Live Review: ‘Femme Locale’ feat. Rosie Catalano + Imogen Bel + Christine Jane – The Hive, Sydney (21.06.13)

Less than a month after taking over The Vanguard, the Femme Locale showcase made its return for round four on Friday night. This time, the crowd gathered in the cozy second floor of The Hive Bar to watch Christine Jane, Imogen Bel, and Rosie Catalano perform an intimate concert.

Christine Jane kickstarted the night with a set that was half covers, and half original songs. While she obviously has talent, it quickly became apparent that Christine is yet to truly find her voice. “Black Magic Woman” and “A Hard Day’s Night” were both within her vocal range, but they did not have the same level of texture or confidence that we started to hear with her own upcoming single, “Make Believe”; which made for a bit of a shaky set. Luckily, it’s only a matter of getting some more performance experience and a surer sound. With her enthusiasm and passion for music being genuine, I expect to see her around again soon.

Newcastle’s Imogen Bel had the most intriguing set of the night. The combination of her keyboard skills and those of her accompanying cellist created very powerful moods for each song. Whether it was the quirky nostalgia of high school parties in “Under The Moon”, or the moving “The Golden Age of Cinema”, Imogen held the audience captivated. Between songs, she told the audience about the events that had inspired her music, which kept everybody involved and the energy high. The highlight of her set was “Fighting The Good Fight”, which featured some of the most impressive instrumental work of the night — and was apparently about her old landlady. Enjoy her while you’ve got her, Newcastle: we’ll want to hear more of her in Sydney.

Finishing the night was the delightful Rosie Catalano. Her gentle voice and thoughtful lyrics were often coupled with sly one-liners that snuck up on you. (The topics of burying dead bodies, or dreaming up pornos come to mind.) While confessing that she didn’t write many happy songs, “Icicles” was one of the standouts of the night. And for somebody equipped with only an acoustic guitar, Rosie exhibited a real knack for creating atmosphere; a skill lacked by many-a-singer/songwriter. With a stack of talent and a brand-new EP, I anticipate that listeners with an ear for folky-pop will be seeking her out soon.

The sound system wasn’t really built for live music, but the pops and buzz throughout the night lead to the joke that it was the “vinyl edition” of the showcase. With the next night lined up for August at the Camelot Lounge, Femme Locale will be back to a big stage, bigger sounds, and — if you take my advice – bigger crowds ready for an impressive night.


This content has recently been ported from its original home on The AU Review: Music and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT