Live Review: Passenger, Winterbourne

26 November 2018 | 4:13 pm | Ted Dana

"There were many stories between songs, giving them the added depth we’ve come to expect from his live shows."

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In stark contrast to the usual unfolding of events at a Perth show, The Astor Theatre in Mt Lawley was already nearly full when the support act was still 20 minutes away. There may have been something in the air, as when James Draper and Jordan Brady of Winterbourne hit the stage with their cherubic looks and light-hearted, somewhat self-deprecating humour, the crowd erupted in applause and then fell silent in rapt attention. 

Warming up the crowd, they asked if anyone had seen a Winterbourne gig before. Some cheers down the front were met with a chuckle, the band responding they would be playing the rest of the show “for the three of you!” Opening their set with Actors, they were well received by the crowd. With a couple of semi-unplugged songs rounding out their half-hour set, Perth should keep an eye out for these guys’ return once their third release is out and they come back through on tour.

After a half-hour of changeover Mike Rosenberg, aka Passenger, hit the stage with a short, sweet intro and got straight into Fairytales & Firesides from the Divers & Submarines album. Rosenberg joked immediately afterwards that this would “not be the most uplifting Friday night”. There were many stories between songs, giving them the added depth we’ve come to expect from his live shows. David segued into with a yarn about leaving the Euro Hostel in Glasgow and hearing a homeless man’s story so many times he wrote a song about him. Poignantly, he shared his grandparents' journey to Vineland, New Jersey from France as Jewish refugees during World War II before To Be Free. His passion for the personal subject matter showed and he urged the crowd to be silent while he played this particular song (in contrast to the rest of his show where he encouraged the crowd to make some noise).

There were plenty of songs from Runaway, his current album, but also some old favourites such as I Hate, adapted to include a line about The Astor Theatre (or at least about queuing for the toilets), and the ubiquitous Let Her Go, which had everyone on their feet singing along. Rosenberg gushed at the crowd, saying that he was touched by the fact that they weren’t just there for 'that' one song but had listened beautifully to all his music. After pouring his heart and soul out for a little over an hour, he treated the crowd to an encore consisting of a cover Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark and his own original Holes.