Live Review: Katie Noonan with Elixir – Trak Showroom, Melbourne (22.05.11)

Katie Noonan’s voice is so powerful, yet so delicate it’s hard to think about anything else than what is happening on stage. Elixir is a trio who have been one of Katie’s many musical projects in the jazz world ever since the festival rollicking days of george. Her voice is perfect to this style of low key intimate atmosphere and it’s amazing to see her career come to this point.

But of course, despite her prominent vocals, it isn’t all about Katie. Her husband Zac Hurren on the alto sax plays solos which float by in a haze of beautiful musical mist (if there is such a thing). The soft plucking of Stephen Magnusson on acoustic guitar rounds out that completes the metaphorical musical circle. Tonight, these three talents gave us a combined performance in two sets which was quietly astounding.

The trio were playing cuts from their album which had literally was finished recording a week prior to the gig. To be released later this year, the album will consists of tunes which feature words from the poems of Thomas Shalpcott. The words formed beautifully in songs like “Hemispheres” swirling around in a sea of blissful sound. Older songs like “Sleeping Soundly Peacefully” felt not at all odd in the huge sounding room within Trak.

All in all this performance had hardly any faults with it. If there was one, it would be the weird choice of venue. I suppose it was an environment I was slightly not comfortable in, but a place which has waitresses walking around in stilettos and short skirts while guys were parading around in their leather jackets and gold rings. It was a small blemish, but the band were not at fault for that.

The trio also had a hand at a couple of ‘tributes’ (Katie explicitly said that she’d prefer that to ‘covers’) of some songs out of left centre. Radiohead was taken on with a stunning version of ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place” while in the second set, we heard Joni Mitchell’s “My Old Man” done to perfection as well.

These three musicians are a talent which needs to be cherished and kept in a bottle. I feel tingles right now writing about it.

Photo by: Chloe Erlich

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