Clare Bowditch has been a favourite of the independent music scene for almost a decade, releasing four albums to date, winning an ARIA for best female artist and recently venturing into acting, with a role on the Channel 10 drama Offspring.
Devoid of her usual band, Bowditch played several numbers solo. For others she was accompanied by friend Monique di Mattina on grand piano, with a lucky – and conveniently talented – audience member also providing a drum beat for a couple of songs. This stripped back version of her music was delightful. Her vocals have a clear and soulful quality, which resonated hauntingly in the Space Theatre. Several of the numbers performed were “world premieres”; songs so new that Bowditch even had to ad-lib a verse in one when the actual lyrics escaped her. These new songs will be on her forthcoming album and showed that she continues to write strong, emotionally engaging and endearing material.
She also charmed the audience with renditions of songs originally by Eva Cassidy and Leonard Cohen. Having toured with the latter in 2010, she had some quirky stories to tell about her personal experience with one of her musical idols. The song in question, Hallelujah, is possibly his most beloved piece and Bowditch replicated the cover she did of it for Triple J’s Like a Version segment, live for the first time.
Bowditch gave a performance which was engaging, cheeky, a bit sultry and very natural. She seemed genuinely excited to be performing at the Cabaret Festival even if, by her own admission, the show may not be considered by some to fit into that particular genre. She provided humorous and charming stories throughout and drew the audience in with both her friendliness and her beautiful voice. The closing song You Make Me Happy, pretty much summed up the pshow, with audience members leaving with massive smiles on their faces and a positive buzz to take them into the rest of the evening.
Kryztoff Rating: 4K