Sometimes I hate being a music writer. Over the years it’s moulded me into this desensitised, overly critical, spoilt-for-choice punter who mostly avoids the mosh pit and will stand at the back, arms folded with a look of concern splayed across their face. The positive side to this however, is that when something is good; it’s really good. And Angie McMahon was really good at the Rosemount last Friday.
With a packed room and an eagerness for the headliner, Leif Vollebekk, hailing all the way from Ottawa started out with some mellow piano-predominant love songs that felt like the Canadian woods and a log fire cabin. It’s those light brushes that brought a beautiful natural aspect to his sound and made you want to hold the nearest human.
I think the first surprising thing about Angie McMahon is that she is so young. For a voice of such depth and range I didn’t expect to see a girl in her converse sneakers just humbly rocking out. Missing Me came in second and the extreme dynamics made it exceptionally memorable. It might be because I’ve also listened to this one a hundred times already but there’s something really easy about singing along to her songs, it feels right and I think the rest of the crowd agreed.
The second surprising thing is that she barely moves her mouth. It’s as though the lyrics barely pass her lips as she desecrates our hearts with those love sonnets. “I’ve never been good at hiding my feelings from my face… and now I’m all dressed up with no place to go,” she sings and you irrevocably empathise with that emotion and then she stretches that vocal range even further and you’re left totally dumbstruck. I’m almost certain that the rendition of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Helpless had the waterworks going with more people than just me.
Whilst she is meek and barely utters a peep, a few in the crowd issued harsh “Shhhhhhs” if the chatter volume ever got too loud and a respectable silence fell over the crowd. Not only was Stella Donnelly a fan of the Walking Dead but it also got a mention in one of Angie’s songs and as Lief commented “that’s fkn real!”
Inviting Vollebekk back on stage, a stunning duet ensued titled If You Call, which she did promise will be on the upcoming album. In a world where everyone seems busy and alone but also simultaneously connected, it’s about reaching out to friends and reminding them that you want them there and maintaining those relationships. It’s a slow burner with a cute whistle section and chilling harmonies.
As she began the wrap up, she warned us that she would be sparing us the encore because of the fact that they’re awkward, and I couldn’t agree more. With the track that put her on the map, Slow Mover, the whole house was singing along. Ending on a raucous applause she definitely had left her fans well satiated. Very much looking forward to more appearances and this album!
Photos by Adrian Thomson and Mia