Meg Mac @ Max Watt’s, 2nd October

Acclaimed songstress Meg Mac is back in Brisbane tonight for the final show of her Never Be tour. Having only been picked up by Unearthed last year, the 25-year-old powerhouse has impressively sold out every show on the tour, including four nights previously at The Corner in Melbourne.

Max Watt’s is scattered with punters who have come early to catch the support acts.  There is electricity in the air and from the balcony, I spy groups of fans eagerly waiting for the night to unfold.  After a few technical difficulties, Big Strong Brute (aka Paul Donoughue) delivers a slightly bland, monotonous first song. After the first few songs, however, his voice warms up to deliver some pretty big vocals for a little man.  The sound is guitar-driven, backed by heavy bass and rising drums. His harmonies are a little sketchy, but the emotional pull of the lyrics carries the performance through.

Brisbane guy Banff (Benjamin Forbes) is up next. The performance begins with some calming electric guitars which compliment his colourful vocals. As the set progresses, the sound becomes more electronic in songs like All Again. Highlights from the set include The Great Unknown and a cover of Midlake’s Roscoe.

The curtains close as the dark venue fills up to capacity. After an FKA-Twigs-filled intermission, they draw open to reveal warmly lit, smoky stage. Megan McInerney wafts onstage, dressed in her hallmark all-black with a wide-rimmed hat. Her dark caramel vocals are both bluesy and angelic, confidently crooning those beautifully familiar ‘na na na’s’.

Every Lie proves to be an early highlight, closely  followed by Turning and Grandma’s Hands. Mac’s harmonies with her backing vocalist Danielle O’Sullivan are something to hear; their vocals fit together like a warm handshake. New song Cages, or possibly October (she hasn’t decided on the name yet), proves to be a crowd pleaser and her cover of Jimmy Ruffin’s What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted is a charming moment of the night. Retiring to her piano mid-way through the performance, she creates a stillness in the room, performing a slow-burning ballad recently written with her housemate. As intimate as this is, it’s when she walks back into the spotlight that I realise what a captivating front-woman she is. Mac locks eyes with her audience as if she’s telling each of us an intimate story, theatrically throwing her body around the stage to the beat of the music.  The whole show resembles something of a circus performance: eclectic, powerful and expertly rehearsed. She finishes with Roll Up Your Sleeves and Never Be, before encoring with her Like A Version cover of Broods’ Bridges.

The music is powerful and confident, moving through points of chilling intensely to absolute joy. She’s alluring and aggressively passionate, while still being honest and graceful. With a trademark voice that only becomes more infectious with every song,  Meg Mac is a remarkable young performer, and no doubt destined for great things.

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