Live Review and Photos: Angus & Julia Stone, Boy & Bear, Lavelle Collins @ The Palace, Melbourne 25 March 2010

By Luke Sutton
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Angus & Julia Stone

[Photos: Anna Kanci]
  Brother and sister duo Angus & Julia Stone are making their mark on 2010. With a new album, Down The Way having just been released, the Stone siblings embarked on an Australian tour to promote this wonderful new release for a wide circle of fans. The stage had been decorated into a furnished room, which lamps, old cameras, and a backdrop made of wallpaper decor’ and old photo frames. The term ‘Intimate gig’ could not have been truer, despite being played at the Palace.

Opening up the night in Melbourne was local singer songwriter Lavelle Collins. Playing solo with only his guitar in hand, Collins played a somewhat generic folk set.

Playing an acoustic set due to two of Boy & Bear’s band member’s being on tour with Laura Marling, Boy & Bear was comprised of a trio tonight. Reminiscent of the UK’s Mumford & Sons, Boy & Bear are such a wonderful band to watch perform. Such being, it was incredibly disappointing to see the three remaining members having to compete with the chatter of a crowd who really did not care. Many moments of perfect harmonies were blown away by the chatter of some stoned/drunk girls in the front of the floor area. Regardless of this, paying attention to the band, we were treated to a strong, honest and wonderful set which was closed with the excellent Mexican Mavis. Boy & Bear have an EP released in stores and online soon.

Angus & Julia Stone   Arriving on stage to cheers from the crowd and more than a few cries of “We love you Angus!” the Stone siblings began the night’s beautiful performance with a song titled This Love, with Angus taking piano duties, and Julia elegantly playing the trumpet and singing. Second song for the night was the single; And The Boys, received a rounding applause, as the whole crowd sung along with Julia. As Angus took centre stage to perform Yellow Brick Road, the very female dominated crowd once again declared their love for Angus. Scruffy beard, long hair, and wearing a hat, upon first glances, you wouldn’t think Angus had the voice to perform such a wonderful song. But when he takes to the stage, it’s a moment when you realise; ‘Wow, this guy is pure talent.

Julia explained that her next song, a performance of For You, was conceived through her emailing of songs to a man she loved, who never truly returned her affections, no matter how hard she tried to show him. The song itself was wonderfully performed, and is on the album Down the Way. Angus performed Hush, and explained to the audience that it’s about festivals, hitchhiking and the people you meet along the way.

Back tracking to album A Book Like This, fan favourite song Here We Go Again was performed, with Julia pushing her soft voice to its pinnacle, but never over doing the performance. A very surprising inclusion to the set saw Angus channelling his inner Neil Young, with an utterly perfect cover of Needle and the Damage Done. With his Neil Young cover acting as an introduction, Angus seamlessly blended it into Draw Your Swords, which was followed by a performance of EP track, Chocolate & Cigarettes.

Drawing on the ages of the 60’s and 70’s, Julia covered the Grease hit You’re The One That I Want, given a bit of a slow dance twist, the crowd participating with the ‘ooh ooh ooohs,’ bringing a smile to Ms Stone’s face. A track titled Old Mercedes Benz lead the way to the performance of Wasted, Julia’s soft and sombre voice leaving a mark on many in the audience as she moves through the song.

Angus & Julia Stone   The inevitable performance of Mango Tree has many in the crowd singing along, which is followed by Hold On, from Down the Way. Julia takes the time to speak to the audience at this point, explaining that she received a request to perform an unrecorded song for a fan called Black Jacket. It was a fantastic addition to the set, funny, quaint and quirky all at the same time. Angus watched on as Julia played, beaming a smile through his beard. As Julia finished, Angus, who is quite shy took to the microphone and said; ‘I am enjoying this night so much. And, Julia, I really don’t say this enough but I love you. You’re my inspiration, and the most amazing songwriter I know. Your my best friend.’ It was really a bit too much for Julia, who began to cry, as hugged her brother. If ever there was evidence that the bond between these siblings was something special, this was it.

As the set concluded, the audience were treated to performances of Black Crow and Private Lawns. After the lovely speech from Angus, these songs were highlights of the night. Leaving the stage for a moment, the Stone siblings returned for an encore of the highly anticipated Just A Boy. A cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams allowed Julia to bring out her inner Stevie Nicks, before bringing such a beautiful night to a close with Santa Monica Dream.

Finally seeing Angus and Julia Stone perform, I can honestly say that they are truly something else. Never have I seen such beautiful, honest and engaging performances from two singer songwriters who live and breathe their music. They are pearls among stones in today’s music industry.

Angus & Julia StoneAngus & Julia Stone available at iTunes

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Angus & Julia Stone