Live Review: Gordi + Xavier Dunn – Newtown Social Club, Newtown (28.08.16)

You know how much a ticket was to see one of my favourite artists play the last show on her current tour? $15. Fifteen Australian dollars. A year ago, I was in London spending that much on a pint of beer. Yeah, the beers were delicious, but I’d have definitely been more than happy to pay a fair bit more to see Gordi play the set she played to a packed Newtown Social Club crowd.

Coming to the end of a tour that covered the east coast, Gordi, her band and the supports were in fine form as they all enchanted the crowd in their own special way through out their respective sets. Main support for the night was Xavier Dunn. I’d never heard anything from him prior to his set, but if I were to describe him it would be the vocals of James Vincent McMorrow matched with the floating sounds of someone like Porter Robinson.

If I were to comment anything negative about the type of music Dunn was playing, it would centre on the use of the drum pad. I completely understand the massive market there is for producer based music and the financial viability of touring as a one piece as opposed to travelling around with a full band, but I think the use of drum pads within contemporary music has hit its saturation point. This, in no way, takes away from the quality of the set Dunn played. He’s definitely got some mad skills and vocals, as showcased on his sick cover of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”; which was probably one of the best covers of a song I’ve heard in a long time.

Entering the stage a little after 8pm, Gordi and her three-piece band moved quickly through the opening couple of tracks: the crowd standing in awe, jaws on the floor. With “Taken Blame” making an early appearance, Gordi took the time to welcome the crowd and discuss why she originally didn’t want to play a second Sydney show. ‘I was pretty reluctant to play this show initially, especially at the end of the tour… I didn’t want to play to no one.’ And you can’t blame her really. I’m sure the crowd were pretty stoked that she decided to put the extra gig on however.

Moving into the first relatively upbeat track of the set, the beautiful “Nothing’s As It Seems”, the set definitely hit its groove as the crowd grew into their own. Up next was “So Here We Are”, where Gordi moved away from her guitar to command the keyboard. The welcome introduction of a trumpet only added to the weight of the track, as “So Here We Are” quickly became the most full track of the set thus far.

Bringing out the opening support of the night Jake Meadows (I only caught the closing notes of his set, but from I heard he was pretty smooth) to feature on the harp, it was definitely the first time I’d seen a harp used in live music in almost a year. It was refreshing to incorporate such a traditional instrument into a modern set.

As the set began to draw to a close, you sensed Gordi was ready to offer up the best tracks she had, as she moved into “Wanting”, a track that’s currently in my top 10 favourites from this year. The simplicity of the track, from the guitar, to the keys, the lightest of percussion, the return of the trumpet and Gordi’s vocals, make the song what it is. As it slowly built and the track came into its own, the previously passive crowd finally got into the swing of things and it was bloody good to see. Closing out the main set here, you could tell the band would be back shortly with some sort of encore.

Returning to play “Can We Work It Out”, Gordi commented that she always feels a little funny about returning for encores, especially when she literally takes all of ten steps off the stage, only to return seconds later. Closing out the night with a cover of Courtney Barnett’s “Avant Gardener”, Gordi told a joke she borrowed from her dad and provided a version of “Avant Gardener” that, frankly, I much preferred to the original.

Having paid more for two beers than I did for a ticket, I’d like to think the Newtown crowd got more benefit out of what they witnessed at Gordi’s show on Sunday night, than I did from two tinnies. Gordi is an act that will go places, and I’ll be happy to pay a heap to see it.

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