Some nights I think we all deserve to hear a bit of good music - especially given the amount of boring, soulless tripe that many radio stations subject us to. Last night at GoodGod Small Club was one such evening that allowed Sydneysiders that very priviledge, treating us to one of Sydney's finest emerging talents, alongside two from Melbourne, as headliner Ainslie Wills came to celebrate the release of her new single "Stop Pulling The String".
First up was Sydney's Brendan Maclean, perhaps best known for his ever-so-popular Twitter feed, triple j hosting duties and an upcoming appearance in The Great Gatsby. But he's an accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right, and you'll often find him strumming away on his ukulele (named Murphy Brown) or keyboard at gigs around the city and/or Hamilton Island. His songwriting has progressed impressively over the years, with some of his most recent tracks proving to be standouts. Musically he sits somewhere in between talents like Rufus Wainwright and Patrick Wolf, a sentence which probably reminds Brendan of a dream he once had/wishes to have... but that's another story.
In addition to his original material, which included tracks about his abstract looking boyfriend, turning into ones father and not falling in love with comedians, Brendan cleverly tied in a cover of Katy Perry's "Fireworks" and Robyn's "Dancing on My Own". All in all, a very entertaining set from the ever impressive performer. Keeping it all connected, Brendan mentioned that in his first ever radio stint, Ainslie Wills was the first artist he ever played. Some things do indeed come full circle.
Next up was the highly acclaimed "neo-folk" singer/songwriter Caitlin Park, who battled through some sound issues to put together a stunning set. I am a huge fan of her album Milk Annual and have repeatedly been thwarted in my attempts to see her recreate the record live. Kicking things off with album opener "How's Your Wife", with new addition Sam Brumby on drums and Eliza Fawcett on keys, samples and backing vocals, Caitlin did not disappoint.
With her emphasis on samples, and even an acapella number in "Not The Light", that ended the show, Caitlin is far from your typical performer, reminding me of a band like Tunng rather than an artist like Kate Miller-Heidke. She shows incredible range in both the diverseness of her music and of her voice... and with clever covers of songs like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme, she shows she doesn't take it all too seriously, either. In a musical world where most artists are trying so hard to sound like everyone else, Caitlin Park shines as a unique talent whose music is waiting to be heard. With a few new tunes on display tonight, a new album is due in 2013.
Not to be outdone, Ainslie Wills came on to prove that you don't need to be sitting outside the box to impress. The Melbourne singer/songwriter, backed by a four piece band, opened her set solo - just her and her guitar - blowing the crowd away with an impeccable voice, superb songwriting skills and an aura that reminds me equally of Martha Wainwright and Leslie Feist - both women who have had a great amount of success in their own rights, while always doing things their own way. Ainslie strikes me as a very similar artist.
With covers being popular all through the night, Ainslie delivered the standout - a rousing version of Broken Bells' "The High Road". "Fighting Kind" - a single from earlier this year - also went down a treat - while the song of the night, "Stop Pulling The String", was a beautiful way to end what was a breathtaking set from this emerging Melbourne talent. Things should only get better for the songstress, as she will be releasing her debut album You go your way, I'll go mine in March 2013. I for one can't wait to hear it.
I really should treat myself to nights like this more often... and you should to!