Julia Jacklin @ Belgrave Music Hall

The only problem with seeing an artist play more than once, is that you can’t help but compare performances. Julia Jacklin graced Belgrave for the last round of gigs showcasing her stunning debut album Dont Let the Kids Win, and having been enchanted by her performance of the album at Headrow House last year, I had high expectations.

So when she walked on stage to Kylie’s Spinning Around, I felt mildly unnerved. Although a certified banger, it didn’t match the atmosphere I was expecting, nor the atmosphere she went on to create. As she opened with Leadlight, I started to worry as her voice had lost its varied nuances and control.

But thankfully, my fears evaporated with Motherland and the bliss returned as her dreamy, now seemingly effortless vocals settled in. An audience member shh’d the chatterers in the crowd and a silence descended that no one wanted to interrupt. Once again, Jacklin had the audience wrapped around her finger, as seconds of silence hung in the air between a song’s ending and the crowd’s show of appreciation.

New tracks Good Guy and Why I love you, were more upbeat, with thicker guitars and a guitar solo, and this increase in spirit was reflected in her stage presence, as she chatted, explained the inspiration for her songs and cracked jokes. Yet it was so easy for her to go from joking with her guitarist to mesmerising you with her voice. She never over-performs or strays too far from the recorded version, but you still feel compelled to hang onto her every word. Never was this more apparent than in the final song Dont Let the Kids Win, a song which captures growing up and family so perfectly. Alone and still on the dimly lit stage, she held everyone’s attention and sang her perceptive lyrics so gently that I saw a few in the audience crying before I realised I was crying myself.

Emma Dutton


Photo Credit: npr.com