Sunday, 25 March 2012

Jen Cloher- Northcote Social Club

As I've mentioned previously it's been my stated objective this year to see more live gigs, finances permitting! Today I went to a matinee gig at the Northcote Social club and I must say it's a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon, a few quiet beers and some good homegrown music. It's the first time that I've seen singer songwriter Jen Cloher perform live and it was a lively show. Jen came to the attention of music lovers in 2006 with the release of her stunning debut album Dead Wood Falls with her band the Endless Sea. I bought the album without having heard a track having been convinced by an effusive review in The Age, and it was a mesmerising album, haunting and lush with Clohers' soft whispering vocals. Stripped back and melodic the music provided a great setting for for her captivating stories of love lost and love with it's wicked turns. She released a follow up in 2009 Hidden Treasures but I never bought that record for no particular reason.

Jen has just released a limited edition EP that was available only at the gig, she was able backed by local band The Merry Creek Pickers who are a mix of The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Grateful Dead and The Band, they had that relaxed jaunty feel where each member could swap instruments and provide adept harmonies when required. Also joining Jen was local singer Courtney Barnett who duets on Numbers which appears on the EP and has been getting a deserved flogging on RRR The Breakfasters. What surprised me was the strength and depth to Jens' voice she was more than capable of firing things up on the more uptempo numbers. She did a fantastic version of Rain from her first album, showcasing that wonderful raspy whisper.

The support act for the gig was Sweet Jean a new venture for the prolific Simon Nugent who was previously a member of The Wilson Pickers among many other local acts. They had that folk murder ballad style down pat, their vocals and instrumentation created a that dark nd bare sound that fits so well with that style of music.

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