My first foray into shows at Festival Plaza Flinders Uni and it was a chilly night out to see Matt Corby’s Rainbows Valley tour. Wandering down the hill from a distant car park I couldn’t help but enjoy the views of the destination below I could hear opening act Eliott (AKA Charlotte Gemmill) delivering her sultry tones as they floated out over the lake into a still Adelaide evening. Entering the venue, a bright open space greeted me with the stepped amphitheatre creating an awesome outlook for the quickly building crowd.
Dressed in a heavy leopard print jacket on a fresh Tuesday evening Eliott’s sweet smooth sounds had the crowd feeling relaxed as many started to wrap themselves in blankets and settle in for a night I’ve great tunes. Eliott’s sound was casual, soulful and beautiful, a solo artist playing keyboard and vocals it sounded strong and clean. The crowd responded well to singles Over and Over and Shaking My Hips along with rest of the solid songwriting throughout her set, the Victorian is yet another shining example of the quality of female solo artists that are taking some focus in the Australian music scene.
Sydney based artist/producer Blessed (Samuel Joe-Andah) was the next on the lineup. Playing as a three piece with his man Bo on bass and his girl Sel on the drums, they open with a subtle sound reminiscent of Khalid and Kid Cudi, a hip hop sound blended with rock overtones, single Superfly is an instantly recognisable anthem amongst a set of tunes that was quite varied. Slow and relaxed numbers, peppered with some up-beat rock songs, they have an eclectic sound that at times would be chill and then had rocking Block party/ Pixies vibes thrown in. The crowd responded well to the set which included My world, unplugged and more, finding its voice and dancing along to the smooth vocals and more energetic sounds. Blessed had great presence on stage and I hope we’ll see him (them) start popping up on many more bills in the near future.
As Matt Corby took stage the crowd fired up and welcomed to him with a warmth that was not being felt by the air, as it’s getting down to around ten degrees in the outdoor venue. Performing as an eight piece ensemble Corby’s unmistakable voice graced us with its strength and softness, while captivating the audience and drawing them into what is a bit of a journey.
Sometimes joyous, sometimes sad, sometimes contemplative the set list included so many of his most popular tracks from the last eight or more years. Standing centre-stage using keys, guitars and flutes, his voice dominates the sound and his presence and talent bring a cold but appreciative crowd to life, hanging on every word of tracks like No Ordinary Life, Brother, Miracle Love and Resolution as they rang out into the night sky.
Corby comes with a softness that is hard to replicate live whilst keeping an energy that’s utterly engaging, there’s an art to playing ballads and soulful jams in the live format, and he and band made up of various members of other bands and solo artists in their own right, play a wonderful blend of slower acoustic and vocal dominated songs that made you stop and stare, before dropping into a funky Blues rock sounds which had the crowd warming themselves up dancing and grooving.
For my first show at The Plaza Flinders Uni I was pleasantly surprised by the venues great facilities, although possibly the low temperature took a little edge off the crowds enjoyment, as many looked unprepared for the low temperatures with even Corby commenting how cold he was, trying to get his fingers moving on his guitar. That aside the crowd came for a chilled soulful evening of Tuesday night tunes and they were not disappointed, Corby, Blessed and Eliott all providing a great soundtrack to the evening, I’m looking forward to more gigs at The Plaza in the future, but will make sure I come better prepared and hopefully get some warm nights next summer to enjoy many great Australian live acts.
Live Review by Peter Young