Live Review: Stella Donelly, Annie Hamilton, Banjo Lucia

9 May 2022 | 8:12 am | Mick Radojkovic

“You sing them better than me!”

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Banjo Lucia, finally able to tour over East, coming from Walyalup (Fremantle) in WA, is an artist that from the first moment she sings, will have you clicking the follow, like and subscribe button in a frenzy.

Her voice will hit you in the heart, ranging from gut-wrenching to soaring with glory. Her cover of Chris Isaak's Wicked Game ("I wish I knew another song of his that I could cover") hit all the right feels, but it was her original tracks filled with personal heartfelt experience and observations that really showcased her superb talent in front of an eager and respectful early crowd.

With a debut EP dropping the following day, her journey is just beginning, and there's sure to be a hugely exciting path along the way. Tonight’s support slot won her a room full of new fans.

Annie Hamilton, on the verge of her first solo album, was in top form. With her slick band behind her, she eased into the set with Exist, a bristling cut from the album, the future is here but it feels kinda like the past, due to drop in less than two weeks (May 20).

Her yearning vocal, combined with driving rhythms and stark melodies, showcases her skills at not only writing lyrics that evoke the world around us but hooks and choruses that feel unique and intriguing.

Latest single Again, with its quiet, almost eerie start, built to a triumphant crescendo of driving bass, drums and scorching guitar. Hamilton was obviously savouring the chance to play some new tracks, but also enjoyed the old ones, with Cecil Coleman (Body Type’s drummer and all-round legend) jumping on stage for an impromptu tambourine appearance on Panic plus we were treated to a glorious cover of Alanis Morissette’s One Hand In My Pocket.

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Fade, her debut solo track from 2018, rounded out a perfectly delivered set, that will only whet the audience’s appetite for more with her album set to expand on an already promising career.

Stella Donnelly's career has never deviated from smart, well-written songs that never hold back, are a little cheeky, but always honest. It’s the core reason why her fans belove her so much.

With a dance and a smile, she arrived on stage, and apart from a couple of small cameos from her guitarist-cum-keyboardist, George, she performed the first half of the set solo with her guitar.

Firstly, she dug deep into her back catalogue with two cuts, Grey and Mechanical Bull, from her debut EP of 2017, Thrush Metal. It was immediately obvious that the audience remembered them, belting out the lyrics perfectly, prompting Donnelly to say, “You sing them better than me!”

The full band would join the singer halfway through the set, diving into the not so seasonal, but always suitable Season’s Greetings. The talented band also provided an additional foil for Donnelly’s cheeky repartee. She has a way of commanding the attention of an entire room, always telling a small anecdote or making comments in between tracks.

After playing a few well-worn and loved older tracks, we were finally treated to a brand new one, Morning Silence, which saw Donnelly swap the guitar for the keyboard. We would experience a few new, unreleased tracks, with Lungs incorporating a fantastic groove that had the crowd bouncing along, being a highlight of the four.

Another new one, How Was Your Day?, saw the crowd learn the sing-a-long chorus, which was relished with glee. Although Donnelly stated, “Don’t try and sing the verses – They’re fucked!”

A cover of John Paul Young’s classic Love Is In The Air gave Donnelly a chance to dance around the stage with abandon and joy, mirroring that seen in the crowd all night, before the set wrapped up with set favourites, Die and Tricks.

This tour, a return from an artist that feels like she has so much more to offer, was a welcome breath of fresh air on a chilly May evening and the teases of new tracks promise to keep her wealth of fans desperate for more!