Live Review: Julia Jacklin, Middle Kids, Ryan Downey

30 July 2016 | 11:07 am | Hannah Blackburn

"Jacklin has a timeless edge to her vocals."

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Heading into the Northcote Social Club’s bandroom, we made it with perfect timing to get front-row for Ryan Downey’s solo set. He starts off his set by singing lyrics, "I could sing a song," and he does so with his unique, almost Roy-Orbison-esque baritone, picking away at his nylon string acoustic guitar.

Next up were Middle Kids, where the energy from their set translates straight into the audience. After their first few songs, lead singer Hannah Joy sits at the keyboard, and the whole band leaves the stage, allowing her a solo song. Joy has an incredible vocal range, which is the perfect combination of fierce and tender at the same time. They play their single Edge Of Town, and announce that a new release is on the horizon.

The room was now filled to the brim with people, overflowing with energy. Everyone in the audience was feeding from each other’s excitement, and out came Julia Jacklin with her band. Tom Stephens was placed behind the drum kit, next to lead guitarist Eddie Boyd, and Harrison Fuller playing bass. Jacklin was donning her typical attire of plaid skirt and white sneakers as she charged into the first track. Julia then jumped into her newest release, Leadlight. She introduced her next track, Coming Of Age, which she admitted is the ‘rockiest’ song they have, preparing us for Elizabeth, a softer song she wrote about one of her friends. The band then exited the stage, allowing for LA Dream to be shared intimately between just her and the audience. Jacklin has a timeless edge to her vocals, with elements of a 1950s alt-country singer twisted in with Fiona Apple and her own contemporary charm. Surface-deep her songs are seemingly 'cool' and relaxed; however, she still manages to tug at those heartstrings with her hard-hitting, relatable lyrics.

The band then re-entered the stage, and Jacklin lightened the mood by educating the audience with their findings of Lou Reed’s YouTube videos where he performs with Pavarotti. They wrapped up the set with their popular track, Pool Party, and the band, once again, brought the mood back down for a duet between Stephens and Jacklin on their final song, Don’t Let The Kids Win.

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