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Jamie McDell - Gig Review: Jamie McDell @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 4/5/2018

06 May 2018 // A review by ShelleySketch
On Friday Jamie McDell released her new album Extraordinary Girl and last night she celebrated the release with an intimate show at the Tuning Fork. This show was also the first to kick off her Extraordinary Girl NZ Tour.

As I arrived at the Tuning Fork, the first thing I noticed was how part of the crowd was sat at the tables and the younger crowd was sat on the floor up by the stage. The crowd on the floor seemed very excited, with the first row of girls adorning their Extraordinary Girl shirts they had just purchased. I took my place up amongst them.

The Miltones took the stage and the crowd at the back moved forward, however the crowd that were sat down remained seated. It was an interesting experience but also quite nice at the same time. There’s something different about just relaxing and enjoying the music. Mildly also acknowledging it was a first for them. The Taite Auckland Live Best Independent Debut award winners came on stage amidst some great lighting and dived straight into their set. The Miltones energy was there from the start as the band made use of the space they had. They all looked like they were so happy to be here. At first the set seemed like it was going to be leaning towards more upbeat, country-style tracks, which isn’t a bad thing, but then vocalist Milly Tabak slowed it down to a couple of track that seemed more slow and soulful. Keyboardist Guy Harrison seemed to be feeling it a lot and even added more to the performance with his backing vocals and his addition of a trumpet. The band has grown since I last saw them, now consisting of Guy Harrison on keys, Chris Marshall on bass, Tom Broome on drums and Liam Pratt still on guitar duties. But the newest members seemed to just amplify their performance. Despite the occasional bit of bad feedback through the speakers/monitors, the band played a great set that the crowd clearly enjoyed.

But then the time finally came that people had come to see, a recently absent Jamie McDell was back with new music and on the stage in front of a NZ crowd. At this point the whole crowd stood and packed in closer to the stage. There were a few young girls up the front who looked star struck and looked as though they were experiencing their first gig. This clearly proved that Jamie appeals to all ages in some way. Jamie took the stage in what looked to be a beautiful floral pantsuit. Her and her 4-piece band kicked off her set with recent single from her new album, Tori. Quite a bit of the crowd were singing along. But obviously she couldn’t not play the classics that everyone loves, getting the crowd to stop and clap to help intro Dumb.

Jamie seems to be quite the comedian as well, telling the crowd All I Need was about only needing her Subaru Legacy. Then as she tuned her guitar after the song she made jokes about how she’s tuning and she’s a “proper musician”. That followed with “Does anyone know who Jimmy Buffet is?”. It turns out quite a few people did. She then told the crowd her next song Paint on a Sign was written in Nashville about missing the ocean and it’s what she calls her Jimmy Buffet song. Her next track Five Years from Now was dedicated to the girls doing merch for them. But Jamie seemed excited to play Wicked Man which she couldn’t record with a band and she believes this is how it should sound.

Jamie and her band may not have been going crazy around the stage, but the music really spoke for itself. The band then departed the stage as she performed Extraordinary Girl by herself before Cass, Nick and Tom joined her on stage to perform another beautiful acoustic track.

Jamie's vocals were very powerful and didn’t falter throughout the night. As she went on to play Slow Dream Boat she got the crowd to sway. Nick Dow then played the violin as well and it was a beautiful extra element. When Jamie addressed the crowd, there was no doubting that occasionally her voice sounded a bit more country than usual. It turns out that while recording in Nashville, Jamie developed another personality called Jemima. Jemima wanted to party with us and kicked off the track Lady in Waiting. But during the performance Jamie announced it was going to get strange and said she wants to teach us some line dancing. After a quick briefing she jumped into the crowd next to me and the whole crowd line-danced together as the band continued to play. It was a very fun experience and the crowd maintained it a bit longer after Jamie returned to the stage.

Tami Neilson was spotted in the crowd and Jamie thanked her as well, for being a part of the album before telling the crowd she is an “Extraordinary Girl”. Then came a huge throwback Life in Sunshine which Jamie told the crowd gave her huge commercial success and made her quite a bit of money, which is funny considering it’s about getting sunburnt feet. Jamie played a short encore and thanked The Miltones before finally ending her set with an old song, Crash. After she departed the stage she went back by her merch to meet anyone and everyone. It was a nice way to end a great show.

Jamie McDell has returned with a bang and I’d have to say we are happy to see her. There’s no mistaking that her voice and personality are really going to continue to push her into further success. It was a great, intimate show and I recommend trying to catch her on tour and listening to her new album. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Review written by Shelley Te Haara

About Jamie McDell

Jamie McDell was brought up in a musical family and started writing songs from a young age. Winner of Best Pop Album at the 2013 New Zealand Music Awards.

"If you were going to put money on Kiwi music's "next big thing", Jamie McDell is your best bet... her homemade videos have turned her into a YouTube sensation, leaving industry heavyweights predicting global success for the beach-loving girl from Mangawhai." - View, The Sunday Star Times.

"Jamie Mcdell's cover [of One Direction's 'One Thing'] reminds us of Jewel. And that's a good thing!" - Perez Hilton

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jamie McDell


Extraordinary Girl
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Ask Me Anything
Year: 2015
Type: Album
All That I Wanted
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Six Strings And A Sailboat
Year: 2012
Type: Album

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