Meg Mac played The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) 13 April, 2019.
Meg Mac’s measured magic mesmerised a sold-out Tivoli Theatre (in Brisbane) on Saturday night (13 April) – the third date of her ‘Give Me My Name Back’ tour.
The artist formally known as Megan Sullivan McInerney possesses that rarest of gifts. No, not her famously good voice – any mention of her name elicits the same response: “she has a really good voice.” It’s an instrument as direct, smoky, and purifying as a shot of whiskey.
It’s the fact that that voice – the one that’s ensured her crown as Triple J’s darling ever since she was Unearthed in 2013 – sounds even better live.
Some acts have their backing singers do the heavy lifting. Others hope to be as good as their studio recordings. In the flesh, Meg surpasses her own Spotify standard.
Initial concerns that The Tivoli’s sound production wouldn’t do her justice, based on the pleasant but indistinguishable songs of support act Fergus James, proved unfounded.
Case in point; I thought he was called Forest James, a more befitting name for this teenager offering secular audiences euphoria-tinged earnestness seldom seen outside of Hillsong Worship.
Whatever was wrong with the sound had been righted by the time Meg strutted on stage. Decked out like a gothic ringmaster in a hat Pharrell would covet, she launched into ‘Ride It’ from 2017 debut album ‘Low Blows’.
Backed by a four-piece band – special mention to an over-caffeinated will.i.am lookalike on keys (the guy’s a show in himself) – Meg rattled through a comprehensive 18-song set that drew evenly from her back catalogue and upcoming album ‘Hope’.
It sounded as though they’d stowed a gospel choir in the gallery. But no, there’s only Meg and two backing singers, one who is her sister. Ably assisted by 'over-caffeinated' will.i.am, earning his keep on the loop pedal, the three singers bathed the theatre in blended, flawlessly synchronised harmonies '90s boybands would have given their frosted tips for.
The first attempt at a moment was anticlimactic. The obedient audience dutifully whipped out their phones when requested, the torches as bright as house lights. But Meg’s choice of cover – ‘If You Want Me To Stay’ by Sly And The Family Stone – did not produce the desired pin-drop hush.
Surely there are more captivating songs from the '70s she could have picked, perhaps by another musical act with Mac in their name?
Instead, a zenith came via the anthemic ‘Give Me My Name Back’, a rallying cry for “anyone’s who’s lost a piece of themselves”. Judging from the audience reaction, The Tivoli’s packed with lost souls.
She wouldn’t have been allowed off stage without playing her “most requested song on Instagram”: the haunting Like A Version cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Let It Happen’ provided another highlight.
With this and the upbeat ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, she exits more relaxed, but with as much sass as she entered with. Meg’s magical voice never wavered throughout the 90 minutes.