The biggest disappointment of the Perth Festival was when it was announced that Julien Baker was to cancel her Australian tour and therefore her slot at the Chevron Gardens. Here’s hoping that she is able to return to Australia soon as Baker is one of the finest crop of singer-songwriters doing the rounds.
The unenviable billing as “Julien Baker’s replacement” went to Melbourne musician Jess Ribeiro. There was plenty of small town charm from Ribeiro, who recounted her days growing up in earthy communities during the songs If You Were A Kelpie and Kill It Yourself. There was an entertaining tale of Ribiero’s internet dating experiences where she almost met up with the 38th ranked tennis player in the world during the recent Australian Open, and how her song Love Is The Score Of Nothing may not have done her any favours in this pursuit.
Playing on the eve of the release of her second album Crushing was the perfect storm for Julia Jacklin. She had made quite the splash on home soil with her debut album, thanks to the song Pool Party making it to the pointy end of the Hottest 100, and Jacklin has been making serious waves overseas in recent months. There was a near capacity crowd to hear her sophomore album in the live setting for the first time.
Body started things off with a slow burn as the 5-piece outfit found their feet, with Jacklin showing a more accomplished voice that on previous visits. The girl next door vibe suits Jacklin well as she surrounds herself with a band of mismatched musicians that resemble a cast of strays instead of a tightly mesh band. During the sublime Eastwick, the bassist pulled moves at odds with the rest of the band’s subdued persona as he appeared to be putting in a audition to join Pseudo Echo, with turned up white jeans and floppy fringe rounding out his pitch.
There had been little banter to this point, other than Jacklin speaking in wonderment of each band member being put up in their own hotel room. Songs from the debut were played, but it was the newer tracks that left the biggest mark. With her telecaster strapped high, the Blue Mountains songstress played the pinnacle of her set with the heartfelt Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You.
The band departed briefly as Jacklin showed that her voice and guitar were enough to silence a crowd during Don’t Let The Kids Win. Jacklin explained that Turn Me Down had a few tempo changes and a couple of false endings, with just over half the crowd showing that they had payed attention and could count past two as they held their applause until the end. You Were Right was boisterous and Head Alone was greeted by the crowd singing all the words.
Leaving time for only a brief encore, Pressure To Party finished the evening in a spritely fashion as Jacklin showed she has what it takes. With an album of heartbreak where she doesn’t play the victim and keeps men honest, she is armed with the songs and the performance chops to build formidable success.
Photos by Tashi Hall