Live Review: Passenger, All Our Exes Live In Texas, Luke Thompson

8 March 2016 | 11:44 am | Tash Edge

"...a true master craftsman of those rare moments when total silence surrounds a single voice in a venue of several thousand."

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A beautiful Autumn night in Fremantle, with folk on picnic rugs enjoying a beer with the sunset — as if Passenger at the Fremantle Arts Centre didn't already make for a chilled gig, for it to be on the Sunday of the long weekend just made it that much better.

New Zealander (and he didn't let us forget it) Luke Thompson kicked off the night with acoustic folk vibes that set the tone for what was to come. After dedicating his stunning song On A Slow Boat To China to his new buddies, he made his intentions to further explore Australia clear. Thompson could be described as an amalgam of Passenger and John Mayer, with his own vibe thrown in there too.

Sydney's eclectic four-piece mix of rambling stories and endless 'adorable', All Our Exes Live In Texas followed and boy, did they shine. With each lady taking the lead at various stages and armed with an accordion (the likes of which was magnificently featured), mandolin, ukulele and guitar, they quickly stole the hearts of everyone in the venue. A cover of The White Stripes' Hotel Yorba with an accordion is just what the world needed, and these ladies happily obliged.

As soon as the lights dimmed and Passenger (aka Mike Rosenberg) stepped on stage, everyone present went a next level kind of nuts. Still as self-deprecating and apologetically hilarious as back in his busking days and playing to small crowds at Mojo's and the Indi Bar, Rosenberg's fame may have grown, but like a true artist, he has not lost the passion and integrity in every word that leaves his mouth. Passenger is a true master craftsman of those rare moments when total silence surrounds a single voice in a venue of several thousand — he manages to cram one or two of these into just about every song. Each ballad comes from the heart, the autobiographical nature of his songwriting took everyone on an epic journey and he insisted that everyone sing along to almost the entire set, which made for a brilliant atmosphere. Kicking back to one of his older tunes, he brought both support acts on stage for Caravan, with features from both acts and harmonies to die for. Hit single Let Her Go received the loudest reception of course, and ending the night with an encore of Holes had everyone shouting (not singing) along and keen for the night to continue.

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