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- The Standard Bowl

Mar 24th 2012 | Liz Galinovic
Sarah McLeod is that mixture of rock pig, total fan and complete dag in equal measure. Tonight, all were on display as she scrambled onstage late apparently having slept through soundcheck and most of the show's prep, quickly tuning and checking her levels while the room was being warmed by a chatty, if not particularly tough crowd. After some gentle persuading, half the room moved forward to sit and stand down in front and although the Saturday night chatter of The Beautiful People up the back was clearly distracting her (she used a mixture of school teacher instruction and headmistress guilt to try and shut them up), she ploughed on. She played a mixture of old Superjesus tunes, new stuff from her all girl project Screaming Bikini (who sound like they've got some awesome rock tunes to come) and some solo stuff. Unexpected but well done was the cover of Jay Z's Empire State Of Mind to end – that McLeod girl is fearless and you have to love that, even if you think the leather pants are naff.

Taking the stage with only a minimum of changeover fuss was James Walsh, his floppy hair and gorgeous face sticking out above the crowd. Although the chatter remained (thankfully at a slightly lower volume), his set, like McLeod's, really deserved more attention that it received. A combination of old songs (all the way back to Starsailor's first album, with the gorgeous Poor Misguided Fool) to flash forward to tracks that are literally only a little while old (We Could Try, complete with a strange, but appealing Casio-like recorded accompaniment), Walsh kept up the spirits and held the room with good melodies and that voice. Yes, that high, airy, but somehow also grounded voice. Of course he also pulled out Four To The Floor (the tune that really made it for them), complete with a minor tech glitch as the song went from acoustic to part dance tribute (more Casio goodness).

As those that follow him online are aware, Walsh also loves a good cover and these were given an airing tonight including bits and pieces of The Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want and Here Comes The Sun by the Fab Four and a completely unexpected, but quite fabulous croony, sexy duet to end, as McLeod and Walsh shared the stage for a piano/guitar boy girl serenade to Accadacca's You Shook Me All Night Long. Part tribute to his touring audiences, part nod to just an awesome tune, it would have been naff in the hands of less talented souls, but here it was a fine addition indeed. Walsh promised to make it back again with the band sometime soon, so get your Chisel requests ready for next time.


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