Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer, Jen Cloher

Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer, Jen Cloher

Mia Dyson, Liz Stringer and Jen Cloher are arguably three of the best songwriters of their genre that Melbourne has produced in the past decade. With several albums and a swag of accolades between them including ARIA awards and short listings for the Australian Music Prize, it was anyone’s guess as to how these three like-minded singer/songwriters would coalesce on a combined headlining national tour.

It didn’t take long to find out as the crowd quickly swelled inside the intimate Grand Poobah in Hobart and the three ladies took to the stage amidst a flurry of anticipating cheers and whistles. Without hesitation, and with all three ladies on guitar, the band launched into their first number, ‘Crazy Horse‘, a track recorded with Dyson on lead and Cloher and Stringer on support recorded for their tour EP. This track set the tone for most of the night with each singer taking in turns to perform one of their own tracks from their latest albums, amidst support vocally and musically from the other two. Stringer and Dyson both moving from guitar to lend a hand on organ for a few numbers and three part harmonies that blended the three very distinct voices.

The set was a little more rock than what I’d expected with generous support from bassist Tim Keegan and Danny McKenna on drums. The ladies surprised me as much with their prowess on guitar as they did with their gorgeous vocal harmonies. Each can absolutely play that guitar, they showed an experience that evidently comes from the decade or so they have spent touring, with each other as support along with a treat of other higher profile acts.

The hefty 100 minute set was broken up with a number of stories from the road, times together and how the three met, Cloher saw Dyson playing her lap steel on stage at the Brunswick Music Festival and was so intrigued that she rang the box office the next day to get Dyson’s number which they surprisingly or not, gave to her. Stringer joked that she and Cloher likely met at a “Some lesbian barbecue in Brunswick” around the same time. It was that intimacy between the artists and also some great interaction from the audience that gave the night a uniquely special ambience.

I wanted to choose a highlight from the night although I nearly had trouble as there were so many; But for me it was Dyson , with tracks off her much lauded, recently released album The Moment, including ‘Pistol‘, ‘Cigarettes’ and crowd favourite ‘When the Moment Comes‘, her voice has an incredible power and is filled with joy and sorrow and fragility all at once. You cannot help but be captivated by her voice and also her impressive guitar solos.

Each of three artists proved why they are as respected as they are in the Australian music community. The set was a blend of driving bass, soaring vocals and brash guitar, punctuated by more sombre moments of beauty and heartbreak. Each singer had the opportunity to show their unique sound and a wealth of emotion that would tear a venue down of their own accord but together they were inescapable. A magic moment in time that probably wont be matched in our life time with three artists of equal measure who blend so magically together.

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