Concert Review: Julia Jacklin – Auckland Town Hall Concert Chamber July 23, 2021

Despite a bursting bubble, Elemental Nights soldiers on. Last night it was Melbourne-based singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin here to play what could be one of her final gigs of the year.

Julia JacklinYes, the bubble has burst and Julia Jacklin’s heart has broken now that her tour of Australia has gone down the tubes, which made last night’s show at the Auckland Town Hall’s Concert Chamber even more poignant and powerful.

Julia has been touring New Zealand bringing her solo tour to Christchurch, Wellington and now, Auckland. But during that time, Australia’s Covid count has been growing causing her tour across the ditch to be… ditched.

“My heart is heavy” sang Jacklin in her opening tune, Pool Party.

That may be, but the attending crowd (heavy on 20-something women) were ecstatic, screaming and shouting as she took the stage.

“”I’m gonna get a big ego,” quipped Julia as declarations of love were yelled out from the crowd.

Julia Jacklin

More bemused than flattered, she continued with Motherland, appropriate, considering the song was reputedly written “wondering if people I don’t know will come to my gigs, not just friends and family”.

Jacklin may not know most of the audience members, but it’s clear they feel they know her and her songs.

But after the second tune, Julia was still thinking about the future. “I’m sad…the tour booked at home won’t happen”.

Sadness is a major element of Jacklin’s music. Leadlight, which followed, a highlight from 2016’s Don’t Let The Kids Win, is a breakup song, but as the audience and artist bonded by singing to each other, it became a rousing anthem…something of a declaration of independence.

The show took a strange turn when Julia asked the crowd to “talk among yourselves” as she departed briefly, only to return a few seconds later with a glass of water. This was truly a “solo” show… no roadies apparently!

After 2020 single, to Perth, before the border closes, (again, quite appropriate considering the circumstances) Julia acknowledged the singing along from the crowd…”That was so nice, you guys listened to that one!”

Indeed they had.

Julia Jacklin’s lyrics definitely strike a chord with her audience and they feel a very real sense of community when grouped together in one room like this.

“How are you feeling?”, she asked, noting that someone had fainted at her previous show.

The feeling was one of love and admiration.

Julia JacklinWe were treated to a new tune… You Got A Tattoo and a rarely performed request.

After You Got A Tattoo, Julie again noted that she had one more show (Monday night at The Tuning Fork) before heading back home to lockdown.

“I’m here for the weekend… I should get a tattoo, or drink a martini in a crowded bar looking mysterious, or use public transport… I just want to touch people!”

We also got a solo version of Body after some back and forth banter with the audience who demanded to hear it.

“I need to know the words”, Julia protested, but, she did, for the most part know them, and the crowd helped, singing along once more…”heading to the city to get my body back!

The show came to a close with Head Alone and Pressure To Party, two stand-outs from 2019’s Crushing.

The encore was Baby Jesus Is Nobody’s Baby Now after another false start and a slide of the capo. Written in 2019 this was a tune hoping 2020 would be better. But the final lyric is hopeful… ”next year will be much easier”.

Let’s hope so.

 Louisa NicklinOpening act, Louisa Nicklin didn’t fare quite as well, the victim of audience indifference and muddy sound. The crowd chatted throughout her set and my feeling was she would have gone over much better with a band. Hopefully we’ll catch her again soon under better circumstances.

Meanwhile, if a mysterious woman holding a martini touches you this weekend, don’t be alarmed… it’s probably Julia Jacklin making human contact one last time before lockdown.

Marty Duda

Julia Jacklin performs at The Tuning Fork Monday, July 26th. Click here for tickets.

Click any icon for a full-size gallery of photos from each artist. All photos copyright Veronica McLaughlin Photography

Julia Jacklin
Louisa Nicklin

Julia Jacklin setlist

  1. Elemental nightsPool Party
  2. Motherland
  3. Leadlight
  4. To Perth, before the border closes
  5. Eastwick
  6. Convention
  7. You Got A Tattoo
  8. Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You
  9. Body
  10. Head Alone
  11. Pressure To Party
  12. Baby Jesus Is Nobody’s Baby Now