REVIEW: Ngaiire and Jac Stone, Rabbit+Cocoon, Sunday 5 January

The first Sunday of the New Year welcomed a stellar new live music venue to the Gold Coast; Rabbit Radio Presents launched by the Rabbit+Cocoon Arts Precinct. The first gig for this new live series was Sydney soul artist Ngaiire (pronounced Ny-ree); supported by Brisbane favourite Jac Stone. The newly renovated space provided both intimacy and serious technical clout with brilliant acoustics and vintage décor. Adorned with fresh flowers, lazy lounge chairs, beautiful lighting and wooden crates, the space proved a perfect afternoon hide.

Opening act Jac Stone was accompanied by an upright bass and electric guitar; creating a tight sound with rich vocals. Stone played both older songs from the EP Leave Me Here and newer material such as the single Trying to be Sorry. A crowd favourite and absolute standout was the tune Bad Things; made famous by the HBO Series True Blood.

Ngaiire then took to the stage; unmistakable in a shining silver top, bright shoes and colourful headpiece. Accompanied with band mates suited in matching white overalls, Ngaiire’s undeniable presence saw a sense of something very special creep through the waiting throng. From the opening notes of the appropriately titled Rabbit Hole it was clear that the hype surrounding this emerging new talent was entirely justified. Ngaiire’s voice is a standout; evident from her debut record Lamentations. In person however, it is simply breathtaking.

Packed with power through her whole range, the raw emotion and true harmony of her voice filled the room and totally captivated those in attendance. Introducing one of the standout songs from the record Around, she was both humble and humorous; giving the audience a deeply personal insight into the motivation behind her debut. The spiritual and haunting ABCD written about a dear friend she had lost in her home town in Papua New Guinea silenced the room and was closed with deafening applause. Whipping the crowd back into foot tapping and dancing Ngaiire followed with songs Uranus, Count to Ten and Fireflies. Credit must also be paid to the sound crew at Rabbit+Cocoon who worked hard to provide an audibly satisfying space; particularly for a setup as technically and musically diverse as the talent presented on the day. Rounding out the performance with lead single Dirty Hercules, Ngaiire brought the house down in a fitting finale complete with incredible vocal loops and surging bass line. Although she may have graced the stage as a ‘new’ talent, she was clearly at home and those in attendance will know they have witnessed a truly mesmerising talent beginning to take flight.

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