Sydney Festival Review: Weyes Blood makes her spellbinding Australian debut with bandmates Kirin J Callinan, Jack Ladder and more

It took three LPs and an EP for Natalie Mering aka Weyes Blood to finally make it to Australia, with the American musician making her debut on our shores earlier tonight at Sydney Festival’s Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent. Unaccompanied o our country by her usual band, she enlisted the help of a group of fantastic local artists to perform with her: the one and only Kirin J Callinan on guitar, Jack Ladder on bass, Tex Crick on keys and Daniel Stricker on drums.

A few months on from releasing Front Row Seat to Earth, her brief 10 track set lent heavily on its material. She opened with “Can’t Go Home”, performing sans instrument – just looped vocals and effects. It set a sombre tone for the evening; appropriate given the songs are, in her own words, “sad”.

And aside from a brief inappropriate “feminist” joke we won’t repeat here, it was indeed all business and sad songs. Kirin J Callinan brought some enjoyable electric flair to “Maybe Love” off of her Cardamom Times EP, while Jack Ladder and Daniel Stricker fleshed out tracks like “Generation Why”, which was a highlight of the night, “Used To Be”, “Seven Words” and “Do You Need My Love”, which also featured Tex Crick of The Pinheads.

Though only 28, watching Natalie perform feels like experiencing an artist well beyond her years – both vocally and lyrically. Take “Be Free” from her latest LP, which was another standout of the set:

It’s sad to dream
It constantly seems
Like there’s no light at the end of my tunnel
False dreams and promises
How do I get through to you?

You can start to see what she means by her “sad songs”. “Seven Words” saw Kirin “shred” some more, and featured the only special effects of the night – a model of the Eiffel Tower which lit up, sitting on her keys. As you do. Natalie jumped between guitar and keys through the set, and though this is a new band, they gave her sombre, spellbinding music exquisite life on the stage.

The night ended with a cover of Mike Oldfield’s “Moonlight Shadow”, seeing all four backing band members on stage together for the first time, and featured some brief but wonderful backing vocals from Kirin.

What made this night a special one, was not just the talent of the lead vocalist, but the accompaniment of some of Australia’s finest musicians. There was a beautiful energy to it all which made it a very enjoyable hour indeed. Don’t miss Weyes Blood as she tours the East Coast over the weekend. The dates are at the end of this page.

SETLIST:
Can’t Go Home
Maybe Love (Ft. Kirin J Callinan)
In The Beginning
Generation Why (ft. Jack Ladder and Daniel Stricker)
Used To Be (ft. Jack Ladder and Daniel Stricker)
Seven Words (ft. Kirin J Callinan, Jack Ladder and Daniel Stricker)
Do You Need My Love (ft. Jack Ladder, Tex Crick and Daniel Stricker)
Be Free (ft. Jack Ladder and Daniel Stricker)
Bad Magic
Encore:
Moonlight Shadow (Mike Oldfield Cover ft. Kirin J Callinan, Jack Ladder, Tex Crick and Daniel Stricker)

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Weyes Blood continues her tour around Australia with the following shows.

MELBOURNE: Friday January 20 @ Northcote Social Club with Lost Animal + Poppongene. Tickets on sale now. * SELLING FAST!

MELBOURNE: Saturday January 21 @ Sugar Mountain Festival. Tickets on sale now.

BRISBANE: Sunday January 22 @ Junk Bar (solo show). Tickets on sale from Oztix. * SELLING FAST!

The reviewer attended Weyes Blood’s Sydney Festival show in the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent on 19th January 2017.

Photo Credit: Prudence Upton