Thursday night saw Didirri’s Measurements Tour hit Fremantle, for the first of two shows across in the West. Joining the Melbourne singer-songwriter were fellow Victorian Merpire and Brisbane’s Emerson Snowe.
Merpire, tasked with kicking off proceedings, did a good job of warming up an already substantial crowd. It was a wholly stripped back affair with just an electric guitar for accompaniment. It was a good performance, and Rhiannon Atkinson-Howatt really does have a wonderful voice. I’d have perhaps liked a bit more variation within the set, but there is only ever so much you can do with just your voice and an electric guitar. “Hauntways” was a particular highlight.
There is no denying that Emerson Snowe has stage presence, somewhat off kilter but completely captivating. Armed with just an acoustic guitar Snowe paced the stage, bantered with the audience and delivered a wholly entertaining set. With apparently 75% of the setlist consisted of songs written within the last two weeks, he’s clearly a prolific songwriter too. “You Mean The World To Me” and “Androdygnous” were two songs that particularly stood out, but it was a strong set all round. There’s seemingly a strong theatrical or performative element of Snowe’s live show, and whilst some might find it irritating, I personally felt it only added to the performance as a whole.
There is a sincerity to Didirri’s music that is both admirable and endearing, whilst his songwriting is also thoughtful, relatable and clearly somewhat cathartic for the writer. Indeed, there is an interesting dynamic and juxtaposition at work between the songwriter and the performer. Backed by a three piece band, there is a dynamism to the singer-songwriter’s performance, with some impressive guitar work from both Didirri and his accompanying guitarist. Early highlights included the Melbourne songwriter’s cover of The Monkees’ “Randy Scouse Git”, and “Bird Sounds”, the latter of which got a big reaction from the crowd.
The first half of the set was largely “upbeat”, but things took a decidedly more introspective and emotional turn in the latter half, with Didirri quipping “this will be your last chance to dance”. Whilst, it might not have been upbeat, it was certainly engaging and captivating, with the crowd remarkably hushed and receptive. “Blind You”, “Jude” and “Formaldehyde” were real standouts (though there were no missteps to be fair), with the latter gaining greater resonance due to the accompanying introduction. “I Can’t Get Last Night Out Of My Head” was a fitting closer, with Didirri leaving stage shortly before the end, to allow his band a moment in the spotlight.
It was a captivating performance, there’s an honesty to the performance that you can’t help but admire and appreciate. There’s no bullshit, no gimmicks, it’s just quality songwriting delivered extremely well.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Didirri’s Measurements Australia tour continues tonight at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel, before finishing up at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory on Thursday. The tour will then head to North America for a run of shows in Canada and the United States, for more information and to get tickets click HERE
The reviewer attended the show at Mojo’s Fremantle on November 8th.
Header Image taken by Daniel Hanssen at Yours & Owls Festival 2018