Gig review: Patrick James + Bella Maree + Obi Miller, NightQuarter, Friday 7 October

The NightQuarter – in the city’s northern corridor adjacent Helensvale Shopping Centre – grows in popularity every week. Funky little fashion and homewares outlets, yummy food, and a thriving live music schedule mean the venue should be included on every Gold Coaster’s social calendar this spring and summer season.

We entered the ‘Quarter about 6.30pm, paid the $3.00 cover charge, and meandered down through the stalls into live music venue The Paddock. Beanbags, stools, and a bunch of bench seats overlooked by some exclusive-looking shipping container lounges have shaped The Paddock into a pretty impressive venue. The steel drum sounds of a diminutive young man calling himself Obi Miller welcomed us. He was a talented young man with natural rhythm and there’s no doubt we’ll continue to hear from him in the local music scene for years to come.

After a California Taco experience (including extra guac and a jug of yummy sangria) the soulful Bella Maree took the stage. Here’s a woman with a voice! With thoughtful lyrics and melancholy melodies, Bella captured the crowd swiftly and delivered a strong set, no doubt picking up a few new fans that had turned up for the main act.

Patrick James kicked his set off at 8.30pm on the dot, toying with the crowd by pretending to be the sound check guy. Some punters, unfamiliar with Patrick, took the bait, and had a good giggle when the sound check guy returned a minute later for his set of familiar songs the offenders may not have realised was his material. Patrick crafts a beautiful song, weaving lyrics and melodies together in a narrative tapestry. Pretty little love songs and catchy tunes about bugs and his home town of Port Macquarie peppered the set, and his popular cover of The Killers was met with rousing applause. He even hosted a brief sing-along to the satisfaction of the audience, and played admirably to their egos by declaring that the Night Quarter crowd were “better than Brisbane”, to whom he’d played the previous evening.

After the set, a quick chat with Patrick revealed he jets off to the UK very soon to play a variety of solo gigs and a support slot with a yet unannounced UK outfit at a bunch of bigger venues. I ask him what ‘s next, and Patrick informs me he’s been playing the guts out of his acclaimed Outlier album and, while his Australian tour is coming to an end and the UK should be a great experience, he’s most excited by new material he’s been working on. He notes how cool the new NightQuarter venue looks and assures me he’ll be back in the city for gigs in 2017.

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