Julia Jacklin came to the stage with her honey-toned Fender Telecaster in hand.
The sold-out crowd at The Triffid (9 March) in Brisbane offered a warm welcome and applause while Julia and her band took to their positions and eased, without any need for words, into the opening track ‘Body’.
This tour follows the very recent release of Julia’s new album, ‘Crushing’, which has sold out in more places than just Brisbane.
‘Body’ is quite melancholic musically. It is however a fantastic piece of songwriting. The story follows her separation with an anonymous ex-partner who was a bit of a mediocre rebel.Click here for more photos from the show.
In the song, she seems to be glancing retrospectively into the scenes she had lived with this boy, wondering mainly if he would ever misuse the naked photo of her he still has in his possession. Which leads to the most powerful point of the song: “Eyes on the driver, hands in my lap, heading to the city to get my body back.”
I delve so much into this song because its themes are present throughout all of ‘Crushing’. The absence of her ex-partner can be felt in most of the songs and the album as a whole feels like a tender process of healing and a regaining of personal power.
Image © Creation Saffigna
It is, however, far from a typical breakup album.
What makes it unique is that it’s clear it was Julia who chose to leave her partner. So rather than being the tale of a heartbroken damsel, what the album illustrates is the nuanced, emotional complexity of a woman who has chosen to leave an unhealthy relationship in order to gain ownership of her own being, despite still being in love with the man she has left.
It is a subtle perspective rarely represented in popular music, and it is this very power that Julia has to articulate the difficult shades and positions of a woman’s emotional experience that has earned her an alter of adoration in so many hearts.
The songs ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’ and ‘Comfort’ are the best highlighters of this.
Her live performance is just as beautiful as her songwriting. She holds herself with grace while she uses that angel-feathered voice of hers to brush against the skin of the crowd.
Her music is for the most part gentle and her band is well acquainted with the art of maintaining subtlety and toying with silence. All the members have that rare skill of being able to put themselves aside for the sake of serving the sensitivity of the song; meaning the intention of Julia’s music can be received with clarity.
They played almost every song from ‘Crushing’, but still managed to include old favourites ‘Don’t Let The Kid’s Win’, ‘Leadlight’, ‘Pool Party’ and ‘Motherland’.
Image © Creation Saffigna
Young girls and guys alike could be seen swaying and staring entranced at Julia with big, puppy-dog eyes, wishing perhaps for just a faint smile and moment of eye contact.
There is indeed a certain spell that Julia casts in her wake and perhaps there is an intention behind titling the album ‘Crushing’, because a crush is exactly what thousands of people have for Julia Jacklin. An accident? Or the charm of a mass enchantress? You be the judge.
No surprise that The Triffid would simply not let her leave without an encore. She returned to the stage and gave her adorers what they asked for. A double encore of ‘Comfort’ and the mystifying ‘Hay Plain’.
All in all it was a beautiful performance. I have no doubt that with this album and tour, Julia will only further establish herself as one of Australia’s most personal and powerful songwriters.