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Over the last few years, the Sydney Opera House has hosted a raft of “alternative” artists, each of whom differ greatly from the classical genres the iconic venue is best known for. The Jezabels’ performance on the 29th of April was an example of how perfectly the Opera House’s inclusion of indie music is working, and the band’s set seemed somehow tailored especially for the Concert Hall.
It began with a magnificent organ solo courtesy of Jezabels keyboard player Heather Shannon, who was revelling in the joy of being able to play one of the world’s largest pipe organs. The mighty instrument’s powerful chords began to fade with the sound of loud applause from the crowd.
As silence fell, smoke appeared from behind a black curtain that slowly rose to reveal the stage. A few moments later, the band appeared and the evening began. Frontwoman Hayley Mary was quick to encourage the seated crowd to get on their feet. Most rose and stayed standing till the end.
While there were no obvious crowd favourites, there was definite appreciation for the variety of the setlist, which spanned the Jezabels discography. Songs from the band’s latest album The Brink, such as Time to Dance, were heavily present in the set, but the band was careful to balance them with an array of songs from their 2011 album Prisoner, including Endless Summer and City Girl. The final song of the evening was Easy to Love, and it had every audience member on their feet.
Music at the House typically eschews opening acts, but The Jezabels certainly performed brilliantly enough that any thought of openers was wiped from fans’ minds. Each song was executed perfectly and Mary was flawless as always. Dancing up and down the expanse of the stage she appeared completely at home. She put all of herself into the performance and at one point jumped off the stage and walked into the crowd – more than likely a rare occurrence for the Opera House.
It quickly became apparent that the crowd was rife with avid fans who’ve long been Jezabels followers. New and old songs alike were met with enthusiasm, and there was the requisite swaying, clapping along, and calling-out. But one could sense that this was an audience who adored the band on stage. And after such a sublime show, The Jezabels are deserving of the adoration.
Photograph by Ashley Mar