Live Review: A State Of Grace

29 September 2015 | 9:33 am | Luke Saunders

"On the whole, the voices of Mason, O'Sullivan and Clausen do not stand up to the ranges of Tim and Jeff Buckley, nor are they expected to."

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Bono described Jeff Buckley as "a pure drop in an ocean of noise". Both Buckleys, Jeff and his father Tim, created music that blended poetic lyrics with raw emotion; each possessed a voice like no other, which often allowed their songs to scale transcendental heights. A State Of Grace echoes their achievements, paying respect to the lives and music of father and son following their tragic deaths.

A somewhat dark video montage of Jeff was projected onto a smoky stage accompanied by recordings of voicemails he once left for his muse Rebecca Moore. This set a mood of solemn intrigue. Jeff's close friend and former collaborator Gary Lucas then began with a speech celebrating the lives of the two musicians, stating that Jeff played at the Enmore Theatre for the first time 20 years ago.  

Six-piece band Gods And Monsters kicked off the night with a Tim Buckley number, Chase The Blues Away, sung by Cold Specks. Incorporating more jazzy undertones than that of Tim's acoustic original, it still came out beautifully on the shoulders of Lucas' outstanding guitar work. Running through a handful of other tracks such as Mojo Pin and Lilac Wine, Hallelujah effectively ended the first half of the concert (as sung by Cold Specks). The formidable vocals of Cold Specks were up to the challenge of performing what is perhaps Jeff Buckley's most famous work however, without an accompanying band, the song felt lacking somewhat — it was Jeff's melodic guitar work and angelic vocals that made the song. 

Following the interval, Martha Wainwright belted out the emotionally raw Lover, You Should've Come Over. Coupling beautiful lyrics with a powerful voice, her every word resonated in the intimate theatre. Other Jeff Buckley classics such as Last Goodbye and Grace received well-deserved applause and often standing ovations as Lucas put his own little spin on these songs. An array of famous voices — including Willy Mason, Casper Clausen, Camille O'Sullivan and Steve Kilbey — sang throughout the night, all lending their own touch to various tunes.

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Rounding out the set was Tim Buckley's beautifully organic Song To The Siren, which was sung by O'Sullivan. This song stands alone as a poem given the charm of its words, which seemed to translate into Jeff's musical style. However, Gods And Monsters members subtly added layers of harmonic overtones and reinterpreted the wonderfully charming song.

On the whole, the voices of Mason, O'Sullivan and Clausen do not stand up to the ranges of Tim and Jeff Buckley, nor are they expected to since they all pay their respects to the musicians in their own right. Thanks to the incorporation of soulful guitar work by Lucas and this slew of famous singers, A State Of Grace lends credibility to the musical prominence of Tim and Jeff Buckley, further illuminating the tender transcendence of their works.