The long-haired Allen Stone proved popular in Brisbane, ahead of his appearance at Byron Bay’s Bluesfest.
Midway through his Bluesfest sideshow at The Triffid (18 April), the blue-eyed soul singer from Washington State giddily addressed the crowd: “This is only our second time in Brisbane and there’s a sh.t tonne of you out there!”
He’s not wrong. The Triffid – a venue combining the architectural charms of a London tube station with the upended hull of a Viking longship – is packed with a demographic sporting culturally appropriated hairstyles under their uncalled-for hats.
Still, they’re not so hipster they don’t bop along with Allen’s brand of Maroon 5-lite, cheer his every crescendo, and participate whole-heartedly with the obligatory audience sing-alongs.
It may only be his second show in town, but he’s already made a sh.t tonne of friends.Click here to read our recent interview with Allen Stone.
Allen couldn’t have asked for a better hype man in his support act, New Zealand’s Louis Baker. There’s more than a little James Bay to Louis – a white boy with a lot of feelings, but funky feelings.
His acoustic cover of Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’ (bold move) revealed a falsetto His Royal Badness wouldn’t have sniffed at.
Supported by a virtuoso drummer, bass, electric guitar and keyboards, Allen’s set cherrypicked from the three albums he’s released since debuting in 2010.
A standout, sparse arrangement of ‘Circle’ from 2015’s ‘Radius’ held the audience spellbound, bar the tinny playback of Instagram videos – the millennial alternative to a standing ovation.
Allen learnt his trade leading worship in his father’s church and it shows, not just in his Aryan-Jesus-trying-on-John-Lennon’s-glasses-for-a-laugh aesthetic, but in his earnest emotional outpouring: “It’s nights like these I’m reminded how good life can be.”
That’s all well and good, Allen. But despite wedding an Aussie girl seven months ago, too often his lyrics and stage banter venture into #metoo territory. “We’ll have to share a hotel room,” he informed the crowd: he ended ‘Naturally’ – sample lyric: 'her ass and thighs/don’t need advice' – with, “love you ladies, you’re beautiful”.
Not that The Triffid objected. They were still dancing after the encore featuring a jazz-off with Louis.