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Live Review: Melissa Etheridge, Irish Mythen

31 March 2016 | 2:15 pm | Dearna Mulvaney

"We're all captivated by Etheridge's blues licks and riffs."

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Irish Mythen opens the night. Her performance is enchanting and charming, and the audience is enthralled in no time at all. She stands on stage with her acoustic guitar, a blue wash shining down on her. Mythen is a true storyteller. She introduces each track, sharing the inspiration behind it and creating an intimate atmosphere. Her voice is captivating as she seamlessly moves from a soft, breathy falsetto to a belted-out, growled vocal and then back again. A set highlight is a haunting song called She Finds Me, which was used in Ireland as part of their gay marriage referendum.

A smoky haze floats across the stage as Melissa Etheridge's band set the groove for tonight's opening track Ain't It Heavy, and Palais Theatre turns into what feels like a divey old jazz bar. When Etheridge finally makes her entrance, cheers echo around the theatre.

The set is mostly comprised of songs from her first album: fan favourites Similar Features, Occasionally, Chrome Plated Heart and Bring Me Some Water. Etheridge also throws in a wild card track, also from her self-titled debut, called Watching You. This track is performed solo and Etheridge forgets the lyrics during the second verse, laughingly admitting, "It's been a long time since I've played this song". Another well-received track is a newer song, Monster; a perfect blend of funky bass and slide guitar complementing Etheridge's signature vocals. This track makes you want to dance and audience members dotted around the venue jump to their feet and do just that.

The final song of the night sets the theatre alight. An extended version of Like The Way I Do is a perfect choice for closer. During this track, Etheridge is able to show off her skills and launches into a guitar solo. Her backing band leave the stage. We're all captivated by Etheridge's blues licks and riffs. Etheridge seems shocked when her drummer returns to the stage. She laughs before removing her guitar and joining him on the drum riser for an intense polyrhythmic drum solo. Etheridge takes control of the floor tom and cymbals while her drummer keeps the groove of the track going. For the final chorus, the remaining band members join in and the crowd screams the words back at Etheridge. During this last section Etheridge plays around with the lyrics, which become, "Melbourne nobody loves you like the way I do".

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