5   +   10   =  

With Valentine’s day in the rear view, Joan & the Giants and their pals launched new single Bloodstream at the nautically decorated Clancy’s Fish Pub, on Saturday 22nd.

Kicking off the night, singer-songwriter Stacey Ann and her live band opened to an intimate crowd with original indie folk tracks like Hey Boy and debut release She. The local musicians also played two covers—a rendition of Florence + the Machine’s Hunger and Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams, performed in a harmonious three-piece acapella arrangement. Part gospel, part girl band, it had a feel to it that worked quite well.

Cecilia Brandolini continued the evening with serene piano melodies, celestial vocals and finger clicks, getting the crowd on their feet with tunes like Naive Trust and Red. Like the other opening acts, Brandolini’s set had an ad hoc feel to it which added to the night’s intimacy; at one point inviting any singers in the room onstage to form a mini choir.

Self-described heavy folk five-piece, Green Pools, played next with some enticingly unique arrangements such as a ukulele, electric guitar and bass shred. Playing songs like Mystery Charmer, Neighbourhood Hero and a cover of Matt Corby’s Wrong Man in their rustic rocky style. The band played with confidence and wit, even making an offhand reference to an intimidating swordfish hanging on the wall.

With multi-coloured fairy lights overhanging, Joan & the Giants made a booming entrance with upbeat folk tracks. Throughout the set, front woman Grace Newton-Wordsworth, performed with captivating energy evident in songs like Hold Me, Wolves and, of course, Bloodstream. Clad in a long flowing dress, her hair flails, wide spins and fierce vocals had a boldly intimate presence akin to Florence + the Machine’s live shows.

While many of Joan & the Giants’ songs were upbeat and high-spirited, there was one song, Strong Like You, that really stood out to me. A mellow song where it seemed Newton-Wordsworth poured her heart out a little bit more than she did in the rest of the set. Considering the band’s emotionally packed performance that night, that’s saying something.

In the venue, the audience was somewhere between 50 and 100; a moderate turnout for Clancy’s. It would have been nice to see a bigger crowd but everyone who attended looked like they had a fantastic time enjoying the remarkable local talent.

Common themes throughout the artists’ songs that night were: emotional depth, honesty and catharsis. There was something about the gentle nature and endearing energy of the folk genre which invited listeners to feel the music and its contents. With the performance Joan & the Giants gave, it was hard not to feel them reach out to the audience and deliver a stunning show.