After watching the agonising Outkast reunion (thankfully from the comfort of my own home) I was a bit bogged down on any live music. I know it’s a stupid reaction, but unfortunately it’s just how downtrodden I was about the whole mess. So, I grabbed my hat and wallet and set off to Brunswick, a bit pessimistic about the gig I was setting out to see. But, as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn, because that was one of the most fun gigs I’ve been to all year.

Arriving at Brunswick’s Howler, I was ushered into a room far up the back covered in red LED’s and various geometric artworks. I’d have been confused, but fortunately distraction was provided from four-piece support act All Our Exes Live in Texas. Consisting of a three part harmony and a guitar, the group’s particularly haunting style of song snatched the attention of all within earshot. Serving as a great warmer, my only complaint is the set felt rather short. Still, it was a rather nice opening.

Beginning with a stripped down version of the already pretty bare ‘Clementine’, Megan Washington makes it clear from the get go that is going to be an intimate affair. Shortly being joined by the rest of the band, she made her way through her now two and a bit album discography. Despite the overall warmer reception the older tracks received, the standouts definitely belonged to those from her upcoming album. Atmospheric yet dancey, songs like ‘Blue and Yellow’ come off as a much more mature outlook into what was discussed in her first attempt. Soon enough though, both the band (now joined by All Our Exes) and Washington simply have to finish up.

The encore starts with a call for requests, and when a request can’t be settled on, Washington elects instead for a cover or two. Firstly is Rowland S. Howard’s iconic song ‘Shivers’, which when partnered with the power of her voice brings the room to a stunned hush. Not that this lasts long, as the next track played is Kanye West’s classic ‘Runaway’, which is responsible for the prettiest toast to the douchebags imaginable. Closing with a beautiful ballad on the concept of beauty itself, one can’t help but be lulled by juxtaposition of Washington’s powerful voice over the lilting piano.

Overall, the show somehow was entertaining on both a thoughtful and energetic level, something many artists fail to grasp. Without a doubt, Washington is surely going to be on everyone’s minds for yet another year.

Ben Spencer

FULL GALLERY HERE

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