Live Review: Kim Churchill + Microwave Jenny – Norfolk Basement (19.05.12)

Last week saw Kim Churchill‘s national tour roll into Western Australia, with a selection of dates, including Saturday night’s show at Fremantle’s Norfolk Basement. The venue’s intimate nature providing perhaps the perfect setting to see the evenings two acts at work.

Sometimes keeping things simple is the right way to go. Sometimes you just need to strip everything back to basics, and that’s certainly what the opening act Microwave Jenny did. With just a guitar and vocals, the Sydney duo took no time at all in grabbing the audiences’ attention. Moments into the first song, you kind of knew it was going to be a beautiful performance. There were furtive glances, loving looks (they just recently got married) and plenty of striking harmonies.

The chemistry between the two certainly aided the performance, giving their songs of love and longing a believability that may otherwise have been lacking. They were also charismatic performers, gradually growing more comfortable on stage as the set progressed, before bringing things to a close in style with a track, which featured a mash-up of many a hit, with the duo at one point trading off verses from Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” and Gotye‘s “Somebody I Used To Know”; a striking and enjoyable end to an impressive set.

It was then time for Churchill to take the stage; armed with a guitar, a few harmonicas, and a kick drum; a veritable one man band for the evening. Churchill kicked off proceedings with a solid cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Girl from the North Country”. Pretty early into the set it was clear that Churchill is not only an impressive guitar player, with a laudable range. He is able to deftly shift from a bluesy style with plenty of kick drum and volume, straight into quieter moments which demand more finesse.

This was one of those evenings where audience, artist and venue all came together to create an impeccable performance. That’s to say that the intimate nature of the venue, and the receptiveness of the crowd, allowed for Churchill to play plenty of quieter material; and there was a sense of connection between Churchill and the audience. With the audience ultimately being rewarded for their responsiveness with a particularly impressive rendition of Bathed in Black from Churchill’s latest record Detail of Distance.

All in all it was a marvellous evening, with each performance offering something slightly different, but equally entertaining and enjoyable. My only gripe of the evening was the ninety or so minute wait for things to kick off once the doors had opened. But in hindsight I can definitely say it was worth the wait. Here’s hoping however it wont be too long a wait before these two artists head back to the West.

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Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.

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