Taking to the stage in her familiar plaid skirt, white socks and matching sneakers, Julia Jacklin may well exude a certain girl-next-door innocence, but for the 60 minutes that then follow, her songs speak of a life well lived. In a smoky, sultry and seasoned voice that belies her relatively tender years, she reflects, yearns and emotes upon those moments of self-discovery and romantic dissonance she has already experienced.
With the release of her debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win in October of last year, the woman from the Australian Blue Mountains took her place alongside Courtney Barnett, Nadia Reid (reviewed on these pages only last month), Caitlin Harnett and Marlon Williams in the vanguard of fiercely independent Antipodean songwriting.
This part of the Southern hemisphere is suddenly where it is at, but just like her fellow artists from down under Julia Jacklin is not merely content to take the easy option by staying put in her own backyard. When she played Headrow House last year it was to a mere handful of people. But back here now on her first full UK tour and along with most every other date nationwide, the place is completely sold out.
Flanked by her three-piece band – bassist Harrison Fuller, Johnny from Belfast on drums and guitarist Blaine who defies his pre-show sickness with remarkable grace and fortitude – Julia Jacklin’s star is firmly in the ascendency and the eleven songs they play here tonight tell us exactly why. In a beautifully weighted performance that slowly gathers momentum from the opening bars of ‘Hay Plain’, the set gently ebbs and flows with wave upon wave of her carefully measured melodies and deftly negotiated self-determination before gently drifting away to the languid meditation of her album’s beautiful title track.
Photo credit: Simon Godley
More photos from this show can be found HERE