During her set Laura Veirs remarked that she was excited about seeing some of Australia’s wildlife while she was in the country. Well at the aptly titled ‘The Zoo’, she was able to experience some of Brisbane’s human wildlife, but in reality she was the one on show.
Earlier in the evening the subdued soloist Guy Webster took to the stage and promised to give us lots of mellow, depressing songs. While he delivered on the mellow, his songs were more sweetly sorrowful than depressing. He is an intense and introspective performer who set a laidback tone for the evening with his calm stage presence.
With the crowd building by the minute, next up were the lovely Jen Cloher and half the Endless Sea, represented by Michael Hubbard and Andrea Sumner. Opening with the title track from their debut album Dead Wood Falls the audience was treated to a relaxed set of atmospheric and bluesy tunes, including the sultrily styled ‘Rain’. Known for their honest and heartfelt sound, they seem to have a more emotive edge to their music when performing live. Not confining themselves to perform tracks only from Dead Wood Falls, they also shared some songs which may find their way onto the next album, including the mesmerising instrumental ‘Leave’, and the dark moodiness of ‘Fear is like a Forest’.
With her unassuming stage presence the inimitable Laura Veirs took to the stage with her drummer Tucker Martine at around 11.30pm, and opened with the evocative ‘Where Gravity is Dead’. From there Veirs continued on with a comprehensive set which featured a smattering of tracks from each of her releases, but heavily skewed towards those from her latest album, Year of Meteors. With such a quality filled catalogue of songs performed on the night, it is difficult to pick a highlight. However the dark and gritty country-soaked ballad ‘Black-eyed Susan’ would certainly be a contender, as would the wonderfully contrasting elements of ‘Cast A Hook In Me’.
Veirs is an enigmatic, yet unpretentious live performer who deftly demonstrates her mastery of a wide range of musical styles and unique arrangements which perfectly match her often dreamy and abstract soundscapes. She is a true poetic songstress, grounded in reality and yet channelling inspiration from the highest and most ethereal of atmospheres.
Closing her set with a song of journeys, the beguiling ‘Secret Someones’, it was an entirely appropriate close to a fascinating and diverse musical experience. All that can be said about Laura Veirs can be summed up by words from one of her own tracks, ‘my you’re a rare, rare find’.
I originally wrote this article for ‘The Dwarf‘