Meg Mac, Ayesha Madon @ The Gov, Adelaide 26/4/2023

On a cold dreary Wednesday, I was already in full swing sad girl mode, so the universe as per usual decided to align the stars for me to see ultimate heartbreak hit song writer Meg Mac at The Gov – whose entire catalogue since 2014 holds its place firmly in my depressive state repertoire. Bringing her most emotive album yet, 2022 release Matter of Time on the road for sold out shows everywhere, I prepared myself for a night of big feelings. Unlike me, the crowd was amped and enthused, keen for a live performance of Meg’s unique eclectic mix of Gospel sounding blues and soul matched with her powerful sugar-coated vocals and poignant song writing.

Completely left field from this notion was supporting act Ayesha Madon, who is probably best known for her role in the revamped Australian teen drama series Heartbreak High, starting off the evening with her boppy 90’s-esque pop tunes. Madon bounced around the stage with energy only a 20 something year old popstar could possess and engaged confidently with the audience, amping them up for the main act and getting people bopping and dancing along with her. Performing hit songs such as Outside the Party and Fish and Chips against a harmonised backing track with accompanying guitarist and drummer, she charmed the audience with her bubbly happy personality proclaiming that her songs have a strong focus on mental health. An interesting artist that is currently taking off, her somewhat heavy but relatable themes are neatly packaged in some catchy tunes and are a winning combination. Her performance elevated the mood incredibly well and left everyone smiling.

Meg Mac began her set with the intensely loud sound of a clock ticking and pulsating lights before breaking out into title track Matter of Time to excited cheers from the audience. With ground shaking bass and smoke melding the colourful lights together throughout, it was a mesmerising sonic and visual treat. Her back up singers (sister Hannah and long-time friend from University, Dani) harmoniously blended with her, and the entire set sounded celestial.

Playing breakthrough alt-RnB track Every Lie the audience were signing loud and passionately, while her and sister Hannah’s acoustic performance of Don’t you Cry was about as tear-jerking as I Could Handle. Meg Mac had run an Instagram poll to help her select which cover she would perform from her Triple J ‘Like a Version’ contributions, and Tame Impala’s Let it Happen won, sounding hauntingly beautiful while I noticed young lads filming on their phones and thought how adorable it was, while realising that the audience was a vast demographic of long time adoring fans. Prior to the gig, Meg Mac had also given letters to audience members, and she had personally kissed each and every one of them. She used this little story to introduce heartbreaking song Letter. Grandma’s Hands got the audience singing loudly again and clapping along. She then spoke of how during the pandemic she moved to the country and adopted two cats before writing Is It Worth Being Sad, a deeply moving track that she said “changed her life”

After a faster paced rendition of Never Be with thumping percussion featuring heavily, Meg Mac told the audience she had planned a dramatic exit but “chickened out” so stayed put and played another heartbreak banger Known Better – her first released track that has just had its 10-year anniversary. Thankfully finishing the night on a more upbeat positive and empowering note, she brought support artist Ayesha Madon back on stage for a very spirited performance of Roll Up Your Sleeves again inciting the audience into an impassioned and lively singalong.

There is no doubt that Meg Mac’s music is about as core shaking as it comes, but her live performances are a surreal and captivating experience. Her songs and their delivery will break you open but also pull you together. I’m not sure I was entirely ready for all those big feelings to surface during a retrograde, but I will never miss a show and for good reason. Meg Mac is not just an extraordinary artist and performer, she is a national treasure.

Live Review By Bec Scheucher

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