Given all the planned developments, this may have been my last visit to The Palace as a music venue. There were high hopes for an awesome night and the calibre of talent delivered as expected.
An acoustic set from The Growl offered gruff, rich vocals from an old soul, far belying the youth of one Cameron Avery on stage with a guitar. Bluesy gritty rock vibes were the name of the game here with attitude and a new track thrown into the mix.
The voice got a little bigger with each tune, eventually delivering the shell shock moment – the guitar was ditched for a mouth organ and a little beatbox loop. Completely unexpected and out of the woodwork, this was the sort of thing that delivered assertiveness and assurance not even anticipated at the beginning of the set. Would love to see this with a band in tow.
Brisbane lads The Creases were up next, a bunch of fresh faces and their infectious uptempo rock. Already a few fans in the crowd latching on to a good thing, and with catchy sounds that transported to another time and place, I definitely want to hear more from this lot.
If the sound wasn’t impressive enough, a few movements around the stage were made to show off some multi instrumental talent. There was even a little #TBT moment with a cover of Tal Bachman’s ‘She’s so High’ – a long suppressed tune but instantly recognisable.
Starting acoustic, Jake Bugg got underway, still sounding like someone from a bygone era with very few words to share during the night beyond the lyrics sung.
Not even a year since first seeing Jake Bugg live, and everyone was just as excited and perhaps even a little louder with their singing and cheers.
With this being the second show at The Palace, one thing was clear – the venues were growing and so were the crowds, but the performance was just as faultless, never seeming to put a note out of place. Witnessing the amazing guitar work up close was just spectacular, skills like second nature with fervent delivery whatever the song.
With all the claps we could have been led down any path including a little hoe down but a seamless rhythm change delivered Seen It All, before a little song called Me and You, the emotion in every word evident in Bugg’s face during a performance almost negated the need for anything else, more words or banter would simply seem redundant.
Even though it’s not a favourite of mine, the song of the night had to be Broken. Something happens when this is performed at a show, with a few notes gently strummed, and a sea of voices raised to the ceilings – a massive ask in a multi-level venue like The Palace, but accomplished. Even Jake Bugg seemed a little overwhelmed and in a humbled daze, needing a few moments at the end of the song to absorb it all.
Kingpin was still a new song played for the first time in Melbourne at last year’s show but now it was far more familiar amongst the sounds of Shangri La strewn throughout the night’s set, including the inevitable Slumville Sunrise.
An encore was inevitable, and in addition to Song about Love and wrapping up with Lightning Bolt, we got to hear a cover of Neil Young’s Hey Hey My My – a brilliant song, and a brilliant rendition – given that its made it into the set both times I’ve seen Jake Bugg I’m hoping this remains a staple.
Last year’s show wasn’t a fluke and I wasn’t the only one impressed, garnering from all the stunned faces walking down the street trying to recount everything they’d just witnessed on what could have otherwise been just another average Thursday night. It’s moments like this you hope it’s not too late to save The Palace.