Thelma Plum, Miiesha, Alana Jagt @ Lion Arts Factory, Adelaide 30/8/2019

It’s been a while since I was last at the Lion Arts Factory. What used to be a black cavernous band room has now been transformed into a very nice, aesthetically pleasing gig experience.

The room is filling quickly by the time Alana Jagt begins. Usually backed by a larger band of six in total, tonight she is joined by fellow guitarist, Tyler. Jagt took us through a rich, soulful set of personal stories and a cover of West Thebarton’s Bible Camp which, under her spell, became a beautiful song of longing. Catch her with her full band at the end of September, supporting Henry Wagons, and later in the year at November Nights along with other amazing Australian female artists like Ella Hooper and Mojo Juju.

Miiesha begins her set with the sounds of crickets and other night insects. Close your eyes and you could easily be sitting on the back porch, hanging with your friends and having a singalong as the sun goes down. Performing to beautifully produced backing tracks, Miiesha’s lyrics are honest, genuine and educational. Listen. She has a lot to say. Miiesha is an entertainer, easily switching between quick raps with a big smile to quieter, more intimate and heartfelt lyrics of missing her baby sister. Her guitarist joins her for some great covers of Starboy by the Weeknd, and Childish Gambino’s Redbone, and then it’s back to original tracks to finish her set. Miiesha even takes the time to teach us some Pitjantjatjara so we can sing along with the chorus. She also checks multiple times that we know how to spell her name. I don’t think you’ll have a problem hearing of her again. I get the feeling she’ll be playing her own shows soon, and can see her working well as a festival act.

She has a lot to teach us.

I haven’t been to any gigs since march. I think it was the mixture of the Fringe and Superloop that finally did it. The limit of drunk men I could put up with on a weekly basis had finally been reached and I’d started retaliating verbally. I was worried that next time I’d get hurt.

After the last couple of years that Thelma Plum has had, I thought this would be a fitting gig to get myself back out there, and to experience the powerful album Better in Blak live. She survived way worse than I’ve had to deal with, and we got such an important album from it all.

The stage is dressed in red velvet and flowers, and a framed photo of Thelma’s dog. We’ve been invited into her space and it’s lovely to be here. Thelma takes the stage to supportive cheers and begins with Not Angry Anymore. Right from the get go the crowd are singing back every word and they keep going. How Much Does Your Love Cost?, Woke Blokes, Don’t Bring a Good Girl Down, it’s hit after hit with time in between to sip tea and eat spoonfuls of honey to help soothe her throat as she says she feels like she’s beginning to lose her voice.

The show does not suffer, her singing is beautiful, powerful, honest and the stories she tells between songs of pretending to be a vegan to impress a boy, and accidentally texting Paul Kelly are relatable even if you’ve never had your hero’s mobile number. And the messages keep coming, the lessons still being taught; self love, not putting up with hate, calling people out on their actions. During Homecoming Queen, Plum sings ‘I am a woman now, I feel beautiful, and I love myself’ and the crowd responded with a cheer. Earlier in the night someone had called her beautiful. Her response? ‘Thanks. I’m also very smart’.

The last half of her show was also packed with hits. Dollar, Better in Blak, Father’s Hands, Made For You which was co written with Paul Kelly, and a cover of her favourite song in the world, Casey Chamber’s Captain.

The night ended with an encore of Clumsy Love which filled the room with joy as everyone danced. Clumsy Love was my song of last September. It summed up where I was as a person in the world. A year later I’m slowly feeling brave enough to attend gigs and find my place again

Thanks, Thelma

Live Review By Carly Whittaker

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