Jacob Diamond, who was also a member of Stella Donnelly’s band for the tour, was the opener for the evening. Much like his fellow band member Stella, Diamond’s music has a strong focus on the meaning behind his lyrics. In fact this was a theme for the evening, with each of the evening’s artists presenting powerful messages through their sound and stories.
While his somewhat self deprecating humour made him more humanised as an artist, it was Jacob’s alluring vocals that truly focused his set. His guitar work was also leagues ahead and perfectly combining with his overall sound. Opening with a track called “Idiot Scum”, the waving guitar intro gave an early indication of his talent before moving into a wonderful cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “A Case Of You” and closing on “Blue Begets Blue” off of his most recent LP Goodbye Gondwana.
Alice Skye had the honour of being the evening’s main opener, and her music was the perfect scene setter before Stella’s headline set. The regional Victorian musician, now based in Melbourne, had a set highlighted by her touching vocals, meaningful lyrics and witty stage banter. Her recently released LP Friends With Feelings proved to be the centre point of Alice’s set, with many of the songs off of the album being used to tell her story. “Everything Is Great”, “Melbourne” and the album’s title track (a track about making friends with one’s feelings) were all a feature of Alice’s performance, which made a point of trying to connect her emotions and histories all into one body.
Stella Donnelly was an exciting addition to Melbourne’s December roster of live music, with the Fremantle musician bringing her new band along to the Northcote Social Club to help kick off the weekend. The first of three shows, Donnelly kicked things off with “Grey” from her breakout EP Thrush Metal. “Boys Will Be Boys” proved to be a poignant moment in the performance, and whilst it came relatively early in the set, Stella’s powerful lyrics and melodies captured the bandroom.
A powerful rendition of Sharon Van Etten’s “Every Time The Sun Comes Up” was a particular highlight, flowing alongside “Talking”, “Seasons Greetings” (a song focusing on family gatherings), “Old Man” and “Mechanical Bull”. As usual with Donnelly’s performances it wasn’t just the messages or music which wholly sold the set, with the artist’s witty banter really stealing the show. Joking often about her life, the situations around her songs, and the music industry she often contextualised the messages behind her music. “Political Songstress”, for example, is a newly written song which is aimed at the reporter who said that Stella and Alex the Astronaut wrote political songs on an earlier tour. The track focusing on the political messages of Pauline Hanson, whilst also taking a facetious stab at those who felt her messages and songs were overly political.
The marvellous set came to a close with the quieter “Mean To Me”. While Stella unfortunately had to turn down coming out to say hi after the set due to throat soreness, the vocal peaks utilised by the WA artist were strong, whilst still giving a sense of finality to the Saturday performance. “Mean To Me” was the track much of the crowd was waiting for, and an initial glance of the setlist looked like it wouldn’t be played, thankfully though, those fears were allayed as the soft singing of the crowd carried out the close of the evening.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Stella Donnelly’s ‘Finally Made Some Friends’ tour continues tomorrow with two performances in Brisbane: an U18 matinee at Junky Comics, before a sold out show at the Black Bear Lodge. It’s then onto Sydney, with shows at the Oxford Art Factory on Saturday December 8th and a matinee at The Newsagency on Sunday December 9th. For more information and tickets visit HERE
She will also be appearing at NYE on the Hill and Mountain Sounds.