Photos by Dana Weeks
“I’d be a jerk if I cancel, I’d be a jerk if I play” – To most of us, some are relieved (perhaps selfishly) that Julia Jacklin decides to choose the latter on a roller coaster day when the Prime Minister issues recommendation to cancel gatherings of over 500 people in the coming Monday due to the outbreak of the Covid19, aka the “Corona virus”. From the rapturous outburst, it is evident the capacity crowd side with her decision. As the globe-trotting singer songwriter plugs the strings, the mixed emotions that has been brewing throughout the day are cast into the shadows of the present, as our minds and infinite sensory drifting into a meditative state of equanimity, seduced by the most angelic and organic voice…
The night kicked off with solo Jacob Diamond, a Perth local, who reminded the punter next to me Nadia, of the female Sade fused with Ed Sheeran and Kurt Cobain – vocally anyway. The special guest was Carla Geneve, a 21 year old Sarah McLachlan sounding (at times) singer songwriter based in Fremantle who performed with her band with a wide dynamic range, from Indie pop to flirting with alternative rock, setting the stage alight from her critically acclaimed self-titled EP released in 2019.
After a short break, the indie pop/folk (and alternative country) musician Jacklin graced the stage with her guitar to an ovation. Trailing her was a background oozing childhood memory; a red brick home possibly a three by one. This was symbolically significant as Jacklin is an auto biographer, a nostalgic chef of her own journey, translating a diary of tear jerkers into the soothing propagation of heartbreak highs.
Jacklin performed songs from her two albums Don’t Let the Kids Win and Crushing, released in 2016 and ‘19. A well accoladed singer-songwriter, Jacklin vocals is hauntingly subdued and almost acquiescing in ‘Body’, a song about naivety, impressionability, adversity and humiliation, as her ability to translate those lyrics, “I guess it’s just my life, And it’s just my body” through her music is devastatingly precise.
One of the performances of the night was ‘L.A. Dream’ when she broke our hearts with her beautiful, melancholy chapter of her performance. Her emotions stippled onto the piano, while the lonely soft light casting over Jacklin in a mood reckoning that ripped the joys of possibly loving someone with such lyrics as, “And now I’m lying listless like a dog after a feed, Thinking about the life that you’ll now lead”
For most of the set, Jacklin was glued to the guitar akin Elton to the piano. There were parts when she rocked like a rocker, but for most her guitar was an extension of her lyrics, the epitome of a musician, and one who we can relate with…the best friend that everyone needs.
Jacklin also paid homage to the legendary Leonard Cohan in a beautiful rendition ‘Memories’. She also paid her tribute to Dolly Parton (without doubt being one of her influences), in ‘I will Always Love You’. It may not be as ballsy as Whitney’s (it wasn’t meant to be), but her rendition brought tears to some as we felt her bitter-sweet pain in her memories, as we witnessed Jacklin’s heartfelt interpretation displayed in the encore.
It’s of little wonder Jacklin was mainly surrounded by the heart broken and heart breakers, and a legion of lost souls seeking refuge and validation in her music. The hurt interpreted from her music, the underlying tone and mood were undeniably discernible. We connected to the music and to Jacklin, riding a journey with her on the unnecessary human sensations of longing, yearning, desperation, humiliation inhibiting in our blood, travelling to our hearts.
Tonight was probably one of the last performances to be held under a capacity crowd at this venue for some time, and it is only fitting that the devastating wretchedness found in the displaced world of Jacklin’s work echo through the chambers of the Astor.