HEADLINER: Demi Mitchell unveiled many songs from her forthcoming second album at Ramblin’ Nights – the Femme Fatale special on Thursday. Picture: Josh LeesonTHREE deadly female songwriters. Three different voices. Each doing their own unique brand of dark alt-country.
On paper the concept for Ramblin’ Nights –The Femme Fatalespecial appearedseductive.And in the flesh Femme Fataledelivered.
In the first all-female show of the Sydney Americana and alt-country series, it featuredNewcastle-raised SydneysiderKatie Brianna, Melbourne’s “new queen of dark country” Jemma Nicole and Novocastrian Demi Mitchell, previously known as De’May.
After taking the headline spot with her band at the first Femme Fatale the night before in Newtown’s LeadBelly, Brianna opened proceedings in the Cambridge’s smaller warehouse bar.
Unfortunately only a handful of mostly other musiciansturned out onthe chilly evening.Avoice as amazing as Brianna’s deserved better. One positive was the small attendance created an imitate jazz bar-style ambience, as punters sat around at tables on stools, nursing their drinks.
Brianna’s second albumVictim or The Heroine was nominated for best alt-country album at the Golden Guitars in January and her set focused on that record.
Alone with an acoustic guitar, which was troublesome to tune,the Elermore Vale girl exhibited wonderful control ofher melancholic voice. Her songs Birmingham and Victim or The Heroine were particularly poignant.
Nicole was the highlight of the evening. She certainly inhabits the bleakestspectrum of country. There were repeated apologiesfor playing sad songs or attacking men in the track,Only aMan.
This male reviewer didn’t mind. Nicole carries were haunting tales of heartbreakwith a combination of intensity and good old-fashioned songwriting. It didn’t hurt that her guitarist Mitch Power constantly produced impeccable improvisations.
Power was even given lead vocal duties on their Americana-flavoured rendition of the Bee Gees’ To Love Somebody.
Mitchell was given the closing honours in her home town. It was just the second performance of Mitchell’s new band, that also featuresBrennan Fell (bass), Jason Lowe (slide guitar) andAlex Quayle (drums).
Only Lowe joined her initially as Mitchell unveiled her new song Overflow. Once Fell and Quayle jumped on stage proceedings picked up.
Mitchell is attempting to steer away from her folk and alt-country roots towards a more rock sound, but she’s still in a state of transition. New songs like Out Of Here and Get It Togetheroccupy Americanaterritory.
However, Mitchell embracedgreater rock attitude in her performance. Her smokey vocal was almost delivered with a pout during Coming Down, based on “the good ole drug culture in Newcastle.”
“I had my first rock’n’roll moment last night,” Mitchell joked. “Someone vomited on my amp. I haven’t cleaned it yet.”
It might have been a rock’n’roll moment, but Femme Fatale was certainly an alt-country evening. A bloody intriguing one at that.