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[Review] Teddy Swims @ Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, 13/07/2024

The Melbourne weather let us down tonight, we almost had to swim to Margaret Court Arena, but the soggy trip was well worth it. Teddy Swims was amazing. The crowd were a mixture of mainly 20’s to well in their 60’s, all waiting patiently as the night opened with Meg Mac.

For those not in the know Meg Mac (Megan Sullivan McInerney) is an Australian singer/songwriter who tonight is backed by her sister Hannah and guitarist/keyboard player Pete. Meg appears on stage all dressed in goth black and shining silver space boots. She started to sing and I was surprised by her vocals. She has a clear and smokey sounding voice with a touch of country twang. Meg prowls up and down the stage while singing with her obviously well trained voice, but she is not afraid to share her spotlight with her sister Hannah who also processes a quality voice. The blend of the sisters’ voices is a joy to listen to. Meg needs no gimmicks in her stage performance as the quality of the lyrics and music are more than enough.

The crowd though here to see Teddy were very attentive and appreciative of the talented support act. Meg performed 8 songs and my favourite was a Bill Withers song Grandma’s Hands. It had a haunting vocal and was sung to a clapping beat with no guitar. Meg sang mainly originals that showed her strong songwriting talent. Hannah and Pete moved from one instrument to another and for a 3pce band they had a full Indi pop sound. Meg Mac was a great warm up for the main act. Jaten Collin Dimsdale AKA Teddy Swims is an American singer/songwriter. The Swims stands for Someone Who Isn’t Me Sometimes, which reportedly he doesn’t like anymore, but it’s too late to change.

The smoke-filled arena had the crowd singing to pre-recorded songs in anticipation for Teddy Swims and Freek Freely. Lights dim, stage is smokey and blue lit. Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool starts playing, red pulsating lights, jump, jump, jump and then they appear, Teddy Swims and his 5 piece band. Before the first note is played Teddy kicks off his shoes and they start playing Good Bye’s Been Good To You to raputous applause.

Teddy is all dressed in black complete with hat, sunglasses, big silver belt buckle and covered in tattoos. Teddy’s style does not give you any hint of the voice that lives inside. His background of heavy metal and influences of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Al Green have given him a voice which is full of power. Teddy has a cool tone and a voice full of emotion and soul, add in a touch of country and you have this amazing talent. He is a Southerner with swagger, but sounds like a raspy angel who’s powerful voice is capable of hitting the high notes.

He has a soft Southern drawl when he talks between songs, he is humorous, sweet and genuine. His love of Australia and his fans is evident when he speaks, and you feel like if he could, he would give every punter a big bear hug. Teddy’s band Freek Freely are filled with talented musicians, with Addy Maxwell and Jesse Hampton on guitar, Christian Griswald on bass, DeAndre Hemby on drums and Jaruis Hardge on keys and to quote Teddy “His best friends”. Each member is top class and we were treated to awesome solos on the drums, guitars and keys. Freek Freely is worth the ticket price and Teddy is the icing on the cake.

Teddy played an 18 song set, including 3 encore songs. In his 4th song of the night 911 he thanked the crowd for the reception he had received in Melbourne saying “no one at home loves me like you do”. Hands were in the air clapping and I have to mention two little girls (approximately 10 years old) in the seats on the side, they did not sit down, dancing with hands in the air all concert. Teddy even noticed and kept sending them love. Way too cute and great taste in music. All That Really Matters had huge cannon explosions which cover the standing crowd with streamers. Devil In A Dress has massive flame explosions and following song Simple Things, Teddy left stage for a beer, got a shoe from the crowd and did a shoey to chants of delight. “If I can’t sing tomorrow because of your foot fungus, it’s your fault” he joked with the crowd. Some Things I’ll Never Know were just Teddy on a stool and the keyboardist. Stripped back, his vulnerability and rawness gave me goosebumps. It was hauntingly beautiful. You’re Still The One by Shania Twain had the crowd in full voice and was dedicated to all mothers.

Teddy closed with his hits Lose Control and The Door with confetti explosions and a very satisfied crowd. Melbourne definitely gave Teddy Swims lots of love and a bear hug right back at him. Tonight was so much more than I was expecting, and I could have stayed all night listening to Teddy Swims and the Freek Freely.

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[Review] Teddy Swims @ Forum Theatre, Melbourne 25/08/2023

Review By Terri Nas

A mild August night in the city led me to the Forum Theatre last Friday, to go and experience Mr Teddy Swims for the first time. The Georgia-born singer is currently touring the world and blowing away audiences on his “I’ve Tried Everything But Therapy Tour”, accompanied by his 5-piece band Freak Freely. For the amount of gigs I’ve been to throughout my life, this old music lover is ashamed to admit that she has never been to a gig at the Forum so it was a night of firsts all round for me.

The 94-year-old theatre is a beauty in itself, with its iconic ceiling and clever lighting that has you believing you’re star gazing under a night sky, which instantly sets the tone as soon as you enter its doors. Being a recently initiated Teddy fan myself and given the diversity of his music style, I was interested to see the demographic of his audience that flock to his concerts were predominately aged between 30-50. 

There was a buzz throughout the crowd who were settling into position and  keenly anticipating having their socks blown off. To begin the sock-blowing process, young Aussie talent Mia Wray kicked off proceedings with a hauntingly beautiful acapella version of Work For Me. From the first note the packed theatre was in complete silence, mesmerised by the spell her incredible voice had cast on us. A collective case of hardcore goosebumps ensued, and this was one hell of a baptism into her music for me. Mia was absolutely brilliant and I’m now officially a huge fan and can’t get enough of her voice. Her entire set was incredible and included Never Gonna Be The Same, Evidence & Monster Brain.

The crowd was now officially warmed up and we didn’t have to wait long at all for Teddy to arrive. Thank god he opened the show with 911, because we needed the paramedics and fire brigade on standby for this shit-hot show. For The Rest Of Your Life followed in which Teddy promised to deliver an even better show, than when he was on Australian shores last year. When the iconic piano intro of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ started up, the crowd went crazy and they couldn’t help but sing along passionately to every single word of the 80’s rock classic.

Naughty Teddy then told the story of when he got into trouble with his girlfriend over some ‘compromising’ photos on his phone, which inspired What More Can I Say. At this point, the crowd just wanted to keep upping their Dose of the drug that is Teddy’s voice. Teddy has a voice that reverberates throughout your entire core and will evoke a range of emotions within you in just a few brief notes. Devil In A Dress was a crowd favourite, which was followed by Someone Who Loved You which was written about Teddy’s “stupid ass ex-girlfriend” as he so bluntly put it.

When the opening bars of Lose Control fired up, that’s exactly what the crowd did, and this song being one of my favourites had me feeling all the things and getting completely lost in the moment. Amazing was next on the list and whilst still trying to recover from its predecessor, this heartfelt love ballad planted a lump in my throat and had all the couples in the room holding each other just that little bit tighter. With it’s beautiful lyrics and his mesmerising voice, I was simultaneously melting through the floor whilst trying to hold my tears back throughout the song’s entirety.  

Teddy then went on to remind us that the most important people in the world are mothers, and that we need to always treasure them. His Shania Twain cover of Still The One-which is one of the songs responsible for thrusting him onto the world stage- was next so as he led into it he beautifully dedicated it to all the mamas out there. We were then treated to a new song off his latest album, Some Things I’ll Never Know, which is about relationships ending and not getting the closure you need to move forward. Teddy was visibly emotional and overwhelmed at the crowd’s response and couldn’t have been more appreciative and humbled by the love and support he received from his fans.  

A rendition of Happy Birthday was sung to his best friend and tour photographer who was hiding side of stage, and Teddy gushed about how wonderful his best friend is and added that he is blessed to have the best job in the world. Emotions were still running high, and he was still trying to recover and “get his shit together” as he led into All That Really Matters.

At the conclusion of the song Teddy disappeared and we were left wondering if we would get an encore as the crowd definitely weren’t done with him yet. He reappeared a few minutes later to let us know that he was “about to piss his pants” which was the main reason for his sudden departure. When the band fired up the first couple of bars of the classic Tennessee Whiskey, the crowd went mental and I myself, nearly had a heart attack as it is one of my most favourite songs. Teddy’s voice really is as smooth as Tennessee Whiskey and is so well-suited to this song, and the crowd couldn’t help but sing along to the smooth country love ballad.  

Teddy’s departing gift to us was his hit song Bed On Fire, which left the crowd on a complete high. Despite his husky soul voice with a dash of falsetto for good measure, he manages to adapt himself seamlessly into multiple genres like soul, pop, country & RnB, broadening his talent and his fanbase. His fun-loving but humble personality makes him appealing, and you can tell that he truly appreciates his fans and the love that they show him. It was a bloody brilliant gig all round and if you’ve never heard of Teddy Swims, then I implore you to jump onto a streaming app and check out his stuff because I can guarantee you definitely won’t be disappointed.  

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