James Vincent McMorrow, The Forum Melbourne_27th May 2014

Golden Ram1

In order to maintain your interest, let’s get right to the point, tonight’s performance was exceptional and really quite sublime and if you happen to be somewhere where this man is scheduled to play, treat yourself. A Golden Ram is awarded without any hesitation.

Every city has its stand-out venue and in Melbourne there is The Forum, a building (built surprisingly only in 1927) hat no matter how many  times you frequent it, there is always this sense of surprise and sense that you have only just discovered it.  Imitated architecture at its best, velour curtains, pew seating, booths that wouldn’t be out of a place in a 1950s Speakeasy and topped off (literally) with a ceiling that is adorned with tiny lights to resemble the night sky.  I like to think of it as Melbourne’s answer to Brixton Academy.forum3

Airling, a band out of Brisbane open tonight’s “event” to a slowly building crowd at this sold out show.  Airling are duo who make studio built music of ethereal layered vocals set over some intermittent beats, sweeping samples and some careful plucking of guitar strings that would suit any XX fan nicely.  There are some great tunes here but like most support acts, the audience is here to see the main act.  If you listen deeper into their music, you get some beautifully constructed mellow pop songs with lyrics that tell stories of love lost and missing the ones you love.   Airling are a great band but probably work best listening to on your headphones as opposed to a live set.  Either way, a great duo who know deserve some success beyond supporting.  Id keep my ear out for them.

It was no surprise to the stage looked rather special having learnt that they flew out their lighting technician who designed it, out on this tour.  You just can’t beat a stage (I’d rather call it a Set) where the artist makes it part of the performance (this is not a gig).  The lighting throughout tonight’s set was just beautiful, to the right of McMorrow was a large white moon that held some stunning and subtle projections while pyramid lights sat on the set floor and flickered away with every harmonious song.

McMorrow is a remarkably modest musical talent. His voice, in falsetto for every song just builds and builds with such passion and heart-felt delivery that I actually got goose-bumps most of the night.  Many of the songs were taken from his latest brilliant album Post Tropical, and live it translates just as well if not better than the record. The band are so tight and the mix is so right, I think this is the best I have heard The Forum sound.

It takes one moment to get McMorrow finally introducing himself to the respectful audience after a heckler screamed out in what was quite a hilarious moment, asking the bar stuff to stop f****ing dropping the bottles in the bin and ruining the ambiance.  I kind of agreed with him and this is when we had McMorrow break the silence and charm us with a bit of chit chat and his gratitude for being there tonight.  The pleasure, James was all ours.

As the performance led to a graceful end, McMorrow reappeared for a solo encore to play a cover of Higher Love, by Steve Winwood before the band came out for a final song to bring the night to a close.

Tonight’s performance reminded me of the power of live music and the importance of being among an audience that are both respectful and grateful.  I realized tonight that after 25 years of being devoted to live music, I may be getting older but I wont be easing back off the Live Music anytime soon.