The Guardian described Julia Jacklin’s album as “one of those albums that will slowly creep into the affections of a large number of people”. The journalist’s predictions came to fruition: four months later and Jacklin sold out Headrow House. And it’s very easy to see why.
Everything about the gig was so understated: no flashing lights, no huge entrance. She simply walked on stage with her band and sat down to play, opening with the lulling blues ‘Hay Plain’. The simplicity of it, combined with Julia’s inherent modesty, make the audience hang on her every word. After each song there was a couple of seconds of exquisite silence before the audience tumbled into applause, as if each member of the crowd was totally engrossed.
What was particularly captivating about Jacklin was her voice. It was so varied; she could be passionate without belting it out and transitions between her angelic soft tones and stronger middle range were so easily executed. Her vocals sounded so relaxed and yet each note was so perfect that it somehow seemed controlled at the same time. You could see some audience members miming the words to her bigger hits like ‘LA Dream’, ‘Pool Party’ and ‘Leadlight’ but not actually singing, no doubt because they wanted to listen to her rich distinctive voice.
Every track had its own glimmer of magic, but ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’ had a poignancy I did not expect. It was the final song of the gig and her band members left her alone on the stage. For the first time, I felt the full weight of that song’s lyrics, and I haven’t stopped listening to her music (or gushing about her) since.