Friday, 13 July 2012

Gig Review - Emma Louise (12/07/12)

Live at the Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane.
Supported by: Dads and Argentina

There's nothing like some fine music to warm you up on a cold and rainy winter's day, so we headed on down to the Black Bear Lodge last night to see Emma Louise's second sold out Brisbane show of her Sparks tour. Like many attendees, I wasn't certain of what to expect from the show. Louise's tracks 'Jungle' and 'Boy' have garnered her universal acclaim, but did she have a whole set worth of quality tracks in her catalogue? Before we could find out, we'd have to sit through some support acts. 

Dads was up first. I was expecting a band consisting of middle-aged fathers reliving their glory days. Instead, we got young Tom Iansek, his guitar and his MacBook. He was much better than the alternative. Next up was Brisbane's Argentina. Now, I knew nothing about Argentina before seeing him/them live. I say him/them because I assumed through banter provided during their/his performance they were a band, yet a little bit of "research" suggests it's really a solo front for vocalist Alex Ritchie. Since I'm unsure of how to best proceed, I'll refer to them as if they are a live band. They improved in leaps and bounds with each track and I found myself really warming to Argentina and their indie goodness (as did a large majority of the crowd). I will say though, don't feel you have to make banter just for the sake of it, because when you say, "I think you'll enjoy the show more if you stand up. If you think we're shit you can sit back down again," and then I see people sit down after half a song, I find myself asking if you're shit. You weren't, you were pretty great. Argentina have a lot of potential to make it big and JJJ Unearthed seem to already be firmly behind them/him. Whatever. 

At 10pm with the Lodge packed out, the crowd made Emma Louise feel very welcome as she took to the stage. From the moment she started singing, I knew the show was going to be one to remember. Her voice live is flawless and sounds even more incredible than you'd expect when keys player Heather harmonizes alongside her. The audience was mesmerised as Louise worked her way through her one hour set. Whether it was the enchanting current single 'Boy,' new tracks like 'Darts' and 'Flannelette Sheets' or songs about missing home while away, it was hard to take your eyes off such a talented performer. As disheartening as it was to hear we won't be listening to Emma Louise's debut album until 2013, at least we now know that many of its potential tracks are going to be awesome. Think Seeker Lover Keeper levels of awesomeness. The band's energetic performance of 'Jungle' would be a highlight, the audience merrily bopping their heads to the soaring vocals and thundering percussion. Over a year later, 'Jungle' has lost none of its amazing impact. Thinking that would be the best performance of the evening, I was happy to be proven wrong by this...

'1000 Sundowns.' Emma explained writing the song about her Aunty and Uncle following his passing after a battle with cancer and then performed it solo, just her and her guitar. It was a beautiful moment. The crowd was respectfully silent, embracing the heartbreaking track that shows Emma Louise, the songwriter, to be a true gem. An unforgettable moment to bring a close to her set. Deal breaker on buying her EP, Full Hearts and Empty Rooms? The inclusion of '1000 Sundowns.' EP purchased. I hate to ignore the other three EP tracks (including 'Jungle'), but '1000 Sundowns' has been on constant repeat since the drive home after the show. So, you've got the chance to see Emma Louise soon and you're undecided about whether to go or not? Go. Don't even think twice, she's completely worth it. 

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