Live Review: Julia Jacklin + Olympia + Annie Hamilton – Metro Theatre, Sydney (15.03.19)

Julia Jacklin

Julia Jacklin has had a massive start to 2019. With international tours and the release of her second album Crushing already in the bin, it looks like this year could be one for the record books. Returning to Sydney’s Metro Theatre almost two years since her last headline national tour, the Blue Mountains native wooed the sold out crowd with her wit, tunes and general positive nature.

Opening up the night was Annie Hamilton. After a massive 2018 playing in Jack River‘s band, Hamilton continues to refine her live show as she goes about slowly but surely building towards what will hopefully be an EP release this year. Closing on quite possibly 2018’s best debut single in “Fade”, Hamilton crushed her short twenty minute set as she surely left those who came along early happy with their decision to arrive early.

Up next was Olympia. Having never seen her live before, despite knowing her tunes for the past couple of years, I was definitely left impressed as the three-piece smoothly and succinctly delivered a tight set that that featured mostly tracks off her 2016 Self Talk album, as well as new single “Shoot To Forget”. A personal highlight came via her biggest track “Smoke Signals”. With a distinct Kate Miller Heidke vibe to her live set, the coming twelve months looks as thought it could be leading toward even bigger things for Olympia.

With her new album out for just on one month, it was always going to be interesting to see the response her new tracks would get from The Metro punters. With the crowd welcoming Jacklin and band to the stage with a sport cheer of sorts (it was ugly at best), the room stood in utter silence as Jacklin delivered the one-two punch of “Body” and “Eastwick” to begin the set. Treating the early stages of the night with “Leadlight”, that soaring closing 30 seconds will always be one of my favourite things Jacklin has done.

Throwing it back into Crushing, the supremely sad “Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You” was followed by the five minute masterpiece “Turn Me Down”. You were reminded of how cruel and brittle life can be as “When the Family Flies In” dropped the mood in a room that was already quite dour. As a Crushing highlight, “When the Family Flies In” was delivered in such a way that it reminded you how truly talented Julia Jacklin is as a musician, songwriter and performer.

Throwing it back to “Don’t Let The Kids Win”, new track “Good Guy” made an appearance as Julia joked that ‘this song is dedicated to those guys who think having sex to Bon Iver’s first album is a good idea’. Following it up with the rollicking and sharp “You Were Right”, this was the turning point in a set that had so far been heavily weighted towards the slower tracks in an already downbeat discography.

Closing the main set with the three-peat of “Pool Party”, the soaring “Head Alone” and the killer “Pressure To Party”, Jacklin and band exited the stage and returned just as swiftly as they had disappeared for an encore. Leading with “Comfort”, the set closed on quite possibly Jacklin’s best song “Hayplain”. I remember listening to “Hayplain” at the time of Don’t Let The Kids Win‘s release and thought “Hayplain” would be a perfect set closer. Turns out I was spot on.

Crushing has been one of the best releases in the first quarter of 2019, and may well be for the rest of the year. It’s shaping to be a big year for Julia Jacklin, and based on her set on Friday night, I have no doubt she’ll handle it with aplomb.

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Julia Jacklin’s new album Crushing is out now. With her Australian tour concluding last night in Newcastle, Jacklin now head off to Europe and the US. For more information and full dates head HERE

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