“I’ve never been so proud of our support bands, if you can even call them that”. Such exulting yet fitting words from Megan Washington herself. Opening acts Deep Sea Arcade and Lissie almost eclipsed Washington’s headline show last week and soundly warmed up the underage crowd with their bracing performances.
Sydney born band Deep Sea Arcade has immense psychedelic rock appeal, evoking the sounds of Oasis and The Rolling Stones and they set the tone of the evening with hard-hitting melodies and transfixing arrangements. The crowd blissfully lost themselves in the catchiness of songs like Keep On Walking and Lonely In Your Arms led by the commanding front man Nic McKenzie who prowled and jigged behind the microphone.
Lissie followed suit with a captivating set of freeway country rock and floaty folk-pop tunes that paraded her enviably powerful and alluring voice. With untamed hair, a plain t-shirt and blue jeans, she exudes calm confidence and needs no back-up dancers, elaborate costumes or pyrotechnics to entertain an audience. A natural performer, Lissie instantly connected with her audience, introduced her talented band mates and liberally downed shots of tequila in between songs and personal anecdotes. She even invited Washington up for a gorgeously tender duet of Everywhere I Go before culminating with an impressive cover of Kid Cudi’s Pursuit Of Happiness.
But make no mistake, Washington was the main star of the evening and the sold-out crowd cemented this with their doting, sometimes deafening screams and chants. The Australian singer songwriter had her fans eating out of the palms of her musically gifted hands as she keyboarded her way through the charismatic debut album I Believe A Liar and a trail of equally popular demo tracks.
There’s no denying the force of Washington’s voice. It’s gripping, both in her highly infectious dance numbers like 1997 and her beautifully morose tunes such as Underground. However, the two styles she seems to alternate between – Vaudevillian-pop and ethereal balladry – quickly became rather droning after a generously long set. With little involvement of the backing band, everyone’s eyes were fixed on one point; Megan Washington, and unfortunately that wasn’t enough to retain undivided attention. Though her sensual and self-assured stage presence turned many heads and her sassy, candid banter earned plenty of laughs, it felt overstated and lacked a sense of genuineness overall.