SA: Julia Jacklin – Cluny Newcastle – 6-11-16

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In a new regular feature we’re calling ‘Supporting Artists’ we’re concentrating on reviewing an up and coming support act, rather than concentrating on the headliner. Our first SA to feature is Julia Jacklin.

Tonight the new kid on the block Aussie songstress Julia Jacklin is supporting other new kids on the block Whitney who are across here from Chicago. Interest is high and as I approach The Cluny there are lots of bodies milling around inside and outside of the venue. There are only a handful of tickets left at the door and these are soon snapped up. This can only be good news for Julia; it appears she has got herself on a hot ticket and should get some good exposure on this UK tour.

However, as Julia takes to the stage it appears that she has garnered a lot of interest on her own right and the audience are not all strictly Whitney fans. The healthy crowd that have gathered in the venue shuffle forward in anticipation at her allotted show time. The strains of Shania Twain fill the PA as Julia and her band hit the boards; and without further ado she starts her set with ‘Hay Plain’ – a brooding number that lulls and rises from her debut album. Her voice sounds sweet and the mix is good and at the end of the tune she briefly introduces herself and asks if anyone else in the audience likes Shania Twain and if so recommends that they read a bit more of her interesting back story on Wikipedia…I don’t know if it’s irony, maybe I should have asked her when I briefly bumped into her later on.

Other tunes that follow include recent upbeat single ‘Coming of Age’ and ‘Leadlight’ before the rest of the band leave Julia alone with her guitar on stage to serenade the audience with ‘LA Party’ which is an incredibly sombre tune which the audience almost hold their breath too whilst they listen. The beauty of intimate venues such as The Cluny is the interaction that can take place between audience and artist and tonight there are some little appreciative exchanges from which a mutual admiration society is formed.

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‘Pool Party’ is performed and for me it is the highlight of the set – an anguished song disguised by its lolloping early arrangement gives way to a fraught latter half complete with an excellent tortured country style guitar solo towards the end of the song. The set closes with just Julia and her drummer, whom is providing backing vocals, playing us out with ‘Don’t let The Kids Win’. It has been a short but sweet affair but she is back on these shores in 2017 when you will be able to catch a bit more of her.

The audience swells further for headliners Whitney as they ride the surge of interest in their debut album. Having not heard much or caught glimpse of these guys before tonight I am pleasantly surprised to see how they line up with constantly hooded lead vocalist Julien Ehrlich also playing drums at the front centre of stage….drummers that sing amaze me; I can’t comprehend the co-ordination! The venue is chocker and crowd lap up the tunes as the band put in an incredibly tight accomplished set complete with Bob Dylan covers. The tunes are largely culled from their debut album and the trumpet and guitar are recreated live to spectacular effect with even more interplay in the live environment. Their quirky sound and great tunes have prompted this reviewer to make a note to investigate them further despite Julien saying that Nottingham was his favourite place on the tour – he’s going to have to work on that crowd interaction!

All in all a good night; the future for folk, indie country pop is incredibly bright with these talents coming through.

Photographer – Dom Mallatratt

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