Live Review: Passenger, All Our Exes Live In Texas

3 March 2016 | 4:09 pm | Lillie Siegenthaler

"The crowd continues to repeat his vocal chants, the inside of this theatre now a galaxy of swaying smartphone lights. "

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All Our Exes Live In Texas is a quartet comprising accordion, mandolin, ukulele and guitar. Four charismatic women giggle their way through the set. With quirky musical finesse they play a quaint form of indie folk. They truly are a mesmerising sight as they sing through a haze of smoke, their angelic harmonies bouncing from the theatre's ornate walls.

The world knows Passenger (Michael Rosenberg on his passport) as the modest songwriter that quietly sings, "Only know your lover when you let her go," but in no way is this phrase a true reflection of his efforts as a live performer. What is so admirable about Rosenberg is his ability to captivate hundreds with his one-man show. Minutes into the set, sweat drips off Rosenberg's forehead as he pants through his phrases, taking a moment to openly confess he's given himself a stitch. Rosenberg sings every word and strums every chord with pure conviction.

With his story-telling lyrics, Rosenberg enthrals the crowd and we hear about his personal experiences as a travelling busker. He floats through the gut-wrenching heartbreak of Travelling Alone, the mockery of I Hate and the all too similar life confusion of 27. Rosenberg's witty charm pops up in between-song banter as he continues to easily crack the audience up with his awkward-yet-lovable personality. After each song everyone cheers as if for the last time and he repeatedly thanks us.

After playing Scare Away The Dark, Rosenberg rests his guitar on the floor and waves himself off the stage. In his absence, the crowd continues to repeat his vocal chants, the inside of this theatre now a galaxy of swaying smartphone lights. In this moment, there is nothing more incredible than being unified by the music of Passenger, especially without the presence of the artist. After about the tenth chant, Rosenberg returns to the stage to send us off with one more song. In essence, this embodies the power of his simplistic folk tunes. Each song offers a raw truth - the fear of love, the paradox that is social media or scorn for commercial music - that has the ability to connect an entire theatre of strangers. Being able to pull this off with just one voice and a steel-string guitar is truly an amazing talent.

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