Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Gig Review: Jarryd James & Meg Mac - Enmore Theatre 4/12/15

A couple of Fridays ago, I trotted off to Sydney's Enmore Theatre to check out 2 up & coming names in Australian music, Jarryd James & Meg Mac. This was a bit of an unusual gig as they were co-headlining – something I’m not used to when I go to concerts – but they did have a support act in the form of another up & comer in the Aussie music scene, Kita Alexander. Somehow I managed to jot down some notes & take some photos (not great quality though) of the event, so for your reading pleasure here's what went down...
I was planning on getting to the venue early-ish but missed a train from the city (where I had dinner), so I ended up getting to the Enmore just before doors opened at 7pm. I’ve been there several times for other gigs, but can’t recall the lines ever being as long as what they were that night. I didn’t know until well after the gig that it had sold out so no wonder….I knew from the moment I got there that I had no chance of being right at the front of the General Admission section (something I like to do at concerts), but being about the 5th person back from the front & in the middle was good enough.

Kita Alexander
After about a half hour wait, Kita Alexander came on to do her set. She wasn’t too bad actually. Despite the fact that she’s just released an EP, I didn’t know any of her songs aside from My Own Way & judging by the cheers that arose when the opening bars to that song kicked in, I’m guessing everyone else was in the same boat. For some reason during her performance I kept thinking that she looked a bit like one of my high school friends did when she was Kita’s age (Kita’s 19 I think). Might’ve been due to Kita’s long blonde-ish hair. 

Jarryd James, performing his song Undone
After Kita finished and another half hour wait, out came Jarryd. It was a bit of a surprise to me – for some reason I thought he’d come out last, given that his name was first on the billing…anyway…I can’t remember his entire set list in order, but he played every song from his debut album Thirty-One (my favourite album of 2015) except for the interlude. Best moment of his set: when Julia Stone walked out to perform her verse in their duet Regardless (she looked smoking hot too #suddengirlcrush). I really wasn’t expecting that to happen seeing as I’ve gone to gigs before where other artists have replaced those who were originally on certain songs etc (e.g. when I went to a Gotye gig several years ago Bertie Blackman sang Kimbra’s parts in Somebody That I Used To Know). 

Jarryd + Julia Stone performing Regardless
Another great moment was the crowd (and I) going absolutely OFF to Jarryd’s ARIA-award winning hit Do You Remember. I haven’t heard that many people loudly & proudly singing along to a song at a gig in a while. Several times throughout that performance Jarryd turned his mic towards us so that we could sing the next line back at him – methinks he was quite chuffed about the crowd participation, given the smile that crept across his face during that song.

Whilst the crowd were kept entertained with some cool tunes between sets (the Bill Withers classic Ain’t No Sunshine sparked a mini sing-along from the masses & a few people lit up when Lauryn Hill got played), having to wait what felt like forever between sets was a bit of a negative for me. By the time Meg Mac started it was 10pm, 25 minutes after Jarryd finished and some 3 hours after doors had opened. Given the waits between the other 2 sets, I began to get antsy, tired from standing in the one spot & was already experiencing something I like to call “gig sickness” – like car or seasickness, but I seem to get this thing where if I’m even slightly anxious about getting to a gig on time & I’ve had a big meal beforehand, I’ll start feeling sick whilst people are up on stage. Thankfully this time around I didn’t vomit, but note to self: don’t eat anything before a gig again. Ever.

Meg Mac
Now for Meg’s set…..just like Kita, I didn’t know much of Meg’s stuff in terms of lyrics (aside from Never Be & the line “everything is gonna be alright” from Roll Up Your Sleeves); but gosh that girl can belt out a tune. She has an amazing voice, not just on record but in the live arena too. It’s a pity though that I couldn’t understand a damn word that came out of her mouth between songs. I wasn’t the only one who felt that way – there were people in the crowd yelling at her to “speak louder” at one stage. Even though I wear earplugs to every gig I go to these days (purely because I want to protect my eardrums so that I can listen to live music when I’m an old duck), I’ve had no problems hearing artists’ chatter between songs at past gigs, so I’m not sure if it were nerves that made her mumble or she just talks like that. That was the only downside of her performance, the rest of it was pretty good and it was cool to see her perform one song mostly a-capella, using only a loop pedal & her looped vocals as a backing track.

Meg with her backing singers - her sister Hannah is in the middle of shot.
We also got a bonus treat that night, with Jarryd & Meg coming out to do an encore together…a cover of Ray Charles’ I’m Going Down to the River. Here’s a pretty good recording of it...not filmed by me:

So, would I go & see any of the acts again? I'd more than likely go & see Jarryd again plus Meg once she has her debut album out…not sure about Kita, but I wouldn’t dismiss her if she were on the bill with another artist I liked. All in all, despite the wait times between sets, I feel like this gig was a great showcase of new-ish talent, with all 3 artists definitely on the rise in the Australian music scene.

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