If you love music and you haven’t heard the name Vera Blue in the last 12 months or so, I’m going to assume that you might live under a rock. This extremely talented woman seems to have taken Australia by storm with her folk-electronic style music and you can so easily see why when you watch her perform live on stage.
When I arrived at The Bar on the Hill on Friday night there was something that was extremely hard to miss; it was loud in there. And I don’t mean the music. Every single person in that room was chatting away in joyous conversations and laughing and joking and so very clearly enjoying this night out with their mates and I’m sure the fact that Vera Blue was due to be on stage in about an hour would’ve had a lot to do with the amount of glee within that main room.
Previous to Vera’s set we were served with her support act ‘Thandi Pheonix’. Her performance and music style very similar to that of Vera Blue, using the full stage to prance and sway around on while the audience was lapping it up in between their continuing chatting and laughter. Nothing works better than a support act that suits the main act so well, and this one had the audience engaged and ready for what was about to be presented to us in the next set.
With a room that was now full of people, keeping each other warm from the slight chill that was outside, the energy was building, people shuffling and edging more closely together holding their drinks tight as they settle in for what would be a stunningly captivating show.
The lights were dimmed to black and the crowd’s energy was deafening with their cheers of excitement while waiting for Miss Celia Pavey to grace the stage. And that she did. With nothing but grace I watched Vera Blue go between playing electronic drums and key pads, to playing the guitar, to singing her absolute heart out; literally. Her debut album has been described by herself as the emotional journey she went on after her heartbreak. Her lyrics are raw, truthful and powerful and she conveys that so well through her body language and movements on stage all while her love for performing clearly shining through to her audience.
The crowd was consumed, singing and dancing just as Vera was, with a particular request from the singer-songwriter; ‘If you know any of these songs guys, please sing the words back to me’. The audience took note and belted out the words song after song. Tracking through her album and EP the audience had clear well-known favorites. With the already euphoric vibe within that room, the bar was raised when hits like ‘Regular Touch’, ‘First Week’ and ‘Private’ were performed.
The song ‘Lady Powers’ proved to be a favorite too, this one had a certain strength and sass about it, and you could feel that coming off both the stage and within the audience too, with the ladies in the room singing it like an anthem and dancing oh so carefree.
With just two band members backing her up, one on the drums and the other with a keyboard it is undeniable the raw talent that lies within Vera Blue. She is not just your normal singer fronting the stage, she is an absolute all round performer, not only contributing her own voice (that voice, that magical voice), but she plays a part in the actual music too.
To hear a song on the radio by Vera Blue and to watch her perform them live are two very different experiences. Her vocal range is a force to be reckoned with and her improvisation on stage and within her songs is an absolute gift to any audience she performs to. Whether it be the 25,000 or so people attending Splendour in Byron Bay or a couple of hundred of people at the Bar on the Hill in Newcastle you can see that Vera Blue grows and adapts to deliver a unique and stunning set to each and every audience that she performs to.