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Roving Reviewer: Laura Imbruglia

March 1, 2013

A lavish and careful female singer greets me at the John Curtin Hotel on February 28th. I’m thrown blissfully into singer/songwriter paradise with Slow Galo. She provides slow, drawn out finger-plucked chords with a stunning ability in vocal control which only gets better as her performance goes on.

Unfortunately, the reverb has been a little overdone in Slow Galo’s set, and it feels like I’m sitting in an empty stadium. This takes away from the artist’s natural talent, I feel, as the rawer sounds of her vocals – only observed when she pulls away from the microphone – send shivers down my spine.

By 4th song, Slow Galo/Felicity Cripps (as she’s more commonly known off stage) is singing in French whilst at the same time I am intrigued and impressed by the five-finger plucking style that seems to have gone out of fashion. That word control comes to mind again, as the control needed to play guitar in this manner is extraordinary. The word talent springs forth, also – for more obvious reasons.

She poses a non-confronting, reserved presence on stage – however the continual Melbourne fascination with three-quarter guitars continues to puzzle me. Toward the end of her set, Slow Galo asks for the time, to which the sound engineer remarks, “I think I speak on behalf of everyone here when I say… I really enjoy what you’re doing… you can just keep doing what you’re doing,” to which she obliges, and plays two more; her final song an Acapella number which is nothing short of phenomenal.

An Aussie singing accent and a Rickenbacker black Jetglo series guitar provide me with the alt-country feel surrounded by a modern air that is Mid-State Orange. Anyone there can see quite quickly just why they’re supporting Laura. The typical country jingle-jangle – yet as we know, everyone does it differently – and the modern twist of Mid-State Orange makes their version very infectious.

The building crowd begins to toe-tap and I even spot Laura herself having a bit of a one-woman boogie. The usual thing has happened, the crowd dispersed to all sections of this huge room that never quite captures the atmosphere of the setting quite well.

As Mid-State Orange continue through their set, I am seeing guitars working together harmoniously and a rhythm section which never waivers. I feel a subtle taste of You Am I by mid-set, and towards the end a harder edge completes a varying performance which becomes more reminiscent of something Everclear or Weezer might put out.

Lead singer, Louis Richter’s vocals are caught lacking at certain stages in the set – notably at the beginning and end – however he does redeem himself with some booming harmonies and subtle varieties throughout. Overall, for my first experience of this band, it is probably someone I’d check out again without my reviewer’s hat on and just “have a listen”, because I’m sure there are things I miss when half my time is spent figuring out what I’m trying to say.

Laura Imbruglia – backed by men as her Facebook event and gig poster elegantly display – begins with one of her new tunes with a distinct country feel, which was the path she took with her last LP “The Brighter Side Of…” particularly heightened by the pedal steel in this instance.

She has a quality band behind her this time around and I feel it provides substance to her previous solo and duo performances of the past couple of years since she relocated from Sydney to Melbourne. She’s really enjoying herself and looking to be “at one” with the new songs which are prominently conveyed this evening.

The rock edge swings back with the familiar tune “Why’d You Have to Kiss Me So Hard?”. Laura’s guitar still drives the performance with the pedal steel guiding us around the stories. The new lead guitar expands each song to a place that feels comfortable, and just a little rowdy.

She showcases a self-confessed ‘scary’ song, “Straight to the Bar” which brings with it a new, Kaiser Chiefs kind of edge to the set.

“What a Treat” (Imbruglia’s upcoming LP) sounds as if it may end up being just that – a treat! If tonight’s performance is anything to go by, it’s certainly a product you will need to look out for towards the midway point of 2013.

It is with pleasure that, set up elegantly by the talent produced by the Slow Galo, a concise and musically constructive support from Mid-State Orange, and a welcome return to a full-band setting by Laura Imbruglia, that I christen this the first show in my review series to receive 5/5 MELTING POTS OF GREATNESS!

Melting Pot’s Roving Reviewer rocks up unannounced – where will he be next? Find out by checking back in every few weeks to find out about some of the other brilliant acts skating around this magnificent musical city of ours.

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

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