The Astor Theatre is an iconic, beautiful WA venue, not only for its ability to provide a warm inviting illusion of intimacy with its performers but due to being so well lit compared to other venues. It is a people watchers’ wonderland and tonight the crowd did not disappoint. The theatre was buzzing with the epitome of young hipsters wearing thrift, misfitting 90s fashion, and all seemed extremely excited to be there.
Opening the sold out show was our own homegrown Freo talent, Stella Donnelly. Australia’s answer to Lily Allen, Donnelly sweetly talk-sings profanities and political satire via guitar pop in a cheerful way that is very endearing. There is a Missy Higgins aftertaste on every line she delivers that makes it feel like real Australiana. Her lyrics, relevant and at times crass, combined with the Australian twang makes her feel as though she could be Camp Cope’s younger, sweeter sister. Cute, catchy, with kitschy dance moves and an awkward factor that makes her instantly likable, she was a really fun, well-suited opener for Rogers.
Maggie Rogers appeared on stage fresh faced, naturally beautiful and exuding confidence. The music started and she announced her arrival by dramatically untying and flicking her long wavey hair. She introduced her set with the upbeat dance track Give A Little. Every single person there was dancing unashamedly and singing it word for word. Rogers is an incredible performer who danced the whole time utilising the entire stage, never once sounding breathless. Her performance style very reminiscent of a young Florence Welch, and it’s hard to believe she hasn’t been performing for decades. You could feel her feeling the music. Huge energy, impressively delivered vocals and the perfect amount of crowd interaction with endearing narrative proved a perfect recipe.
From the subdued quieter tracks like Say It and The Knife to the more dance-worthy electro-folk like Falling Water she danced and danced and danced and it was seemingly contagious, the audience all moving in response. Everyone there seemed the avid fan and the love from the young crowd felt palpable. Finally, the long-awaited Alaska arrived, the song that stunned Pharrell Williams and was the catalyst for her to not only go viral but being signed just two days later. It was a softer, stripped back version of bass, electro synth and heavier beats. While pretty and recognisable it is better on the album than live. Rogers drew the night to a close, keeping things intimate with two rules: “If you need to cough or sneeze that’s fine, it’s being human, if you yell out anything or leave you are an asshole”. She then delivered a soaring, haunting a cappella version of Colour Song. It was the perfect, soothing ending, like a hug of thanks for attending. Equally impressive as her stage presence was the adoration and excitement she derived from her fans. And this is likely just the beginning of a life long music career.
Photos by Annie Harvey