Live Review: Clare Bowditch

27 November 2015 | 5:57 pm | Craig English

"Bowditch ripped out the collective heart of everybody there and held it in her hand as she reflected on a story of young love and emotional over investment."

More Clare Bowditch More Clare Bowditch

That time of year has arrived again where folks can come and enjoy gigs at outdoor venues without worrying about getting completely drenched. The skies were clear and there wasn't a breath of wind in the air which made for the perfect setting to drink in the gorgeous sounds of Clare Bowditch and her self-described "wonder band", comprised of suave trio The Royal Jellies, as well as touring members of The Feeding Set.

Bowditch took to the stage by herself to greet the crowd and ease everyone in with a sweet acoustic ballad, before bringing the rest of the nine member-strong band out to accompany her (and hopefully drown out the frogs in the pond by the stage who insisted on their own choral supplement to the set). Amazing Life roused the passion of the increasingly enthusiastic crowd, who should really have been given a cut of the takings given how much intensive audience participation Bowditch and co insisted on.

Divorcee By 23 was a surprising omission from an otherwise well tailored setlist, but classic On This Side was warmly wrought and more than made up for any grievances long-time fans might've had about what songs were and weren't played.

There's something about our beloved homegrown artists that makes time and everything else around slow down and allow them to evoke deep and unbridled emotion in their audiences. I Thought You Were God was the jaw-dropping stunner of the set, as Bowditch ripped out the collective heart of everybody there and held it in her hand as she reflected on a story of young love and emotional overinvestment. It alone could stand solidly alongside Australia's most revered artists as testament to her remarkable prowess as a considered and intelligent songwriter.

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

Bowditch's indefatigable joy was infectious, and while a couple of her fellow band members found it a bit hard to rouse the same energy in themselves, the crowd was simply loving it. Her wit and comedic timing broke up the silence between songs perfectly, and when tuning her instruments consumed her attention she encouraged the crowd to turn to somebody they didn't know and talk to them. The jury is still out on whether or not that one's a practice that should be adopted en masse though.

As Bowditch and band reappeared for the encore, the frogs decided to call it a night and let the guests round out the evening. Co-written with Eddie Perfect, You Make Me Happy was the final ode that jerked a tear or 25 in some who remembered it the as the lament to a favourite character that was killed off on a particular TV show. The song itself was a bit of a downer, but none were left disappointed. Given her stunning performances, it's a minor crime that Bowditch was relegated to such a modest venue, but the intimacy she commanded was something special, and those are always the most memorable shows.

Originally published in X-Press Magazine