Meg Mac and Jarryd James @ The Tivoli, December 10
2015 has been a massive year of both Jarryd James and Meg Mac. Having only been discovered a short while ago, they’ve become two of the nations most sought after artists. Tonight, the two talents are teaming up to perform a special duo show for Brisbane fans at the Tivoli.
I do admit that entering the theatre tonight feels as though I’m walking into a sauna minus the naked people. With the rain pouring outside, the humidity brings a hot, sticky solution to the room. I grab a drink and head over to the upbeat sounds of Port Macquarie’s Kita Alexander. Tonight is her second official live show, though from the looks of things, it seems as though she’s being performing for years. With a group of faithful admires singing along to her, she effortlessly wafts around the stage. Her EP Like You Want To gets played in full, showcasing her sleek, breezy vocals, which harmonise beautifully with her guitarists. The instrumentation is heavy and complex, although the piano is at times hard to hear.
As the crowd grows thicker, so does the air in the room. I use the pocket on my handbag as a makeshift fan as we wait for Meg Mac. Suddenly, the house lights dim and a waft of smoke drifts from the stage. The deep, electronic sounds of Before Trouble reverberate as Mac’s band and backing singers enter the stage. She follows soon after, dressed in her trademark black, vocals blaring. With a style that is both raw and refined, she grabs the intention of the audience from the get go. She delivers an intimate act of vocal drenched songs such as October, Turning and my personal favourite, Oh My God. Her music creates a grasping stillness in the crowd, which only grows with tension as the set progresses. She’s alluring and aggressively passionate, while still being honest and graceful. She finishes with Roll Up Your Sleeves and Never Be, before waving goodbye and handing the stage over to Jarryd James.
James is dressed in a over sized t-shirt and a jacket, which seems bizarre as it’s about 50 degrees in here now. He begins with Sell It To Me, which is a calming start to the performance, showcasing minimalistic instrumentation and deep, drawn out vocals. As the songs progress, this calming, monotone theme sticks. He looks slightly uncomfortable on stage, and his conversations with the audience are a little shaky, but humble nonetheless. His music is at times affected by this shyness, and he fails to deliver on some of the big notes that his recorded work promises. I am however impressed with the instrumentation and the soulful timbre of James’s voice, particularly in songs such as Underneath. Do You Remember proves to be the crowds favourite, and Give Me Something is also received well. Meg Mac returns to the stage to sing Julia Stone’s part in Regardless, which suits her vocals just the same. The night finishes with Mac and her backing singers joining James to sing a memorable rendition of Ray Charles’ Down By The River. It’s the prefect end to a night that has truly been a celebration of some of Australia’s best young performers.