Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Excitement breathed into the night air last Friday for the crowds waiting in the cold and pouring rain for Megan Washington’s There There National Tour in Melbourne. Set in the renowned 170 Russell bar, the crowd entered, cool and relaxed, waiting patiently for the start of the show.

Greg Chiapello was first to play on stage. Most of the crowd gathered by the bar with some few enthusiastic individuals (especially one very keen fellow) hanging near the front of the platform. Hailing from his hometown in Brisbane, he kindly introduced himself to the crowd, announcing that this was his first official solo show for his debut single Hot Coffee. Performing without his band that night, he courageously took the stage with a guitar in hand and belted out some ridiculously impressive vocals (he told the crowd to envisage his imaginary band hitting the bass and backing his chorus’). Throughout the second half of his set, he transferred his skills onto the keyboards. His powerful voice reached certain pitches that blew the crowd’s expectations away.  Hot Coffee yielded some really chill melodies, a tune that I could picture myself swaying to on a hot summer’s day out on the deck with mates. Despite the absence of his backing band, Greg was still able to share his great keyboard and lyrical talent for the crowd. It’s safe to say that the night was off to a great start!

Following Greg’s performance, the crowd started to fill up and disperse into the mosh pit to await the next act. Sydney’s Montaigne, consisting of singer Jess Cerro and her supporting band, walked coolly on stage to take on the crowd. Already wowed by Montaigne’s chic stage presence, the crowd’s attention grew as they performed a strong opening act, drawing more people to the stage. Montaigne’s vocals sounded solid and flawless, showing off some peculiar sounds during their songs titled Fantastic Wreck and I’m Not a Friend. The song’s upbeat tone had the crowd bopping their heads along to the performance, allowing people to loosen up and enjoy the concert. Life started out softly, supported only by the bare minimum of backing instruments, which emphasised on the vocal and lyrical work of the song. This was also evident in their brilliant performance of Pontius of the Past. As the song progressed, Montaigne appeared to be completely immersed within the music, projecting the emotions felt in the song towards the crowd. Feeling engaged and sentimental with the band, the crowd was absolutely enthralled by the show and applauded their great talents. After their exit, it was time for the grand act!

As the curtains drew at 11:10pm, some members of the band entered the stage, followed by Megan Washington walking nonchalantly to the microphone with her hands in her pockets. As soon as the band opened up with Who Are You, Megan let loose and danced to the rhythm of the drums. This was followed by the jovial melodies of The Hardest Part and Get Happy.  The strong energy she maintained on stage and whilst playing the keyboards encouraged the already crowded floor to jump and sing to her music. The dynamic stage presence made the performance more enjoyable as Megan, covered in shimmering glitter, got down to her knees to engage the crowd. The only downfall of the show involved minimal sound disturbances transmitting from the amplifiers. The microphone relayed distorted feedback a few times, but Megan persevered throughout the concert. Her song Yellow & Blue allowed the crowd to catch their breath with the calm guitar riffs and soft beats. As her set came to a close, she was brought back on stage for three encores. Her finale My Heart is a Wheel was played with catchy guitar riffs and vocals to get the audience going one last time. Overall, Megan Washington performed a marvellous set that left the crowd breathless and satisfied with the night. Be sure to check out her album There There if you haven’t already!

Photographer - Karla Tolentino