Megan Washington review: Singer shakes off the cobwebs

Washington

Four stars

Lansdowne Hotel, June 28

Reviewed by Anna Rose

Though she joked this was the type of show where it was like “opening a coffin and bats will fly out”, the metaphor for the recent absence Megan Washington has taken from live performance was rendered moot after the Brisbane indie-rocker performed to a sold-out crowd ‪on Friday night‬.

Only Washington could generate enough light to bounce off the dreary pillars and darkened walls of the venue, while still putting on a show that sat well in such a place; a performance that allowed her to exercise her unparalleled talents as a singer, and more.

Washington’s sound is very much suited to the wine-and-cheese crowd, all of whom, in their varying stages of life, were enthralled by her down-to-earth personality and belting voice.

Bewitching her audience with a lilting sweetness in her sound that doesn’t cover up the often-recalcitrant sentiments in her songs, Washington traverses harsher alternative rock and beautiful ballads in a hypnotic manner.

Indeed, with her mellower, stripped-back offerings – a mash-up of Maroon 5’s This Love and Amy Winehouse’s Back in Black stood out in particular – Washington proved she can be versatile without comprising her usual gritty undertones.

There was an interesting moment when her multifaceted influences really surfaced; Washington slips easily between the indie of now and the pop of the ’90s without comprising her own signature style or the enjoyment of her fans.

She isn’t just a singer, she’s also an actress, and a good one at that. Adopting a different persona to deliver each number, Washington demonstrated a vulnerable yet still commanding character in a slow, pulsing song whose power was felt in part when she climbed atop the bass drum, a swell of melody encompassing the band while the emotion took hold of her.

There weren’t many songs that got the entire room singing along but with Sunday Best – a song that everyone, 25 to 55, could relate to and seemed to love – the audience volume matched Washington’s.

Calling it a concert and a musical recital, Washington’s impressive command of her relatively small stage gave proof her music can work anywhere, any way, any time.

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