There was a song on Phoenix’s Bankrupt album called ‘Trying To Be Cool”, which is a fair description for a lot people you see at gigs. I mean, maybe they really do dress and act like that, but surely there’s an essence to their gig persona where they really are just trying to be cool. One of the people who doesn’t match this descriptor is Blue Mountains musician Julia Jacklin. Playing Sydney’s Metro Theatre on the back of an increasingly extensive Northern Hemisphere tour, Jacklin just oozed class and cool as she held the attention span of the sold out venue for the entirety of her set.
Acting as main support for the night was the superbly odd Jaala. Noting that she would normally have a band in support with her, Jaala set about wooing and confusing the Sydney crowd for just short of 40 minutes. Having never listened to her before, I admittedly found it hard to become engaged with her opening tracks, despite her undeniable guitar skills and smooth vocals. With song material covering her love for board games, jigsaws, and dogs, you quickly came to realise that Jaala was as much a performer as she was a musician. Telling the crowd she loved her red and white socks (but hated the Sydney Swans), her set was all you’d want in a support act: good enough to maintain your attention, but different enough that you couldn’t wait to hear from the main act. Jaala was great, just not the great I’d expected.
Entering the stage to a Bee Gees classic, Julia Jacklin and her band set the tone for the set, as they swept into the grand “Hay Plain”. As my favourite track from her outstanding debut LP Don’t Let The Kids Win, I’d always thought it would be a great main set closer; alas it was just as good opening the set. A home crowd of sorts for Jacklin, she quickly moved into the swooning and soaring “Leadlight”.
Shuffling into “Motherland”, you quickly realise Jacklin’s band are all accomplished musicians; good enough to know when to step it up or tone it down all the same. Playing a new track for her sister and newborn child, she explained that the track was as much about herself as it was her sister. Toning it down just that little bit more, she took a solo turn and played the heart wrenching “LA Dream”. It was here her lyricism and storytelling stood out the most.
Dedicating the aptly titled “Elizabeth” to her best friend and musician Elizabeth Hughes, once again you got the feeling that Jacklin was genuinely just a great person. Moving into “Small Talk”, the track featuring everyone’s fourth favourite Scrubs actor (in descending order it goes Janitor, Ted, Dr Cox, JD), the crowd grew a little restless, as the people nearest to me decided it was a great time to drunkenly discuss how much they’d missed each other. There’s a nice sentiment there at least.
Moving into “Eastwick”, Jacklin noted that she’d written it after how sad watching Dancing With The Stars made her. We’ve all been there, so you could definitely empathise. The upbeat “Coming Of Age” was quickly proceeded by fan favourite “Pool Party”, before Jacklin thanked the crowd once more and moved into the main set closer and album titular track “Don’t Let The Kids Win”.
Re-emerging for a two track encore, Jacklin commanded the stage as she shattered everyone’s hearts and feelings with “Same Airport, Different Man”, sans band. Welcoming the band back once more, she announced that they were to close on a little song they’d written, which was their cover of The Strokes’ best ever track “Someday”. It was this wit and execution that pretty much summed up the entirety of the set and artist that is Julia Jacklin. She’s that musician that could easily have been your best mate at school, or that one friend your mum will inevitably ask about when she checks in to see if you’re eating properly and doing your washing. She’s a class act; there’s nothing not cool about that.
Julia Jacklin is currently touring Australia. For tickets, dates and all the details you need, head over to her Facebook Page.