MEG MAC + The Money War
@ The Rosemount Hotel
07/10/2017 (Live Review)
The Rosemount Hotel was graced with five performances from Meg Mac last week, the most shows the soulful songstress has played in one city/venue on her entire Low Blows album tour (and as an Instagram post indicated, ever). Saturday night’s show brought out punters among Perth’s most roaring and upbeat. Shoulder to shoulder, as a mix of R&B/Soul, Jazz and Gospel blessed their ears, they awaited the magic that is Meg.
The artist emerged onto the stage dressed from head to toe in black, with the exception of a white collar and cuffed sleeves peeping out from her silk, long-sleeve vest which featured red embroidery. She was, of course, wearing her signature wide-brimmed hat. Mac’s style is vintage and eccentric, yet timeless all the same. She was accompanied by two back up singers, two guitarists and a drummer, but your eyes seldom wandered away from the star.
Turning from her 2014 EP introduced the set. The scary and seductive first fifteen seconds of the track developed a strong launch into the show, keeping eyes peeled to the stage in anticipation for the sound of Mac’s jazzy, eloquent voice. The beat was disrupted by just that.
Grace Gold followed and saw Meg absolutely working the stage in its entirety, both through her gestures and floor work. This allowed fans to catch glimpses of her from all angles and worked to combat the relatively non-elevated platform of the stage. If she stood in one spot, certain people up the back would miss her. The sound, however, was incredible enough to forgive this malfunction. Meg’s body and hands were sassy but in an understated way. A humble confidence.
“My name is Meg Mac” — Trust me, we know.
A recording studio, any recording studio, simply does not have the means to capture Meg Mac’s empowering, melodious sound. She was without doubt and any sense of exaggeration, a thousand times better live (even though you and I both thought that wasn’t possible). She ripped my heart out and kept it for the duration of her set.
Kindness played, and next came Known Better. A slow, delicate tune turned more powerful and upbeat, with a particularly joyous bridge which encouraged clapping of the crowd and even her back-up.
Every Lie, the track which (due to heavy rotation on triple J) put her on the map, played next. Purposeful short and sharp gasps of air for “every lie that went down”, followed by a strong and expressive “it’s just your bones keeping” give this song a unique touch.
The way Mac extends the enunciation of her words and other sounds needs to be commended. Nobody makes lyrics out of things like “na-na-na-na” and “oh” or “ah” as Meg does, and that’s seen by the memorisation and echo back of said sounds by fans. It was a pleasure to see the flow of those sounds in a natural action separate to her recordings.
The show proceeded with Cages, which fittingly pleads “October, please be good to me” and for myself and the rest of the audience on this October night, October listened.
Tracks Brooklyn Apartment and Shiny Bright were up next and both accompanied stories of Mac’s endeavours in America. The thin walls of her Brooklyn Airbnb apartment gave her insight into the lives of all her neighbours, giving her inspiration to write about what she imaged their lives to be like. A particularly endearing anecdote, I thought.
Saint Philomene followed, performed solo, entirely in French, and on a loop pedal. A very connected and goosebumps encouraging performance. The crowd followed in amazement throughout.
Grandma’s Hands, Maybe It’s My First Time, and of course, Low Blows, three power tracks, played back to back and turned the standing-in-awe crowd to a groovy mosh. It took the performance to a new level, a very fun one.
Never Be would have been a good closer if only we believed her. After the crowd cheered, “one more song”, Meg eventually appeared announcing that, “I have two more songs”. I’ve never seen such celebration. I caught myself jumping in the air. It was actually a little bit embarrassing.
If You Want Me To Stay was her first encore, stripped back and played on her piano, band not present. Slow and moving. Roll Up Your Sleeves concluded the night, and what a way to do so, with lyrics like “everything is gonna be alright”, It left things on a feel-good note.
Meg Mac is an undeniable star. She was completely professional and has really come into her own with both her image and her sound. She has evolved into a very established artist, who you would think was a veteran of the game. Mac could have easily sold out a much bigger venue, and gotten more money for her time, but instead, she kept the show intimate which was integral to its feel and flawlessness. I’d also like to mention that she thanked the audience after each and every song. She was equal parts sweet and sassy, with a slight grin on her dial always. I couldn’t fault her performance if I tried.