MANE aka Paige Court comes to the scene fresh and wide-eyed to some, but once you listen to any of her songs, you’ll quickly get the impression that this young songwriter has emotional lyrics and stories to burn. Launching her House of Horror EP at a well-attended show at The Bluebee Room in the heart of the Adelaide’s CBD on a chilly Friday night, it became quickly evident that we were in the presence of an artist poised for great things.
Supporting MANE were Jordan Tito and Ollie English – two artists I’ve admittedly not been able to see perform previous. Tito was performing her first show since April and was quick to set the tone; the vocalist performed with a lone acoustic guitar, a mixture of covers and original that brought a warmth to the room. She comes across as being slightly coy still as she stood in central focus but as she sung her way through the set, Tito’s confidence swelled by the end and had us all captivated.
Similarly, English and his band brought some seductive blues through to the line up that was impossible to ignore. It’s not often that I’m completely sold by a band within the first few minutes of a set opener but there I stood, subtly trying to pick my jaw up off the floor. The set featured all new songs and a good show of musicianship from all players involved, though English’s vocals live were an undeniable highlight. Hints of Buckley, Gary Clark Jr and even Chet Faker came through strongly and it was obvious English was feeling it. We all were.
MANE, also joined by a full band, initially graced the stage solo for a few songs. A clever way of displaying how her material can work both acoustic and backed by a full band, Court’s stage presence early on set a great bar for the rest of the headline set. The House of Horror EP has become one of my favourites in recent weeks and seeing how the different layers, from the guitar chords through to Court’s evocative lyricism and storytelling come to life on stage was a real treat. The crowd lingered on each note and when her cover of “Grandma’s Hands” came thundering through at the end as we all demanded an encore, it was the perfect way to cap off an evening of extraordinary talent.
By the time MANE took to the stage, I was feeling comfortably confident in assuming that I was witnessing one of the best local live shows I’d seen in Adelaide in a little while. It had been a wonderful way to spend a Friday night and I knew I would be coming away from the experience with new artists to spread the word about.