19 Feb 2020
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Julia Deans - Gig Review: Julia Deans @ 50 Gorillas, Dunedin - 23/08/2018

25 Aug 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

The Broken Heartbreakers front woman Rachael Bailey has the half full, yet filling, venue hanging on her every word. Her second song I'm Happy That You're Not Around leaves the listener in no doubt what it is about.  

She follows with a song which is lyrically opposite, titled; Don't Even Think About Leaving. Bailey is a talented guitar player, and during this song her arpeggio guitar technique is as faultless as it appears effortless.

Violinist Flora Knight joins her for a song called Yesterday, which Bailey admits is a song title that has been used before. Knight’s violin playing adds depth, and texture.

Her last song, Somebody, Please begins as acapella. There's a strong Irish lilt in her voice, with vocal gymnastics, as per traditional Irish singing.

It’s just one of her seriously great songs, and her brief set, was the perfect warm up for Julia Deans. You could have heard a pin drop throughout.

Julia and her four-piece band take the stage at 10.04pm, and she straps on her trade mark bright red Fender Coronado.

Gosh, she has a great voice, I suspect she’s been seeing a vocal coach.

Julia's second song has great vocal harmonies, which by the end of the night has become standard operating procedure. Including encores, her set is 1 hour 20 minute long.

Julia is touring her new album We Light Fire, so there’s many new songs. Tunes which are known to the crowd, like The Wish You Wish You Had from Modern Fables, really got the crowd going.

From early on it’s plain to see and hear how tight Julia's band is. Although they’re on a 3-foot-high stage in front of a hundred plus people, the vibe on stage is relaxed and fun. They’re a really polished unit, playing like they’re in a cousin’s lounge, and having a ball.

A few songs in, Julia swaps the Fender for an acoustic guitar, it doesn’t work, everything is tried, but still it's a no go.

Anyone can rock, when it's going well, but to face an issue, bypass it, and nail the next song (in which she swapped to keyboard) takes true professionalism. Very well done Julia.

She played keyboard for a couple of tunes, then returned to “the naughty acoustic guitar,” as she quipped, before speaking in the guitar’s voice with the crowd: “I just needed a little time, Mummy,” she says.

The vocal harmonies between Julia and the two women are world class, just stunning.

She dedicates one of the tunes from We Light Fire entitled The Panic, to ‘anyone who has had anxiety’. It tackles the issue in a light way; what could have been a bit morose, is up-tempo and playful.

The band leaves and Julia is solo with acoustic guitar for the new album’s title track.

“The lighting of fire throughout history from bonfires to candles or incriminating photos, no matter about our differences, we are inherently the same,” she explains.

It's an addictive song with great hooks band return. Julia wishes Nadia Reid a happy birthday they launch into Modern Fables, which lights the crowd up, there’s one last song in the regular set, and then they’re off.

The ‘encore’ chant goes up from the crowd of 100 + and the band returns after a very brief spell.

She thanks the crowd and says, “we're going to send you off with a couple of lullabies," A New Dialogue from Modern Fables is one of the two tunes which sends a happy crowd off home, some via the merch table.

In hindsight I really should have bought the album on orange vinyl.


Review written by Darryl Baser

 

About Julia Deans

Having first come to the fore as the sassy and beguiling front woman for platinum-selling band Fur Patrol at the turn of the century, the past decade has seen Julia Deans transition from iconic rock chick to glorious songbird.

Deans’ first solo album Modern Fables was released to critical acclaim in 2010, earning her a swag of nominations for several coveted musical accolades including the Taite Music Prize, the APRA Silver Scroll (for A New Dialogue) and Best Female Solo Artist and Best Pop Album at the NZ Music Awards.

Though it has been close to eight years between releases, Deans’ collection of songs We Light Fire, released in 2018, saw her return to the song writing fore enriched with experience and full of purpose. Inspired by world events, friends, and family, the new album examines both what it means to be human, and our spectrum of strength and vulnerability.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Julia Deans

Releases

We Light Fire
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Modern Fables
Year: 2010
Type: Album
A New Dialogue
Year: 2009
Type: EP

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