As anyone who has ever met me, or picked up an issue of Blank, knows I have been a massive A&J fan since Chocolates & Cigarettes was released in 2006. However their new album, and subsequent tour of the self-titled Angus & Julia Stone has left me with mixed feelings. Held at the Gold Coast Arts Centre I was close to the stage with a perfect view of the action.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The show was very Julia-centric with only three or four of Angus’ songs played, with little interaction between the siblings until half way through the show. Their new vibrato-heavy way of singing tends to create a strange rendition of some of their older songs, like Private Lawns and a blend in songs throughout the middle of the set left a few of the seated audience a little sleepy.
HOWEVER. There were some absolutely amazing moments in contrast! Julia really does engage with the audience and even had Angus joking at one point when an audience member coaxed him into playing Draw Your Swords. The encore that the two performed, as a duo without the band, was gentle and emotive and perfectly encapsulated the feeling that originally made the duo famous. Before they played new song Other Things Angus explained that “We were just lying there and we rolled a joint and rolled this song”, then half way through the song Julia started to sing Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, which added a fun element to the song.
The duo, along with their four band members, kept the stage setting simple with a dazzling light display for each song. They rotated instruments and swapped spots, with Julia taking a turn on the keyboards for Draw Your Swords. Performing two encore songs, the first saw the group crowded around one microphone for the intro, huddled together as one big stage family. Ultimately that is the feeling that an Angus & Julia Stone show leaves you with, a warm and inclusive sense of show and I would recommend seeing them to anyone with ears!