Live Review: Dustin Tebbutt, Robbie Miller, Woodes

30 August 2016 | 3:24 pm | Lucy Regter

"We held our breath listening to the final few impossible notes that closed the set."

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Up-and-coming producer/singer Woodes, also known as Elle Graham, opened the night in a dreamy, electronic-pop fashion. Having recently diverged from her previous collaborator to pursue solo work, Woodes played to a modest collection of fans who showed support and eased the nerves that come with playing in a new city for the first time. Within a mesmerising soundscape, Woodes crafted layers of warped vocals and bursts of glitches and trickles. Tracks like Daggers & Knives, as well as a chilling cover of James Blake's I Need A Forest Fire, made for a well-developed set that promises an exciting future for the Melbourne producer.

Next up was Brisbane-based songwriter Robbie Miller, equipped with just an acoustic guitar and a voice that could melt the coldest of hearts. Rolling through a set of acoustic-folk songs that carried weight within their lyrics, Miller's narration and reflection on his own life touched on childhood nostalgia and heartbreak. Although engaging an audience through the entirety of an acoustic set can be challenging, careful guitar work and restraint from Miller (in tracks like Don't Go Walking Away and a surprising cover of Say My Name by Odesza) proved he's more than capable of maintaining the room's attention.

On the tail end of his First Light album tour, Dustin Tebbutt took to the stage accompanied by a three-piece ensemble and a backdrop of rolling mountains. Opening with the title track from his debut album, First Light, the familiar build of acoustic guitar and dancing keys had the crowd captivated. Tebbutt and the band presented tracks from the album with rehearsed attention, knowing one another's strengths and balancing Tebbutt's gentle vocals and indie-pop instrumentals with ease.

While revisiting older material from 2014/15 with acoustic-dream tracks Bones and Plans, the crowd became too quiet, throwing Tebbutt off guard to the point where he forgot lyrics. Woodes joined them on stage to help out on Silk, and the two vocalists brought sweet, humble harmonies that we could have happily enjoyed all night. Despite the fragility of each song, Tebbutt's brightness in his vocals brings a sense of optimism and conviction. Crowd favourites Where I Find You and closing track The Breach easily outshone the rest of the set, leaving us with a final display of Tebbutt's impressive vocal range, as we held our breath listening to the last few impossible notes that closed the set.

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