On a Saturday afternoon at the beginning of October, I reflect on how quickly the year has slipped by me. As I get ready to go watch Tones and I perform at Gold Coast’s music hotspot Miami Marketta, I start to think my year is quite tame by comparisons of the journey taken by this upcoming musical talent. In a short time Tones has gone from working retail, to busking in Melbourne, packing it all up for a “holiday” to Byron Bay to be signed up and now touring. A journey for some seasoned performers that is years in the making, without the successes already achieved by Tones. The fans are starting to stand up and take notice with such tunes as ‘Dance Monkey’, ‘The Kids are coming’ and ‘Johnny Run Away’.
Kick starting her 45 minute set with her third single ‘Never Seen the Rain’, it was clear there were many in the crowd that were true diehard fans. Fans that knew every song word for word, not just her top singles. This was acknowledged by Tones as she identified the loudest fan she has ever met. A fan that had waited for a few hours to ensure he could get on the barrier and had travelled two hours to attend this gig. He was kitted out with all her merchandise (plastered with the phrase ‘The Kids are coming’) and his response to her engagement with him was “I love you will you marry me?” A shy smile, laugh and acknowledgement were all required to ensure this was a night he remembered for years to come. I also think his respect, fandom and adoration will be remembered by Tones for sometime as well.
Tones’ transition from a busker in Byron to onstage performer was pretty clear the second she walked on stage when she removed her fresh new sneakers to one side and performed her entire set in her socks and a comfortable fresh tracksuit. The comfort with the crowd was evident from the start. It actually felt like a busker still performing to a crowd, albeit a typical larger one to that one what one might get in a street. A crowd that was drawn into the musical experience we all shared with both the artist and each other. There were strangers and friends singing and dancing with each other. She shared how she was asked, “Who was someone she drew inspiration from musically “? Her response was Adrian Eagle, her support act. His set nicely warmed up the crowd, especially with his hit ‘Positivity’ which had the crowd repeating his lyrics and joining in. She then broke out into his catch song getting an amazing response and interaction with the audience.
Tones proudly bought out an Aria Award that showcased her 10 weeks at number one on the Aria charts for ‘Dance Monkey’. An award she literally had received a few hours prior to going on stage and one that was specifically created for her. This historic achievement, in a career which has only spanned 10 or so months, surpasses some of the greats of Australian music such as Kylie Minogue, Silverchair and more. Placing the award down behind her keyboard you could see the excitement and sense of satisfaction as she broke into her number one single ‘Dance Monkey’. This song was sung word for word by every single person in the venue. It was a smaller intimate crowd (of 500 people) that witnessed an artist that has had a historic rise in the Australian music scene this year. This artist will definitely be performing in larger venues in years to come and have her career expanded more so internationally. I get the feeling this will be one of those shows in years to come where each crowd member will say “Remember that night at Marketta where we only paid $25 to see Tones and I and there were only 500 people there”? I know I will be saying this in five years’ time, if not sooner. It was a great night with great energy and I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings for this artist. I get the feeling we are only witnessing the beginning to a stellar career ahead for Tones and I.
Words by Marlena Katene
Images (c) Bert Hibbert