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Live Review: Maggie Rogers, Stella Donnelly

24 May 2019 | 11:57 am | Michael Prebeg

"Rogers is a force of powerful, creative energy."

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“Bloody hell, this is a big venue,” says Stella Donnelly, admiring the large crowd before her. With an acoustic guitar in hand, she shares her sweet folk-pop, loaded with refreshingly honest and relatable lyrics; covering topics from her experience with an old boss when working as a pub bartender in Perth, to a song about an antagonist who listens to Kyle and Jackie O’s radio show. She clarifies that the radio show is still trying to speak with her about this, despite her constant refusing - she’s not afraid to sing about what’s on her mind. Donnelly’s playful teasing with her sharp yet delicate delivery is a delight to listen to. 

As soon as Maggie Rogers hits the stage, it’s impossible not to feel her undeniable and electrifying presence. Wearing the same big red shawl that features on the cover of her debut album Heard It In A Past Life, she starts off with the upbeat hit Give A Little. It’s been almost two years since she first played in Melbourne at The Forum, which was originally meant to be tonight’s venue before it was upgraded due to overwhelming demand. “I’ll never forget that show because I understood what an Australian audience meant. We always have fucking mind-blowing shows here,” Rogers exclaims.  

Maggie Rogers @ Festival Hall. Photo by Jay Hynes.

She makes a start on her next song but then pauses for a moment and takes a deep breath to avoid getting any emotional whiplash. “I want to perform this next song when I can play it with my full body,” Rogers says. She continues with Retrograde – a song she describes as having “teeth”. It’s a powerful, introspective track with bite. “I write songs and play them because I have a lot of feelings,” she states. Judging by her performance so far, we can tell she puts every bit of her energy into the delivery. Rogers is a force of powerful, creative energy. Her vibrant melodies and incredible vocal range feel so natural and effortless. As a live performer she’s very consciously aware and comfortable with who she is on stage. This is something Rogers thanks her Australian fans for; from supporting her music from the beginning to helping her grow into the confident performer she is today. 

This week marks a year since Rogers put out her stunning track Fallingwater. She tells us that it took a lot to convince her label to let her put out a first single that was five minutes long, but her fans believed in it and she’s very grateful for this. “After I play for this many people, I have a hard time going to sleep,” Rogers reveals before delivering a final encore. We join her in the calm down as she channels the power of quiet and sings a cappella. She opens up and bares her soul for an incredibly vulnerable moment during Color Song to send a shiver down our spines and relax our minds. 

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Maggie Rogers @ Festival Hall. Photo by Jay Hynes.