Julia Jack­lin stands on stage at The Louisiana in Bris­tol as motion­less as a stat­ue, clos­es her eyes and man­ages to hush the entire room. All eyes are upon her as she starts to sing. There is a mes­meris­ing qual­i­ty to her voice, some­thing about the rich, dreamy swoop­i­ness which suits the Australian’s alt– coun­try indie folk mate­r­i­al. Then there’s her abil­i­ty to express a deep shade of melan­choly dur­ing the more wist­ful and sad songs. Jack­lin cites Angel Olsen as an influ­ence, and they share an abil­i­ty to con­vey an inten­si­ty of emo­tion, all the more effec­tive for its sim­ple and con­trolled delivery. 

julia jacklin the louisiana

Jacklin’s style is very min­i­mal and cool, she’s utter­ly focused and wastes no time on any extra vocal flour­ish­es. The audi­ence at The Louisiana seemed trans­fixed through­out the gig, with­out those laps­es where peo­ple tend to flit off to the bar.

She takes a few moments here and there for some ban­ter with the audi­ence plus there’s an amus­ing sto­ry about her gui­tarist Blain, who was ill the night before and threw up four times on stage – with­out miss­ing a note. That’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism for you. Oh the tri­als of touring.

The evening show­cas­es sev­er­al of the tracks on her lat­est album Don’t Let the Kids Win. Of the songs on the album, Com­ing of Age is a favourite, it’s a sex­i­ly rol­lick­ing num­ber which belies its sub­ject mat­ter – about time tick­ing along and those sud­den moments of won­der­ing where life is tak­ing you. LA Dream is about rela­tion­ship break up, a per­fect num­ber to reveal Jack­lin’s mourn­ful qual­i­ty; Pool Par­ty is a gor­geous coun­try bal­lad, so dreamy you want to just sink into it… nat­u­ral­ly it’s going to have some twist in the tail, and indeed the song is about a part­ner with a sub­stance abuse problem. 

So this is very much an album about where Jack­lin stands now in her life, fac­ing per­ceived new respon­si­bil­i­ties as care­free youth melts away, although to be fair she’s only in her mid 20s. One thing is for cer­tain, with this tour and a heap of fes­ti­val appear­ances com­ing up, Jack­lin can in all fair­ness look at how far she’s come and say ‘I’ve arrived’. 

Also, a word of praise for The Louisiana in Bris­tol, a love­ly lit­tle venue with great sound and a very friend­ly vibe. Hope to be back.

Julia Jack­lin
The Louisiana
1 March 2017

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