Live Review: Patrick James + Warning Birds – The Ellington Jazz Club, Perth (14.11.13)

Thursday night saw Sydney troubadour Patrick James kick off the first of two intimate shows in WA in support of new single “Wait”, with a packed performance at The Ellington Jazz Club. None too shabby for an artist who hadn’t played a headline show in the state before.

The evening’s support came in the form of locals Warning Birds, albeit with a slight format change. Normally erring on the rockier side of the spectrum, the group stripped it back a bit for the evening, and kept things a bit folkier; with the fiddle work from Alex Vickery bringing just an extra bit of emotional edge to some of the songs. It was a great performance all round though; the perfect warm up, and the kind of performance that would have no doubt won the band some more fans.

Before that night I heard a fair but about Patrick James, I’d bought the EP a while back, but I’d never had the chance to catch him live. It’s safe to say there was a little bit of expectation there, partly because of what I’d read and heard from others, and partly from just loving his EP All About To Change. Suffice to say expectations were not only met, but also well exceeded.

Backed on stage by a trio of musicians, James worked through a set that mixed tracks from All About To Change with new material he’d been working on, including his new single “Wait”, as well as a striking cover of Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”. It was a captivating performance from James and the band, with great interplay between the quartet, and with the audience.

One of my favourite things about the Ellington as a venue, is that regardless of who is playing, or what they’re playing, the audience is always so hushed and attentive. There were times during the set the only disruption from the music unfolding on stage, was the occasional clinking of glasses. Sometimes the audience can make a difference to a performance, and in this case it all contributed to what was a beautiful and memorable evening of music.


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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.