Live Review: Weyes Blood @ Joan Sutherland Theatre

6 June 2023 | 11:51 am | Shaun Colnan

Weyes Blood's genuine and relatable anecdotes create an intimate connection with the crowd, as if sharing secrets with old friends.

Photo of Weyes Blood @ Joan Sutherland Theatre

Photo of Weyes Blood @ Joan Sutherland Theatre (Credit: Jordan Munns)

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The Sydney Opera House’s smaller space, Joan Sutherland Theatre sets the stage for a night of musical enchantment as Weyes Blood graces the audience with her ethereal presence. The dichotomy that defines her performance is immediately apparent—a delicate balance between an angelic-ethereal aesthetic and a down-to-earth self-assurance and wit.

As the lights dim and the first chords resonate through the hall, Natalie Mering, the artist behind Weyes Blood, emerges in a flowing gown with a billowing cape, resembling a celestial being. Her honeyed voice fills the space with sweeping notes matched by her whirling stage presence. There were clearly some diehard fans in the crowd, riding her variations with audible "ahhs" and boisterous cheers.

There’s a reason for that adoration: while some might just possess this ethereal atmosphere, Mering’s undeniable sense of self-assuredness and witty banter sets her apart from other folk singers. Her stage presence exudes confidence and poise but there’s also an earthy play that endears us to her.

Weyes Blood by Jordan Munns

This banter between songs further showcases her down-to-earth nature. Her genuine and relatable anecdotes create an intimate connection with the crowd, as if sharing secrets with old friends. She talks of astrology, saying she’s “taking a poll all across the globe…which so far is just Canada and America and Europe and maybe Brazil and now here…who believes in astrology?” The audience obliges with cheers. “Who doesn’t?” A louder cry from a larger portion.

The music itself is a mesmerising blend of dreamy melodies and lush arrangements. Weyes Blood's ability to build from the simple roots of catchy songs to joyful crescendos further endears us to her. Each song unfolds like a story, taking the audience on an immersive journey that speaks to the last traumatic few years. “The last time we were here was March 2020,” she reflects. “It’s safe to say, a lot’s changed in that time.” From the hauntingly beautiful Andromeda to the introspective Movies, every note resonates with a profound sense of introspection and vulnerability.

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Adding to this self-described “secular church”, spellbinding and poignant visuals by British filmmaker, Adam Curtis, the wistful track God Turn Me Into A Flower typifies the enthralling performance. Mering coheres perfectly with the Vivid lights outside with her symbolic centrepiece: the lit-up heart we see on her 2022 LP, And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow

“It’s safe to say, I love you,” she says with a hint of ironesty. It’s safe to say, the feelings are mutual as the final chords fade away and applause fills the air. Perhaps, we might even say Weyes Blood has left hearts aglow throughout the theatre.

Weyes Blood by Daniel Boud