Melbourne’s tram network was doing its job for once and I found myself blazing along Swanston Street. So when I arrived at St Michael’s with an amazing amount of time to kill, I thought I could collect thoughts, do a bit of street press reading, and maybe mull about discovering some wonderful church architecture.
But instead I was stuck outside, enduring Mother Nature’s way of inflicting Antarctica on us Melburnians. So care of a miscommunication with music publicists, there I was, stuck outside the church and missing Georgia Fair’s support slot. I reckon I stood there in my lame old torn jumper for about an hour while people in trench coats and thick jackets walked by to fill the pews.
And well, what a nice little turn in mood I did take once I entered. Lisa Mitchellstrode out on her lonesome and began things with a lovely little poem. She spoke so softly that she was nearly whispering and this was made the more spectacular as the acoustics of the church allowed for a ethereal type sound enveloping her voice. When the band finally came on stage after two pieces, the instruments sounded amazing. The lineup was made up of many members but was also strangely simple: guitar, bass, piano and drums plus a choir of three ladies. They all played with great tightness and didn’t put a step wrong. The choir especially added an element of fullness to the set.
“Coin Laundry” was full of cuteness, while newer songs showed a small step towards an expansion of the pop sphere that she was working in with her first album. A lot of her newer songs (one which I believe was titled simply “Love Letters” – don’t quote me on it) displayed a slight movement towards a country style but in a way it was a little too quirky to be country. It was really charming to hear in this type of setting. Many songs encapsulated a playful tone and tackled silly little subjects that plague everyday life.
The major thing that I found amazing about this gig was the setting. There was a strange juxtaposition with the grand building hosting a small yet sweet singer such as Mitchell but one thing that did blow that out of the water was the acoustics of the place. St Michael’s just delivered with a wonderfully crisp sound that hugged the room. More churches as venues please.