‘Lydia Fairhall and the Black She Oaks’ were mesmerising.
It’s a warm, smokey, but incredibly bearable Sunday evening and Lydia Fairhall and her new band ‘The Black She Oaks’ take the stage at the Courier-Mail Spiegeltent. Lit by a muted blue and purple light, the stage extends into the crowd. A small crowd, but one that felt deeply involved and connected to Lydia and her group from the word go.
Fairhall led things beautifully, with a wonderful acknowledgement of country, and a surprisingly honest conversation about the formation of her group and how early in the game they are (at the writing of this, they’ve played three shows.) She tells us a story – her story – about returning to the country and disconnecting from a life in the city. It sets the stage for a strong opening that oozes class and comfort.
Lydia’s vocal work is smooth like melted chocolate, incredibly inviting, and not at all overpowering. All of it is aided by a wonderfully mixed band and vocals. The Black She Oaks themselves played with vigour and expertise that helped carry Fairhall’s words with strong spiritual and personal undertones. Their guitars drenched perfectly in a tight reverb that gave the set an earthy, dream-like atmosphere. If it sounds a little too muted for you, the group found themselves throwing down some upbeat numbers mid-set that was reminiscent of Zero 7 in their “The Garden” days in the mid-2000s.
Fairhall shared stories between songs about her children and their growth and experiences together. She shared a hilarious story about sharehouse life, burying a pot after burning it hoping her roommates wouldn’t find it, only to find them gardening for the first time in their lives the next day.
All of this blended into an hour-long mix of gorgeous folk-pop that never felt too much. It was relatable, incredibly personal and all beautifully performed by the group. With well-constructed tracks containing fully formed ideas and stories, Lydia Fairhall and the Black She Oaks delivered a set that was both relaxing and mesmerising to listen to. Thank god for music streaming, because audiences will be listening to these guys the moment their debut album “True North” drops.
For more information regarding events at the Brisbane Festival, visit Brisbane Festival’s Website. To keep up to date with ‘Lydia Fairhall and the Black She Oaks’, follow them on Facebook at Facebook – Lydia Fairhall and the Black She Oaks.