The night before the release of her much anticipated second album Crushing, alternative-country singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin performed at Chevron Gardens as part of Perth Festival. Perth received the honour of being the first stop on her international album tour, heading to Europe and North America throughout the first half of 2019.
Jacklin was scheduled to perform alongside American alternative rock artist, Julien Baker—but the singer pulled out not two weeks before the event—all remaining dates on her 2019 tour—due to “unforeseen personal matters”.
Her place was swiftly filled by Melbourne’s Jess Ribeiro who swooned the crowd with her lo-fi indie rock tunes. Ribeiro’s in-between-song-banter was strong, with quirky anecdotes about internet dating and growing in Perth’s sister town of Armadale, Victoria, adding that we must surely be home to the ‘good sister’—a comment that received much laughter and heckling from the young, short-fringed, vintage-clothe-wearing crowd.
After a bit of a lengthy intermission, Julia Jacklin and her band took to the stage, opening with her new the gut-wrenching ballad Body—immediately captivating the packed-out venue.
The first half of her set consisted mainly of tracks from her critically-acclaimed debut album Don’t Let the Kids Win, including the title track, Pool Party and Leadlight, much to the delight of her fans.
Full disclosure, I’m a little bit of a fan myself.
I was immediately taken with her angelic country tones and raw lyricism when I first heard her debut album at the end of 2016. It got me through the stressful end of semester assignments and was played on repeat through the proceeding summer break—as I’m sure my close friends and family can confirm.
From first hearing Jacklin perform live on the cramped stage of the Four5Nine to a crowd of no more than 40, it came as no surprise that just two years later I would witness her perform beneath the Perth skyline to a couple hundred.
Her vocals are truly something to behold. She faultlessly glides through an impressive vocal range, accompanied by Western-inspired guitar melodies. Jacklin’s unique sound is both transportive and enthralling.
The remainder of her set was comprised of fresh material from the latest record. Standouts include Turn Me Down—with its otherworldly riff and disjoined tempo—and the heart-breaking Good Guy with its honest and unashamed lyrics about loneliness and the self-destructive lengths we sometimes go for connection.
Jacklin’s set ended all too soon with the head-bopping Pressure to Party which got everyone grooving in their seats.
If this concert is anything to go by, Jess Ribeiro and Julia Jacklin can look forward to long and successful careers in the live music scene, both locally and internationally. The night was made all the sweeter by the beautiful Elizabeth Quay surroundings and the seamless organisation of the Perth Festival team who have worked hard to bring our hometown alive this summer.
Julia Jacklin’s new album Crushing is out now. Jess Ribeiro is set to release a new album soon.