LIVE: Julia Jacklin @ YES

WORDS BY JODIE BROOKSBANK

The Manchester date was sandwiched between London and Glasgow, the second night of a three date exclusive UK tour, Julia Jacklin plays the basement at YES. She takes to the stage and has an all-encompassing, enchanting quality that endears her to the crowd. Throughout the set the Sydney based singer’s vocals are technically impressive. Haunting but with a sense of raw urgency that makes her so captivating.

She opens the set with ‘Body’, deeply emotional and moody. The lyrics, “I said I’m gonna leave you/I’m not a good woman when you’re around” create a stark picture of heartbreak and loss. She smoothly transitions into the second song of her set, ‘Eastwick’, her 2017 single of grieving and sadness. There’s a certain calmness that falls over the audience as it feels as if we’ve been washed over by a quiet, blissful nostalgia.

She plays a few new songs mid set. The first of which she introduces as ‘Pressure to Party’ it’s more upbeat than her past work but still has the same sense of underlying melancholy with a strong bassline and relatable, human lyrics that explore forced conversation, trying to fit in and giving into peer pressure. The next is called ‘Good Guy’ it’s gentler and slower than the previous song and the lyrics “Tell me I’m the love of your life/Just for a night/Even if you don’t feel it” are sung passionately, almost desperately.

 

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Later on in the set before playing another new track, ‘Don’t know how to keep on loving you’ she announces that her new album, ‘Crushing’ is set to be released February next year and she speaks of the awkwardness of ‘having to do press’ telling the crowd that she is continually asked- “There’s a lot of women making great records right now, do you feel like you’re part of a movement?” she timidly explains that maybe she is. She’s been grouped in with the likes of Phoebe Bridges, Big Thief, Molly Burch and Julien Baker and rightly so, there are many brilliant female vocalists creating wistful atmospheric folk music and Jacklin appears to be at the forefront.

Support came from Jade Imagine, who later joined Jacklin during the encore to provide close harmonies and their voices blend perfectly. After such an intense and emotive set, Julia allows herself to get carried away, Jade appears at ease as she dances and leans into the mic for the soprano harmonies. Jacklin is visibly having a good time as she grins between the chorus and the verse, importantly, their clear joy does not detract from the song’s message.

After hearing Jacklin debut the new songs from her forthcoming album it is clear that she has honed her craft and can hold her own amongst the female folk singers of this generation. People leave the basement of YES crying and discussing life’s intricacies with their friends. There’s a sense of community and a definite excitement surrounding Jacklin’s music.

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