensity, controlled rap verses, in the lead up to viscous metal choruses. The three-piece band consisting of a drummer and two electric guitarists was so incredibly tight, not missing a beat the entire show. It was also abundantly clear that the drumer lead the tracks, with the volume and velocity being unlike anything I had heard before.

pretend did not stray from the structure of rap verses in the lead up to a huge chorus, the crowd chanting ‘tell me you need me even if you don’t’ as heavy strobe filled the room, lighting up the sold-out audience to see them moving in unison, the music acting as a puppeteer. The next song nightmare marked the first time the band addressed the crowd – not to say ‘hello’ or to make small talk but ordering them to ‘fucking jump’. Not a soul disobeyed. nothing,nowehere’s live shows are built upon the energy of their audience, the collaborative effort making for an experience that cannot be replicated on a studio album.

The night played out like a rollercoaster of adrenaline, the highs exceeding levels I once thought possible, and the contrasting lows leaving the crowd wanting more. Part way through the emo hit love or chemistry, the music abruptly came to a stop, Joe yelling ‘Melbourne are you still with us? I want you to prove it right now!’ This was a call to action for the crowd to take their energy to the next level – and they did not hold back. lights (4444), one of their slower-paced tracks filled the room with an ethereal feel, being backed by the sound of water droplets. However, the lyrics did not follow suit, providing the signature sound and grunge sentiment screaming ‘I don’t give a fuck if you hate me’.

The night so far had been highly performative and based on the emo-hardcore persona of the band; so, when Joe bought his girlfriend Hillary on stage and asked the crowd to sing Happy Birthday, it was a beautiful, human moment that I’m sure the fans feel so honoured to have shared. Even within all the chaos and commotion, it was clear this group of individuals shared a lot of love for one another.

If pulled apart and digested as intended, there are many nothing,nowhere songs that are filled with positive themes. Pieces of you and fake friend were a break from the darkness, anthems about letting go of your worries about what others think of you. It was at this stage that the band became more a part of the crowd, jumping taped sections of the stage, and climbing up barricades to be fully emersed in the tail-end of the show.

Clarity in Kerosene was clearly a fan favourite, everyone with their phones in the air trying to capture the moment on video, the crowd singing the agonising lyrics in unison ‘I hope you choke in your sleep, while you’re dreaming of me’. Hopes Up was performed beautifully in compete darkness, being lit up only by the speckles of smartphone flashlights – replicating stars in a night sky. Joe’s movement across the stage remained so seamless, it is clear these are his songs and his words.

It was at this point of the night that the band had the room’s actions at their fingertips – and they were about to cause some havoc. Their newest single M1SERY_SYNDROME, is rife with gorgeous repetitive guitar riffs hiding behind the violent chaos of the drums and bass. The heat of the music physically manifested its way into the crowd, with the force of a thousand bodies surging forward. A wall of death formed in the middle of the crowd, and at that point all control was lost. It is a rare occurrence to see such uninhibited, 90s-style moshing in today’s music scene, but this concert saw bodies flying through space – a sense of bliss in delirium.

As quickly as they took to the stage, the band was off. But from the wings you could hear Joe murmur ‘one more song you say?’, hammer was an invitation for the crowd to give off every last ounce of energy they had; the crowd soaked with sweat and short of breath. nothing,nowhere departed the stage for the last time in the blink of an eye, the whole event feeling like a dream – or rather a gorgeous nightmare.

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[Review] City and Colour @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 09/02/2023

It’s been seven long years since Canadian, alt-rock singer-songwriter Dallas Green last graced Australian shores, and it was no wonder his one-night-only at The Forum was filled to the brink. Being recognisable to Aussie audiences for his solo venture City and Colour, this was set to be a triumphant return – a night of some of the strongest rock instrumentals layered with signature heart-wrenching lyricism.

Dallas’ audiences are unmistakable. Humble and kind, yet visibly so passionate about the music. Entering the space felt safe, calm and familiar – quite abnormal for a rock show – with the buzz of individuals reconnecting over a shared love of live music, and a heavy passion for rock.

Many artists on a solo venture will try to distance themselves from their past, but having Dooms Children open the show was the perfect decision. Old bandmate and much loved ‘brother’ Wade MacNeil’s solo project is heavy psychedelia, with a hint of blues and hard-hitting lyricism – and the crowd adored it.

As the five-piece band of old rockers entered the stage, you could tell they’d been here before. The quiet confidence, steady beat, and emotive guitar riffs felt grounded and calming, before suddenly being hit with a surge of husky vocals chanting haunting lyrics. The entire set boasted a highly cinematic feel – with the broad emotions of band being easily read, and exceedingly relatable.

Dooms Children’s set closely mimicked being pulled under vicious waves, for every time you’d come up for air, an entirely new and consuming sound would follow. There was something so fresh about the psychedelic feel of the contrasting sounds between the instruments; and the dimly lit, slow moving spotlights and smoke added to the dazed and confused sensation that followed the songs.

Psyche Hospital Blues was a standout, with distorted keys and mumbled vocals creating the signature psychedelic sound. Each individual instrument could be heard and stood perfectly alone, but when brought together with the band created something totally moving. The whole set connected perfectly like one long film.

Following was several songs from the breakout, self-titled album. Skeleton Beach, a calm and melodic tune showcased some gorgeous harmonies, whilst Wade worked the crowd to the palm of his hand – smirking proudly as the lyrics were being sung out with such passion. Friend of the Devil closed out the set, filled with recognisable descending scales, creating a sense of security before throwing the crowd off with ambiguous, seemingly random notes and lyrics. ‘A friend of the devil is a friend of mine’ being chanted repetitively, with steadily increasing tempo backing the drawn-out rock jam. Being so brazenly comfortable with his guitar and his vocals, Dooms Children is sure to be a talking point throughout the rock community for years to come.

The tension was palpable as The Forum drew quiet, craving the main act of the night, City and Colour.  With the backing band returning, front man Dallas Green made his humble beginning, with ‘thanks for being here’ being the only words needed – as the music to come would speak for itself.

Kicking off with Meant to Be, the slow-moving autumn colours paired with acoustic guitar and sublime vocals – the crowd enthralled. From the outset Dallas’ vocal range was astonishing, the voice that has cemented him as one of the greats of rock music. The song’s intensity increased steadily, mimicking a heavy heartbeat and directing the unconscious movement of the crowd. 

Moving uninterrupted from one song to the next, Living in Lightning was paired with an enchanting ceiling of purple light, fitting for the slow and steady beat, overlays of gorgeous bass riffs, and heavy ringing electric guitar. Hypnotic, repetitive keys moved steadily into his next song. ‘When I think of fates worse than death, all I can think of was something you said’, Thirst details an intimate relationship, and the vulnerabilities in self-criticism. This universal feeling could be seen on the faces of the band as they put their heart and soul into the jarring, heavy rock ballad.

The music never ceased, as the band rolled into the sultry, bass-driven fan-favourite, Northern Blues. A complete drop of light between verse and chorus providing a visual representation of the lyrics. Strangers was the point of the night where it was clear the audience were becoming totally immersed in the music, almost hypnotised by the synchronicity of the band. Every hit of the kick drum prompting the crowd’s uninhibited movement. 

After a half hour of interminable music, Dallas took to the mic to address the crowd. ‘This song is about trying to be kinder to each other’… his message is clear, nothing further needed to be said. We Found Each Other in the Dark was angelic, and a highlight of the evening.

A complete change of pace came with the emotionally charged, guitar heavy, Weightless. Paired with piercing red strobe, the ironic weight of the song rocked the venue with such velocity, building towards an abrupt blackout. ‘I’m tired of everyone saying I’m this sad motherfucker… I’m just singing about what’s real’ – These words reigned so true as Hello, I’m in Delaware provided a moving commentary on fame and living life on the road. The emotion of Dallas’ music is not only drawn from the content of his lyrics, but in the authenticity they are delivered with.

Drawing towards the end of the set, Underground, the band’s latest record was welcomed with great reception. A new sound for the group, being highly layered and multidimensional, filled the room with a fresh, uplifted impression. A change of pace, Sorrowing Man packed with intimate jams left the crowd without a word, but with the hum of a final note ringing out – there was a thirst for more as the band departed the stage.

When City and Colour returned moments later for a generous encore, the energy hit a new high with the crowd suddenly surging forward, being drawn into the final songs of the night like a moth to a flame. The mainly acoustic encore provided space for the fans to sing side-by-side with the band. Comin’ Home and The Girl were highly nostalgic and imprinted on the hearts of his fans, as evident in every word and harmony that bounced from Dallas to the crowd, and then came bounding right back at him.

The stage lit up for the final song, the audience in clear view of the band. Sleeping Sickness left us with what did not feel like a ‘goodbye’, but a ‘see you soon’. A beautiful way of sending out what had been a breathtaking night. Above all else, the superb lyricism and lighting, and the adoring sea of fans – this night was about the music, which can only be described as perfect.

You can still catch City and Colour one more time for this tour in Brisbane.

Monday 13th Feb 2023 @ The Tivoli, Brisbane

Tickets available here

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[Review] girl in red @ 170 Russell, Melbourne 25/01/2023

girl in red’s live concert was far from a one-woman-show – it was the unwavering energy of the fans, the band, and Marie herself, that when combined created the perfect storm. ‘Do you listen to girl in red?’ – the colloquialism that has become part of mainstream queer culture was truly bought to life with the night boasting hand-drawn tattoos, candy necklaces and many sets of locked lips. 

To warm up the eagerly awaiting crowd, many of whom had braved the concrete outside ‘Billboard’ nightclub for longer than ten hours, was Betty Taylor; the Sunshine Coast duo whose music has, until now, been an underground secret. The light blue wash over the two freestanding mics set the scene for the beautifully haunting harmonies that were to come. For the Indie pop rock band, fronted by Sophie Patrick and Kayla Smart, this was their first performance outside of their home state, a one-off, stripped back acoustic show. It would have been impossible to tell this was a first for the pair, as they delivered perfect synchronicity in both their vocals, and guitar accompaniment.

Lyrically, Betty Taylor was the perfect opening act for the young, queer crowd, as they sung heart-wrenching lyrics of love and loss. Lyrics such as ‘fuck you for forever hurting me’, sung in such smooth, calming tones felt straight out of a romance film, or music for walking in the rain. The heartache was universal.

Including snippets of relatable chit-chat with the crowd, the pair moved into Glitter and Bullshit, a song ‘about a man’, which was closely followed by a member of the crowd responding with ‘fuck men’. The interaction remained raw and playful from beginning to end.

The remainder of the set persisted as gorgeously modest, with dreamy, husky vocals and retro feel of electric guitar. Stalling, the first and only released Betty Taylor song left the crowd enchanted by the odd nostalgia, and the hypnotic way in which the pair moved with such synchronicity – as if they just knew how the music needed to be expressed in the body. Sweeping lights closed out the performance, illuminating the beautiful sea of humans who were now ready to share an extraordinary night together. 

 The heat of a thousand bodies grew from the back of the venue as Norwegian, indie pop singer-songwriter Marie Ulven Ringheim made her way to the stage. The opening night of the Australian leg of the If I Could Make It Go Quiet Tour, was about to kick off with an entirely sold-out show. The screams of the crowd were deafening as she made her way onto the stage, repetitively mumbling ‘Melbourne’. The room began to silence, adoring fans glued to her every move.

It all began with a violent hit of the drums – and suddenly the room erupted into absolute chaos. The deep, steady bass line of You Stupid Bitch rocking the room like a heartbeat working overtime. The indie-rock hit was the perfect way to kick off what was going to be a wild night, reminiscent of a 90s grunge band paired with deeply relatable lyrics about struggles with sexuality and mental health. The high energy of a room filled with passionate young people paired with frantic flashing lights was suggestive of the underlying themes of manic mental health. Marie left every piece of herself on stage from the absolute outset. Screaming the lyrics in unison with her fans and jumping until you could see the sweat rolling down her face, girl in red is a spectacle born for the stage.

It would be remiss not to mention the heat of the five-piece backing band that accompanied the entire length of the show. All just as high-energy as Marie herself, their musicality was both grunge and carefree, yet professional and melodic. The conclusion of the first song began what was a running theme of the show – a juxtaposing jump between feverish performance and casual conversation. The contrast of her hilarious rambles in a dimly lit room and the rockstar present during the songs showed the versatility of girl in red’s performance and the likely reason behind the passion of her adoring fans.

Following the energy of the first song, girls did not disappoint. Hearing the certified gold single live for the first time would have been a long time coming for this room of young queer women. The unashamed lyrics dealing with coming to terms with sexuality are a breath of fresh air in today’s heteronormative society.

A beautiful change of pace, ‘.’ was played largely acoustically, with a kick drum accompaniment. An absolute stand-out lyrically, the words ‘It’s been so hard ever since you broke my heart’ are universal and were clearly shared by all who were lucky enough to be singing them. During We Fell in Love in October there was a deepening of connection between Marie and the crowd as the room fell silent, mumbling ‘my girl, my girl, you will be my girl’. To have a room of a thousand people at your fingertips is the work of a true artist.

A change of pace came with the next set of songs as we were instructed to ‘pretend it’s sunny outside and we’re at a festival’; and it did indeed feel that way with everyone giving themselves fully to the music during I’ll Call You Mine, and the following ‘song about being horny’ hornylovesickness. The obedience of the crowd in waving their arms in unison and singing every lyric was all in the lead up to the final portion of the show.

The song Serotonin was beautifully poetic, as the crowd was filled head to toe with the hormone; a complete contradiction to the lyrics ‘I’m running low on serotonin’. At this point Marie was ready to literally throw herself into the crowd, stage diving into the arms of her fans during bad idea! – bringing a level of energy to the tracks that cannot be replicated without this high level of interaction.

The set closed out with midnight love and Did You Come? before the last hurrah; a wall of death during i wanna be your girlfriend.  Marie left the crowd with all they could have wanted, jumping into the mosh pit and dancing through the entire song alongside her adoring fans, who she then soaked with her drink bottle before a well-deserved mic drop.

Being covered in water, sweat and copious amounts of glitter – a night at girl in red is one which audiences will take home with them… literally.


Be sure to catch girl in red in their final Australian performances at Laneway festival:

Brisbane Feb 4

Sydney Feb 5

Adelaide Feb 10

Melbourne Feb 11

Perth Feb 12

Tickets available here

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[Review] Grace Petrie @ Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 19/01/2023

Crowds lounging on the carpet of a band room is a site rarely seen, more the happenings of a local festival, or a Day on the Green. The atmosphere leading up to Grace Petrie’s sold-out Melbourne show was certainly a comforting one, with bodies replicating the scene of a lazy Sunday afternoon at home. The cult following of the self-proclaimed ‘sad lesbian folk’ musician had clearly gathered in Melbourne previously, as it felt that each person in the room knew the words and rhythms to every song that was to come.

The night kicked off with a very fitting support, local blues musician Georgia Rodgers. The one-woman show boasted a sultry, 60s aesthetic over a red-washed stage. The contrast between her unashamed, typically self-deprecating humour, and the powerhouse vocals that were to follow was such a breath of fresh air. Simultaneously providing a nostalgic feel using steady bass notes paired with a deep, husky voice – somewhat reminiscent of a mellow Elvis track.

Georgia’s quirky confidence played on through the set, as the instrumental depth of the songs began to surge. If you had closed your eyes, you would picture at least three guitarists on stage as she continued to layer stunning riffs over one another, leaving the audience in awe and an almost trance-like state. Her lyricism was a treat for the ears, as very literal storytelling was paired with tongue-in-cheek play on words; ‘I just need one line… to say to you’.

Watching Grace Petrie for the first time was like reuniting with an old friend; her stories so familiar. A smoky orange state filled the stage, as Grace nonchalantly made her way into the light – the adoring fans standing still, itching to hear the message she had come to share. Accompanied by composer Ben Moss, this duo act was set to deliver two hours of thought-provoking, nostalgic folk anthems.

Bounding straight into upbeat protest anthem If There’s a Fire in Your Heart, the passion of the crowd was enough to send shivers down my spine – chanting ‘to build a world on peace and love, it’s never too late’. Torn between wanting to dance the night away and sitting still to admire the beautiful poetry – this track took my mind to an Irish Pub, the room smelling of beer and the fellowship between everyone present. The seamless duo made it impossible not to be moved by the beautiful and purposeful lyricism, coupled with the sounds of traditional folk fiddle and melodeon.

The pair did not shy away from socialist themes, however songs like Storm to Weather provided not only a deep and meaningful message, but also a beacon of hope singing ‘we will dance again next year’ in reference to COVID-19 lockdowns and isolation.

Grace described her music on many occasions as ‘angry’ and ‘sad’, being – in her opinion – the two pillars of folk music. However, this was not the case with the next song Ivy, a beautiful story of family, accompanied by the harmonies of Ben Moss.

LGBT themes can be difficult to write about in a genuine way, but this is one of the many ways Grace connects with her followers. Being a largely queer audience, the relatability of Grace’s life experience is a comfort for all that listen to her music – this was so abundantly clear as she had the room in stitches over The Last Man on Earth. To be a true role model, in Grace’s case, is to not hold back on themes of relationships, self-acceptance, and personal growth.

Sturdy Oak, a solo piece by Ben Moss was a breath of fresh air from a male musician – a poem about issues of masculinity, wrapped in the imagery of a metaphor about trees. This portion of the show was a change of pace, the story of being a man, from the perspective of a man; a song so beautifully written you could have heard a pin drop in the audience as he bridged the gap between masculinity and the (almost) all-female crowd.

Running with the theme of poor leadership, the music came to a halt during a beautiful rewrite of The Old Man’s Tale by Ian Campbell, poetry delivered in acapella style. The silence in the room was unlike anything I had experienced at shows in the past. The pain and anguish in Grace’s voice was extraordinarily haunting.

Getting the sense that something magical was about to take place, the feminist LGBT anthem Farewell to Welfare did not disappoint. This stunning, upbeat, Celtic-style song, paired with sombre lyricism was gut-wrenching to hear, yet relatable to majority of the room. This show although minimalistic at a glance, was anything but in its messaging. Meanwhile in Texas was another stand-out moment. A song about abortion rights paired with the almost meditative state of the crowd was terribly bittersweet.

IKEA and Black Tie began wrapping up the night on a more positive note. The message shared about growing up and being exactly who you are is invaluable, particularly for the young women present. Combined with cheeky rhymes and crowd participation, this show had hit its emotional and thematic peak. With the crowd at her fingertips the show closed out with The Losing Side, an upbeat singalong encore.

Spending the night with Grace Petrie and Ben Moss felt like a conversation, a friendship, and an unconditional love that is rare in today’s online-based musical culture. With every important conversation bleeding directly into her next song, a night spent with Grace Petrie is one that should not be missed.

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