Review: Julia Jacklin @ Perth Festival
The singer-songwriter took over the Rechabite as part of Perth Festival, for a midweek pick me up
Photo credit: Sophie Minissale
The intimate indie-folk-rock sounds of Julia Jacklin filled The Rechabite Hall Tuesday February 21, and Wednesday February 22 as part of Perth Festival 2023. Releasing her ARIA award winning studio album Pre Pleasure in the last half of 2022 (learn more), and recently playing Laneway Festival across the east coast, it was an exciting time to catch the Naarm/Melbourne based singer-songwriter live.
Opening the night was Mimi Gilbert, a skilled guitarist with an angelic voice who shared stories and melodies in a humble, stripped-back, and acoustic fashion. With a sound that was rich despite its solo nature, and stylistically adjacent to Julia’s, it was a gentle and delightful way to ease into a school night at a gig. Revealed at the end of the set, was that Mimi would be returning as part of the Julia Jacklin band, and whilst it would have been nice to see a local Boorloo/Perth artist given an opportunity like this, Mimi was an excellent, and fitting support.
On a personal note, I had seen Julia Jacklin once before in 2020 which converted me from an enjoyer of her music to a fan. Since that experience I have been an advocate to anyone and everyone to catch her show live, because regardless of whether you know or like her music, she really is a remarkable live performer. As I expressed this to my friend in the audience for probably the millionth time, we fell silent as the band entered the stage.
With the illumination of the stage lights, Julia appeared in a wholesome red frock complete with puffed sleeves with frilled cuffs. Without a word, the group started with Hay Plain, before moving straight into a very well received to Perth, before the border closes, continuing to cover material from her extensive catalogue, pulling together the hits and fan favourites from the past 7 years into one complete set list. Not speaking much between tracks to begin with, she eventually began to chat more mid-set, expressing love for Perth, asking if the people behind the ‘chicken wire’ were okay, apologising to anyone who had work the next day, and thanking the audience for being at the show.
The venue seemed to suit the performance perfectly, the well-sized standing area and balcony layers meaning ease of visibility, even though some patrons on the back wall balcony had chicken wire in front of them. The lighting was magical, sweeping across the stage and audience, and the sound crystal clear - really emphasising how talented Julia Jacklin and her ensemble is.
Predominantly seen playing her guitar, Julia also tried her hand at a bit of wind chime, and tambourine throughout the night, asking fans not to judge her tambourine ability as it was something she was new at. What pierced through most from this performance though, was her voice, and the way in which she uses it. Effortlessly controlling its nature from tender and delicate, to sharp and powerful, remaining captivating and deeply emotional at all times.
Finishing the night with Pressure To Party the band left the stage to an uproar of cheers which grew into a demand for one more song. Julia Jackin responded by returning to the stage solo, picking up her telecaster, and speaking about how she had a lot of love for everyone in the room, however she generally finds encore’s awkward and forgot to tell the sound person to play the house music once the band had exited the stage. Despite this, and an uproar of fans who wanted Leadlight, she played her debut albums title track; Don’t Let The Kids Win, evoking goosebumps whilst simultaneously warming hearts.
With the final chord strum the night was over, and a packed-out Rechabite began their descent to a quiet tuesday-night on William Street. Walking to the car, I reflected how Julia Jacklin performing Perth Festival was an absolute treat, an incredible performer paired with top notch audio and lighting in a stunning venue.
Thanks to Perth Festival for letting us be a part of the experience, and to Sophie Minissale for the delightful snaps.