Live Review: Ziggy Alberts, Fergus James

3 February 2020 | 4:41 pm | Michael Prebeg

“As long as you’re smiling and having a good time – that’s what my music is all about."

Ziggy Alberts @ AO Live. Photos by Monique Pizzica.

Ziggy Alberts @ AO Live. Photos by Monique Pizzica.

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Fergus James brings his uplifting and euphoric music to the AO Live Stage ahead of the grand slam final. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the event as he sings about feeling alive and appreciating a moment in time. His heartfelt indie-pop choruses hook us in and before we know it we’re singing and clapping along. Talented beyond his years, James is an exceptional songwriter and showcases a huge vocal range that builds momentum and then charges forward at a soaring pace. James plays songs from his debut EP, All Of The Colours, and premieres some unreleased material that he’s really excited about. It’s clear the crowd is too as they cheer for more.

With a shaved head, buttoned-down Hawaiian shirt and bare feet, Ziggy Alberts looks as relaxed as ever when he appears on stage with his guitar in hand. The sun comes out and shines down on the stage as he begins with Bright Lights. It wasn’t very long ago that Alberts was in Melbourne playing a sold-out show across the river at Sidney Myer Music Bowl and he’s glad to be back after a short holiday. “I still get nervous every now and then because Melbourne is a very special place for music,” Alberts says. “As long as you’re smiling and having a good time – that’s what my music is all about,” he adds.

Ziggy Alberts @ AO Live. Photo by Monique Pizzica.

Alberts raises the bar, bringing out powerful new release Together. We are privileged to hear it live for the first time, and the audience shares the emotional moment with Albert as he pours his heart out for the song written in response to the recent bushfire crisis.

Alberts moves over to the piano to play a beautiful rendition of Best Friend and his vocals give us goosebumps with every raspy note. He recounts all the wonderful grassroot moments that led him here today and plays some older songs to acknowledge the support his fans have given him over the years since he started busking in Byron Bay. “My music is usually associated with swimming with whales and dolphins, conversations with turtles, etc,” he shares, but a recent song Intentions (22) explores the change that comes with growth. “I can’t exactly store an amp system like the one that’s here today under my bed like I used to,” he jokes. We join him in getting down low and then gradually rise as he builds us up to a momentous and anthemic chorus. 

Priding himself on remaining independent, Alberts has started his own record label called Common Folk Records, which allows him to put out music as quickly as he writes it. “For me it’s all about family and friends and it’s about you all supporting me,” Alberts explains before he shares a new smooth and slow acoustic track he calls Peanut Butter. Laps Around The Sun follows, before the crowd starts making their way over to watch the men’s final.

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Ziggy Alberts @ AO Live. Photo by Monique Pizzica.