Patrick James
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Patrick James

with The Phoncurves and The Starry Field




Boasting the successful release of his debut EP All About To Change, a host of sell-out headline shows around Australia and touring as support for the likes of Emma Louise and Josh Pyke, 2013 has certainly been a good year for Patrick James. The Sydney musician concluded his final headline tour for the year last night to a sold out Black Bear Lodge in Brisbane; the cosy venue and promise of good tunes a perfect mid-week treat.

Brisbane indie pop darlings The Phoncurves hit the stage first. The duo has developed quite a reputation across Brisbane for their gorgeous harmonies, bewitching melodies and simple, honest lyrics. With a second EP in the works to follow up last year’s self-titled debut, there were a number of new tunes, including current single ‘Heartstrings’. The duo was also recording footage for the ‘Heartstrings’ music video across the night, and though I don’t want to give the concept away, those who chose to get involved will see their faces up close very soon. There were a few old favourites as well, including ‘Little Bit By Little Bit’ and ‘Shades of Green’, and an incredible cover of M.I.A’s ‘Paper Planes’. Delivered with humour and flair – and the self-depreciating explanation that the song was chosen to make the girls ‘feel gangsta’ – the cover embodied The Phoncurves ability to connect with audiences through their slightly awkward repartee, and sweeten the gun shots and cash register noises of M.I.A with those incredible vocals.

The brainchild of producer and musician Mark Myers, The Starry Field were up next. With a style that sits somewhere between alt-country and synth pop, the North Queensland act delivered a varied, driving set brimming with narrative lyrics and raw country energy. Many of the songs carried distinctly Australian themes, with the darker, louder tunes filling the venue with an eerily intense vibe, while the more acoustic-y sounds of the short-and-sweet ‘Holbrook’ and ‘If All Your Troubles Were A Sea’ put the musicianship of The Starry Field on full display. The set also showcased a bunch of tunes from Back on the Milks, the debut album from The Starry Field released earlier this year. ‘Nowhere To Me’ and ‘All Of My Love’ were particularly memorable, though, to be quite honest, the whole set was thoroughly engaging and extremely well received by the crowd.

One of the best things about Black Bear is its intimacy and by the time Patrick James took to the stage, the venue was filled to the brim, with an excitable crowd pressed up to the stage. Amongst an extensive set list there were a host of songs from All About To Change, sandwiched between older tunes and a couple of new ones. A number of James’ songs have been featured on Channel Ten’s ‘Wonderland’, including, we were told, the EP title track during a sex scene. ‘Kings and Queens’, a love song written when James was in grade 12, seemed to strike a chord with the crowd, as did the meandering melody of ‘Bugs’. Funny and relaxed, James interacted easily with the crowd and his bandmates between songs, cracking jokes and sharing anecdotes about his busking experiences and the stories behind his music. A gorgeous acoustic cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Mirrors’ drew a strong reaction, and it seemed far too early for the night to end far when James announced that ‘Wait’, his current single, would be the last song. Fortunately, a rousing applause drew the band back on stage for a rendition of ‘Demons Running’.
 
If the performance we saw last night is anything to go by, Patrick James has a big future ahead of him. Armed with an immense amount of talent and passion, he has the goods to go far, and I have little doubt that he will.
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