Meg Mac, The Money War @ The Gov, Adelaide 1/10/2017

I was really looking forward to this sold out gig tonight as Meg had really impressed me at the Adelaide Uni Bar in 2015.

First up tonight supporting Meg Mac was The Money War who were advertised as a duo from Perth (Dylan and Carmen). I had a thought we might be seeing a keyboard duo but I was incorrect, and it was actually a normal rock band set up with two guitars, bass and drums. I would say they had a 70s psychedelic pop vibe and did not sound dissimilar to the Mavis’s and Ice Cream Hands combined. Dylan and Carmen would alternate on most songs but Dylan had the lion share of vocals. All but one of the songs they played are available on spotify and the highlight for me was their last song that was called Recall and was very catchy.

The gig tonight was moved from the new HQ in Hindley St as the new venue was not completed as yet. I for one was very happy that Meg played at the Gov tonight. I find that the design of the round stage gives a superior concert experience. For performers, I could imagine that it could be daunting as you are so exposed, but tonight Meg showed she is made of sterner stuff. And tonight, not only was there no crowd barrier, but as Meg was using in-ear sound to hear her band, this meant that the foldback speakers were removed making it even more intimate for the fans at the front. From the moment she came out on stage to the end, she owned the stage and the Gov. She continually moved from one side of the stage to the other like she had nervous energy needing to be released. She sang confidently, and with one of the best voices in Australia. She was on stage for close to 90 minutes and she definitely racked up some serious Fitbit mileage only sitting down for two songs when she was playing keyboards.

Meg played all but one song from her new album Low Blows and all songs from her 2014 EP.

To my ears, the concert sounded as close to the album as I have heard. The main reason for this was because Meg had stated in a recent interview that a lot of the vocal performances were recorded live and unedited.

Her band were faultless but were unnoticed as it was hard to take your eyes off of Meg. Her sister on backup vocals was wonderful and one wonders why she does not have a career of her own.

The crowd sounded like they were in raptures, and with the first few rows singing every word of every song and in absolute adulation of Meg it felt like we were all attending a gospel church. Some of her lyrics lend to that concept like the song Never Be with it’s “Thank the Lord” chorus

Kindness was a highlight with its quirky stop-start structure and it felt like three songs in one. Another standout was Saint Philomene in which Meg showed fantastic skills by performing it by herself with the aid of live looping in which she records herself singing and patting herself and then plays it back in repeated layers. The crowd was ecstatic for the whole concert but this somehow lifted again when “maybe it’s the first time” from her album was played. Meg ended the set with Never Be from her EP and after the loudest cheering I have heard in a while, she came back to do a cover of  Sly and the Family Stones If You Want Me To Stay by herself on the piano and then ended the concert with a brilliant version of Roll Up Your Sleeves.

With so many disappointed people looking for tickets on the Facebook event page, and once word gets out how good this concert was, I predict her next show in Adelaide will be at Thebarton Theatre. Maybe once the tour is over she will be added to the Laneway lineup.

Review by Richard Depizzol

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